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My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Rare is the cookbook that successfully infuses scholarly research with the pure joy of food, but this collection, focusing on the sweets of Mexico, nails it. Gerson, a pastry chef (Eleven Madison Park; Rosa Mexicano) has dutifully catalogued the confections of her native Mexico--many of which are endangered species in the age of industrialized food. The introduction and individual chapter essays trace sweets to their ethnic origins, detailing how sugar production, holiday symbolism, and technology have impacted their evolution. Indeed, an entire chapter is devoted to the specific sweets--pumpkinseed candy, chestnut flan, and, ironically enough, wedding cookies--traditionally made in convents. American readers who have only encountered the occasional tres leches cake in a Mexican restaurant will be stunned by the breadth and depth of recipes here, ranging from coffee-flavored corn cookies to guava caramel pecan rolls and hibiscus ice pops, all culled from Gerson's family, friends, and generous strangers. Gerson showcases the rainbow of fruits (soursop, arrayan, zapote) and special equipment that are indigenous to the country, offering guides to working with fresh coconut, making spiced chocolate tablets, and wrapping marzapanes. Gerson's vivid descriptions, exacting instruction, and obvious passion for her subject matter make this volume a substantial read about the most tempting indulgences. Photos.
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Review

“This book will appeal to anyone who's got even a kissin' cousin's-worth of Mexican heritage as well as adventurous cooks and cookbook readers everywhere.”
—KitchenGadgetGals.com, 2010 Cookbook Favorites

“For lovers of Mexican cooking, this is an essential cookbook.”
—Library Journal STARRED Review, December 2010

“a sweet surprise”
—Everyday Food, Favorite New Cookbooks, December 2010

“When this book came across my desk I got really excited. This book really brings to life the sense that dessert plays such a role in celebrations, and the Mexican culture has so many festivals where sweets appear. With no dustjacket and matte-finish pages, it feels like a book ready to be smeared with butter and splattered with sugar.”
—TheKitchn.com, Favorite Baking Books of 2010, 12/16/10

“Pastry chef Fany Gerson opens up a world of Mexican pastries, candies and desserts in her cookbook "My Sweet Mexico." Born and raised in Mexico, she traveled her native country for recipes and lore and combined them with her own take on sweets in a book that both inspires you to read chapter by chapter while curled up on the sofa and to get into the kitchen to start rolling dough for huachibolas, cream cheese morning rolls.”
—L.A. Times, 12/9/10

“This holiday season, I plan to make some of these sweets, connect with this history, and do my bit to keep the culture alive.”
—TheAtlantic.com Food Channel, 12/8/10

“Like many of you, perhaps, we haven’t given Mexican desserts a lot of thought. Sure there’s Flan and quite a few delicious ice creams to be had in Mexico, but there’s also a lot of brightly-colored pastries that are more decorative than delectable. But looking through the photographs in this truly stunning cookbook might win a few converts. . . I’m happy to have this book in my collection if only to dream of sweet treats…and future trips to one of my favorite places, Mexico.”
—DavidLebovitz.com, Favorite Cookbooks of 2010, 12/6/10

"Never go hungry for churros again. Fany Gerson’s My Sweet Mexico has easy recipes for all your fave south-of-the-border treats (tres leches, flan), as well as more creative dishes (spicy mango popsicles, coconut caramel candy)."
—DailyCandy, The Best New Fall Cookbooks, 11/12/10

“Gerson puts Mexican desserts on the map in this excellent mash-up of scholarly research and the pure joy of food. The breadth and depth of recipes here is stunning.”
Publishers Weekly, The Best Cookbooks of 2010: Winner of Best Alternative to Sipping a Margarita, 11/8/10

“A definitive compendium of the sweet dishes of our neighbor to the south—never before collected in an English-language book.”
—Austin Chronicle, 10/29/10

"A deliciously well-researched journey through the sweet side of Mexico."
—Fine Cooking, 10/22/10

“Dessert fiends will find the variety and exoticism of the recipes thrilling. And the many earthy and evocative photographs shot on location -- think Saveur magazine -- deserve a lot of the credit.”
—Portland Oregonian, 9/28/10

“Even if you don't fix one of these recipes, the book is so filled with the tastes, traditions and fragrances of Mexico that the reading journey alone is worth it.”
—Los Angeles Daily News, 9/21/10

“A seductive journey. . . This book will open up whole new worlds of delicious.”
—The Christian Science Monitor, 9/16/10

