Most helpful critical review
19 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2010
I was very excited to get this book, but it has been a let down. I have tried a handful of recipes and overall they have been bland and disappointing. I don't find myself reaching for this book anymore. The recipes are just ok - except for the Cherry Almond Bars. Those were just like eating cardboard. They were quite dry and lacked any flavor. I threw out well over half of these. The Upside-down Sweet Cherry Cake was just ok. It was moist and pretty, but, again, somewhat lacking in flavor. The Stone Fruit Upside-down Cornmeal Cake was pretty good, but I don't find myself excited about making it again. I have pretty high standards when it comes to making repeat desserts, and none of these three desserts has met that standard. As a result, I rarely reach for this book.
The shape of the book is very annoying as well. It doesn't stay open and flat on the counter, so it must be weighted down. Cookbooks need to be easily accessible during cooking, and this one certainly is not.
The recipes are not difficult, but it's clear the authors were writing from (and for) a Northwestern (US) perspective. Some of the ingredients are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to acquire for those living in other areas of the country, especially the berries. I just have to skip recipes calling for tayberries, marionberries, or loganberries.
The introduction is great, providing definitions for the various desserts. Similarly, the introduction to each season's desserts contains handy information about the featured seasonal fruits. I also really liked the organization of the book. Overall, though, I think finding 1 out of 3 desserts palatable is the hallmark of a disappointing cookbook.