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The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts Hardcover – May 22, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Finding a compilation of Asian-inspired desserts isn't always an easy task, as baking sections tend to be chockfull of Italian and French influenced titles. The good news is Ong (owner of NYC's P*ong) presents more than 100 accessible, top-notch recipes inspired from such countries as Japan (Honey Castella, or kasutera), China (Peanut Turnovers) and India (Pistachio Rose Thumbprint Cookies). Popular desserts from New York's famed Spice Market (where Ong has consulted)— Chocolate and Vietnamese Coffee Tart and Jasmine Rice Pudding—lend themselves to frequent repetition. Twists on American favorites such as the Cracker Jack–like Spiced Caramel Popcorn made with mukawa (Indian candied fennel seed) and Coconut "Twinkie" Cupcakes with Lemon Filling are presented alongside adaptations of recipes from renowned pastry chefs and include Dragon Devil's Food Cupcakes (Elizabeth Falkner) and Chocolate-Mango Cheesecake Parfait with Macadamia Cookie Crumbs (Vicki Wells). Those unfamiliar with Asian ingredients can read up on everything from mochi flour to mangosteens in the Sweet Asian Pantry chapter. Recipe steps are numbered, and each selection includes a chef's tip—where to find ingredients, technique advice, cultural notes. A sleek design with color photos makes this a visual treat as well as a culinary one. (June)
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“A standout and one of the most original dessert books in years...” (New York Times Book Review)

“...filled with recipes that are at once innovative and comforting.” (O magazine)

“Pichet covers the Asian dessert idiom...” (Bobby Flay)

“You will be thrilled whenever you make any of these wonderful, super-delicious, desserts.” (Maida Heatter, author of Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts)

“Pichet brings his Asian roots and sensibility to create incredible desserts that are both comforting and refreshing...” (Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef, Farallon Restaurant)

“An original must have dessert book!” (Sherry Yard, pastry chef & author of The Secrets of Baking)

“Ong presents more than 100 accessible, top-notch recipes...a visual treat as well as a culinary one.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

... a unique cookbook that bridges East and West. (Library Journal)

“A must-have for avid pastry makers. The recipes are clever, intriguing, and utterly original - just like Pichet.” (Melissa Clark)

“An amazing debut from a leading authority and innovator. Pichet demystifies Asian desserts and excites us with updated classics. Bravo!” (Susanna Foo)

“Pichet manages to brilliantly realize the grand potential of combining eastern and western cuisine.” (Nancy Silverton)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1st edition (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060857676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060857677
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've cooked Asian for many years now, and have owned at least a dozen different Asian cookbooks, but I've always found them lacking in desserts, or other sweet recipes. This book fills the void in my cookbook collection.

First of all, it is a beautiful book, with lots of color photos. It has more recipes then I thought possible, some being traditional Asian desserts, and others being more American with Asian infusions.

There is a short introduction in which the author agrees with me that Asian desserts have been quite overlooked in America. There is then a section on bakeware needed, most of which should already be in every decently supplied kitchen. Finally there is a chapter entitled The Sweet Asian Pantry, which not only describes different ingrediants used, (some of which should already be on hand in your kitchen, others which may need special ordering,) but also recommends brand names to get.

The first chapter of recipes in the book is devoted to cakes, which is further divided by type of cakes. It starts with loaf and sheet cakes, of which there are four recipes, including an olive oil and yogurt cake. Next there are three steamed cake recipes, which I had never heard of before this book, including steamed pandan layer cake. Next are five recipes for individual cakes including ginger date pudding cakes with rum-walnut toffee sauce. The next section of cakes is devoted to layer cakes, of which there are four recipes, including carrot cake with lime cream cheese frosting. The last section of cakes is cheesecakes, and there are three recipes, including a recipe for Grand Marnier tofu cheesecake.

Chapter two is devoted to cookies, begining with six recipes for drop cookies including ginger oatmeal raisin cookies.
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Format: Hardcover
Im a pastry chef at a pan asian restaurant, so naturally this book was natural to pick up. The recipes look great, the pictures are fantastic (im a huge fan of pictures) however most of the recipes I have tried havnt been true to the book and have lacked crucial information. for instance, the lemon twinkie cupcakes he describes as needing only approx 10 minutes baking time. What he fails to mention anywhere in the book is that the baking time is in a convection oven. (I found this out after emailing him) another problem recipe is the coconut flan. 1. I could not get palm sugar to 350 degrees without WAY over carmalizing it. 2. he failed to mention to cover them while baking, or risk over carmalizing the mixture. However, I will give him credit, once you do decipher his recipes, the flavors are pretty fantastic. I tried the poached pears (which do not take 1.5 hours, 1 hour should be more than enough) which were very yummy, and our chef, who despises poached fruit liked the desert. So if you buy this book, be wary, but have fun.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you thought Asian desserts were limited to bland fortune cookies and watery rice pudding, this book will open your eyes and tingle your tongue. Lushly photographed and intelligently written, it features a wide variety of recipes from cakes and cookies to puddings, candy and drinks.

The recipes are much more than Asian riffs on western classics. The author, a talented chef, truly integrates the flavors and styles. I think that fusion has gotten a bad name largely because it dumbs down the joined cuisines. I found the recipes doable notwithstanding the fact that many are rather lengthy. There is not excessive usage of exotic ingredients and the ones he does use are fairly accessible in metropolitan areas or over the internet. Additionally, he suggests substitutions, such as using light brown sugar for palm sugar. One word of caution if you are not partial to ginger or coconut be advised that he uses both liberally.

The recipes I've tried so far have been successful. His condensed milk pound cake is rich and moist while the sweet potato beignets with roasted apple filling are a fall delight. There are pineapple turnovers that look like tangerines complete with a stem of clove. Both the banana cream pie and the coconut cream pie are phenomenal and the walnut cookies are a nice treat. The Vietnamese coffee tart is rich and the avocado shake is a silky sensation. Be sure to try the spring rolls filled with kumquats and bittersweet chocolate---decadent, delicious and easy.

This book is truly a feast for the senses. It is a great read, beautiful to look at and the recipes taste wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
I own over 100 cookbooks and there are only a few that I turn to over and over again. Although I only just received Pichet Ong's book as a gift, it has quickly become a staple in my kitchen. First and foremost,the recipes are delicious. They also are easy to follow. His instructions are precise, for instance, he'll tell you the approximate amount of time needed to achieve "light and fluffy" while creaming-a critical point when trying to create airy desserts. They are truly fusion, but in a good way, as in combining the best of two worlds, not so exotic as to intimidate the average Western cook, but different enough to be refreshing. For instance, his carrot cake is enlivened with lime. The almond cookies are buttery sensations. With food this good, I overlooked one minor quibble. Some of the recipes are printed on the back page of the ingredient list, so you have to flip back and forth.
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