"My Sweet Mexico is gorgeous and beautifully photographed. . . . Aside from the recipes that caught my attention, this is a lovely book. Mexican desserts and sweets aren’t as popular as their other courses, but this book has recipes for things like Chocolate Milk Fudge, Corn Ice Cream, Burnt Custard, and even Calabaza en Tacha, whole candied pumpkin, that might change your mind."
—DavidLebovitz.com, 9/12/10

“A playful, beautifully photographed book on the history and diversity of Mexican sweet treats.”
—Austin American-Statesman, 9/8/10

“Warning: Don’t read when hungry. Pastry Chef Fany Gerson creates a food-based travelogue of Mexico, incorporating memories, histories, and, of course, recipes of her native country.”
—Westchester Magazine, September 2010

"Rare is the cookbook that successfully infuses scholarly research with the pure joy of food, but this collection, focusing on the sweets of Mexico, nails it. Gerson, a pastry chef (Eleven Madison Park; Rosa Mexicano) has dutifully catalogued the confections of her native Mexico--many of which are endangered species in the age of industrialized food. The introduction and individual chapter essays trace sweets to their ethnic origins, detailing how sugar production, holiday symbolism, and technology have impacted their evolution. Indeed, an entire chapter is devoted to the specific sweets--pumpkinseed candy, chestnut flan, and, ironically enough, wedding cookies--traditionally made in convents. American readers who have only encountered the occasional tres leches cake in a Mexican restaurant will be stunned by the breadth and depth of recipes here, ranging from coffee-flavored corn cookies to guava caramel pecan rolls and hibiscus ice pops, all culled from Gerson's family, friends, and generous strangers. Gerson showcases the rainbow of fruits (soursop, arrayan, zapote) and special equipment that are indigenous to the country, offering guides to working with fresh coconut, making spiced chocolate tablets, and wrapping marzapanes. Gerson's vivid descriptions, exacting instruction, and obvious passion for her subject matter make this volume a substantial read about the most tempting indulgences. Photos. (Oct.)"
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review, 6/21/10

“Mexico’s sweet kitchen is a wellspring of captivating tastes and seductive textures; it courses through Fany Gerson’s veins like caramely cajeta, like a rich flan, or a silky hot chocolate. As a Mexico City native, Fany is confident that there’s sweet satisfaction beyond apple pie and hot fudge sundaes, as she shares snapshots of kitchen culture and history along with a remarkable compendium of recipes. Melt-in-your-mouth polvorón cookies from eighteenth-century convents; pumpkin seed brittles, fresh coconut patties, and sweet tamales from the street vendors; tres leches cake and the crazy fused flan-and-chocolate cake from Mexico’s modern kitchens—those are just a few of my favorites. This is a treasured volume I’ll own two copies of: one for home, another for our restaurant’s kitchens.” 
—RICK BAYLESS, best-selling cookbook author, chef-owner of Chicago’s Frontera Grill, and host of public television’s Mexico: One Plate at a Time
 
My Sweet Mexico is fascinating and charming—it is much more than a collection of great recipes. Fany takes readers on a voyage through our country’s marvels and realities, capturing all of its fabulous grandeur with her clever scene of humor. I actually got teary-eyed as Fany’s words carried me on a sweet trip back to my childhood, full of heartwarming memories. I love this amazing cookbook; it is an enormous addition to the archives of Mexican cooking!”
—ROBERTO SANTIBAÑEZ, author of Rosa’s New Mexican Table 
 
“Fany’s irresistible take on Mexican sweets is as smart and instructive as it is inspiring. Recipe after recipe—from traditional Buñelos to an updated Chocolate Rum Tres Leches Cake—I’m reminded why she’s one of the most gifted pastry chefs around.”
—SCOTT JONES, executive food editor, Southern Living
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580089941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580089944
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Madelyn Pryor VINE VOICE on September 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tres Leches cake. Sweet tamales. Flan. Pan. Milk Fudge. Those familiar with the sweet flavors of Mexico will have the their mouths watering with the litany of delicious temptations. Until now, most of us have had to go to our local Hispanic markets to taste these treats, but no longer. Now, Fany Gerson will teach you how to create these dishes and many more in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Ms. Gerson does for dessert what Bayless did for main dishes, she brings the authentic food to the American audience and she does so in an approachable, comforting way. For those that need baking and candy making refreshers, they are provided, along with amazing, beautiful pictures so you know how yours should look at the end. Each recipe has its name in Mexican and English and cultural tidbits. Those just make the book even more enjoyable.

