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MORE GREAT GOOD DAIRY-FREE DESSERTS NATURALLY Paperback – January 15, 2006
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Pastry chef extraordinaire Fran Costigan offers a complete course in baking dairy-free desserts of all kinds with tips and techniques that ensure sweet success. Even novice bakers will be able to make rich, moist cakes, flaky, foolproof pie crusts and delightful cookies with confidence. Using natural, organic, minimally processed ingredients, these dairy- and egg-free sweets do not contain trans fats. Everyone with a sweet tooth-including those who are lactose intolerant, watching their cholesterol, or simply prefer to use healthful ingredients-can have their cake and eat it too.
About the Author
Fran Costigan, a graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Cookery School, has developed many courses at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts (including the Natural Pastry Arts Intensive) and at the Institute of Culinary Education. Fran lives in New York City. Her first book was Great Good Desserts Naturally.
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Some details: More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally, is a dairy-free and egg-free dessert cookbook written by Fran Costigan. Fran is the author of several books and also teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. The book sports a recipe layout that is straightforward and easy to follow, with simple black text that makes it easy on the eyes, and a selection of glossy colour photography. It is 224 pages long and is divided into the following sections: Getting Started; Gels, Cremes, Puddings, and Sauces; Cookies, Bars, and Little Bites; Cobblers, Crisps, Biscuits, Muffins, and More; Cakes, Fillings, Frostings, and Glazes; Pies and Tarts; Fruit, Beverages, Frozen Desserts, and Confections; Bibliography and Reading List; Resources for Ingredients and Equipment; Organizations and Publications; and Common Weights and Measures.
In the kitchen: For the purpose of writing this review, I chose to bake up the Big Orange Bundt Cake (just like my mum used to make - beautiful crumb, super moist, and buttery without the butter), the Super Fudge Low Fat Brownies (super fudgey, moist and chewy, beyond decadent - the best brownies I've made so far), and the Pumpkin Pie (perfect - so much so, it did not survive long enough to be documented on film). In fact, I am quite familiar with this wonderful book, having previously made the Good Cornbread (I love that it's more savoury than sweet - and the optional slathering of organic maple syrup on top makes for a beautifully balanced contrast of sweet and savoury), the Chocolate Chip Cookies (wonderfully thin, sweet and chewy), the Coconut Cloud Layer Cake (a beautiful, fancy cake - no wonder Fran makes these as wedding cakes for lucky friends), and accompanying Island Coconut Cream Filling and Frosting (so good, you can eat it with a spoon - and I did). I have never been disappointed baking from this book. Fran is truly a master - not only do her sweet inventions taste amazing and brag fabulous texture and appearance, they're also filled with the best ingredients: Fran eschews the highly processed stuff and champions quality, organic, and natural ingredients. I appreciate that.
So we've established that these treats taste incredibly good and bake up reliably. But you get a lot more than just an impressive spread of fine desserts - you're also benefiting from Fran's years of baking expertise. This book boasts page after page of information, including tips and technique tailored to each section of the book, as well as detailed descriptions of ingredients and thorough explanations on how to use them properly. Did you know you can remove the beany-ness of firm tofu by blanching it in boiling water before using? Fran taught me that. Did you know that you can easily get a stubbornly stuck bundt cake to smoothly descend by draping a hot, wet tea towel over the tin? Fran taught me that too. Fran's explanations on how to work with less common ingredients like agar agar and kudzu is priceless.
I find myself coming back to this book time and again for reference on how to work with often tricky ingredients - it's that useful.
As if being tricked into buying the same book twice isn't annoying enough to me, it's clear the author has taken steps to clearly hide this fact from her fans, and that really ticks me off.
First, she's changed the names of the recipes ever so slightly. For instance, Fruit Jell-o in the first book is called Better Fruit Gel-Oh in the second; Blueberry Jell becomes Blueberry Gel; Fruit Soup and Salad becomes Softly Gelled Fruit Soup and Blueberry-Fig Salad; and so on.
Not only are the recipe names changed to fool us, she very slightly reworked the comments she gives for each recipe as well. For example, when talking about Peanut Butter & Chocolate Candy Cups (old name) she says "I practically lived on PB Cup candies one semester in college. I don't know why, but I do know it wasn't a good thing." Then, under Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Candy Cups (new name) she says "I practically lived on PB Cup candies one semester in college. I don't know why I was so drawn to them...."
That being said, I have tried many of the recipes and found many are great. I tried the banana bread recipe which is a new recipe in this book and it was great. So if you don't own her other book, this one might be for you. Most of her recipes are not re-do's of commonly known non-vegan favorites, nor are they as sweet or easy as other vegan dessert book recipes, as she attempts to stay away from sugar and make her desserts more healthy than other vegan dessert books do.
The lack of disclosure saying these are the same recipes, combined with the slight name changes of the recipes, tells me that the author/publisher made a conscious choice to deceive people into thinking this was a new book with new recipes. I'm not a wealthy woman, so being tricked into spending my money on a repeat of the first book does not sit well. I guarantee you I will think long and hard before buying another of her books as this has made her lose all credibility in my eyes. All the author/publisher had to do was put one lousy sentence on this saying it contained the first books recipes, but they chose not to. Ah, greed, even conscientious vegans are not immune to it's power.