There are nine chapters. In English, they are:
* Beverages
* Sweets from the Comvents
* Corn
* Heirloom Sweets
* Morning Sweet Breads
* Fruit
* Desserts
* Frozen Treats
* Modern Mexico

I am a chef and I grew up in south Phoenix. Never before have I seen a cookbook such as this (and I own over 400 cookbooks, now). This is a visual, mental treat and when you take the effort to make these classic, authentic sweets, it is a treat for mouth and soul, too.

Highest possible recommendations. Seriously, buy this now!
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My love affair with Mexican food arrived one day in 1952 when my mother received a "care package" from friends in the Southwest stuffed full of "Mexican" food. I suspect I've never had a worse tamale, but those canned tamales sparked a life-long pursuit of the the "best" in tacos and tamales and salsas by the dozens. And of course, I've been collecting Mexican cookbooks ever since - a fairly substantial chunk of the ethnic section of my collection (over 400 but I've lost count!).

You don't have to spend much time in Mexico or have many Mexican friends to realize that sweets are a huge part of Mexican culture - and you don't have to visit many "Mexican" restaurants here in the US or read through many Mexican cookbooks to realize that there simply must be more than fried ice cream, churros, and a couple of cookie recipes. With My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats, Fany Gerson fills a huge void, both on my library shelves and in my kitchen. My only problem? What to make first. . . . . tamales? or maybe that sweet potato candy? Milk fudge? Something frozen? HMMMMM . . .

Beautiful book, highly recommended. This is a book you will treasure for a long time.
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Format: Hardcover
We finally have a recipe book that is really Mexican and not an imitation. Not only is it great to have these recipes available, but also, it is interesting to know the story behind the ingredients and the desserts. We love this book.
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I've made several recipes from this cookbook so far, and they have all been delicious! It's a shame this book suffered from poor editing (this review sums it up quite well: [...]), otherwise it would have been a 5-star cookbook. The book is lacking in specific instruction on different techniques. The recipes I've attempted have turned out well because I'm an experienced baker and know what I'm doing--this is not a book for a beginner.
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I have tried my hand at a few or these recipe, ie: the conchas, the cajeta and the churros and they have all come out wonderfully (atleast i thought they did). The conchas were soft and stayed that way using a method from maggie glezers book to scald the milk first, stopping an enzyme that makes the bread stale after a day or two. Since i have made a brioche before, I know that it can become stale in a short period. The churros were very addicting, using goat cheese it had a wonderful tangy flavor. I've never had one before, so it was an experience. How does one get it to stop floating into one another like a magnet when cooking two at a time?... and the cajeta, it took exactly one hour like gerson says it will. It was totally delicious, but it hardened so much, what do i do?... As i have said, i love this book and i love trying my hand at these wonderful mexican desserts. I'm still new to this so if any body can help me with some tips on mexican desserts that would be sweet... Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
Mexico's dulces (sweets) are a blend of indigenous ingredients melded with European traditions, and in "My Sweet Mexico," Mexican native Fany Gerson brings these sweet indulgences to vivid life. A Culinary Institute of America alumna and the granddaughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Fany is no stranger to the melding of two worlds. Some of the oldest recipes here are ancient drinks like atole (ground corn; the word "atole" comes from atl, water, and tlaoli, ground corn). Others stem from Spain's Arabic heritage, like mazapan, alfajor de miel, and orange blossom water (even the Spanish word, azahar, comes from Arabic).

The included illustrations and photos bring the varied facets of modern Mexico to life: as you first open the cookbook, the endpapers recreate azulejos (glazed tiles) and a colonial wooden door that gives way to photos of antique candy shops, exotic tropical fruits like soursops and mameys, gorgeous food photos and local artisans hard at work. The book starts with an in-depth primer on ingredients and tools. A note: many of the more exotic fruits that Fany uses, like tecojote, mamey, or zapote negro, may be difficult to find. Because they are ingredient-specific recipes, there are no substitutions for these recipes. But they are few in number, and the other ingredients should be readily available in your area.

For those new to Mexican desserts, I would recommend starting with one of the simpler recipes like jamoncillo de leche (milk fudge). The milk fudge has few ingredients and is made in one pot; I made it with the suggested variation of evaporated goat's milk, and it's like a firmer version of cajeta (dulce de leche). Be prepared for much stirring and waiting; it takes about 30-40 minutes for the mixture to reach the right consistency.
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