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Sweeter off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season Hardcover – March 22, 2016
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"Sometimes a cookbook comes along that seems designed specifically for the Instagram generation, a book that conjures a world of handsome ceramic platters, rustic linens and food that dances around the world, drawing inspiration from the flavors of the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Mexico. The dishes are perfectly imperfect, an edible “I woke up like this,” and easy to picture cropped square in your feed. [...] A large part of what makes the book sing is how Ms. Arefi, who lives in Brooklyn but who grew up in Seattle, combines flavors in a way that is utterly modern and often intriguing."
—Emily Weinstein, New York Times
“In Sweeter off the Vine, Yossy Arefi has reimagined fruit desserts in her unmistakable style. These seasonal recipes are rustic and bold, often with an inventive use of whole grains or a thoughtful twist on the familiar. For instance, the Simplest Strawberry Tart is nothing short of a showstopper, while the Blueberry Skillet Cobbler with Whole Wheat Biscuits is easy enough to be a weeknight treat, and the spelt shortcakes make for wonderfully textured partners to roasted stone fruits. This is a vibrant debut.˝
—Tara O’Brady, author of Seven Spoons
“Sweeter off the Vine is ripe with fresh ideas, from fruit-filled fall galettes to summertime cobblers bursting with blueberries. Yossy’s book is full of tempting recipes for using the best of the season...all year round!”
—David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen
"Both thoughtful and balanced, Arefi's fruit-focused desserts are the perfect way to show off your favorite summer fruits. Make her Cherry and Chocolate Turnovers, Roasted Apricot and Buttermilk Sherbet or Coconut Cream Fool with Raspberries to make a good summer even better."
—Anna Painter, Food & Wine Magazine
“It’s rare to find a cookbook that hits the mark with writing, visuals, and recipes. Sweeter off the Vine manages to captivate in equal measures via seemingly effortless prose, gorgeous imagery,
and most of all, Yossy’s fresh take on cooking with the fruits of the season.”
—Merrill Stubbs, co-founder and president of Food52
“Sweeter off the Vine is a beautiful articulation of gorgeous, seasonal desserts. The recipes are both accessible and nuanced—offering a balance of sweet and savory at all levels. Told with care and charm, this book is warm and inspiring, and invites you to reinvent the common dessert.”
—Karen Mordechai, author and founder of Sunday Suppers
"Arefi does a notable job showcasing the best of nature’s bounty in this original collection, which is enhanced by vibrant, eye-catching full-color photos that will earn her a new following."
"Sweeter Off the Vine fulfills all of our fruity dessert cravings."
About the Author
YOSSY AREFI is a food photographer, food stylist, former professional baker, and the creator of the award-winning blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. She also runs the Project Dessert column on Food52. Her work has been featured in T Magazine, Bon Appétit,Saveur, Modern Farmer, and Pure Green Magazine, among others.
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Top customer reviews
Every recipe is itself accompanied by a photo, and as you might expect, they are all stunning. The recipes often incorporate whole grains and aren't too sweet - we're told she strives for a sweet-savory balance, stemming from the influence of her Iranian father's cooking. Since it's officially spring now, I thought the cherry and poppy seed yogurt cake & the pistachio pound cake (without the strawberries, but with the lavender sugar) would be two good choices for testing these recipes. Both were quite easy and quick to assemble, Yossy's instructions are clear and accurate, and both cakes tasted (and smelled) divine. I did use frozen cherries instead of fresh ones for the yogurt cake, because I don't have access to fresh, reasonably priced cherries currently, but the end result was still delicious.
After these, I made the brown butter blondies, because even though they're under "winter" due to the dried fruit/chocolate combo, blondies are amazing all-year round, especially ones with dates and dried cherries! Yossy's version of blondies very possibly outshines my standard go-to blondies from Back in the Day Bakery (which also have bourbon and chocolate chips, but include dried coconut instead of dates & cherries). As with the cakes, Yossy's blondie recipe is simple to follow, doesn't require too much time or effort, the measurements & timing is all accurate, and the end dessert is outstanding! I was able to bake all three of these desserts in one evening after working a full day, and I'm not necessarily the most efficient baker, so that's a huge plus for Sweeter off the Vine.
I'm really excited for summer to arrive so I can try her cantaloupe and mint yogurt pops especially, but almost all of the recipes included in this little book are appealing to me (except the rhubarb ones - I wish I liked rhubarb, but I just can't seem to enjoy it.) I am also really pleased with her small-batch apricot jam recipe, because I think a lot more people would make their own jam when the scary/extra-hassle step of sterilizing the jars is removed because the intent is not long-term storage, but rather short-term consumption.
I highly recommend Sweeter off the Vine. The photos are gorgeous and plentiful, the desserts are delicious, and although there are relatively few recipes (76 total), Yossy offers plenty of variations to give you a wide range of options. Almost all of her recipes are "unique", there's nothing here that I feel is a duplicate of other recipes I have, which is great, because I have a lot of dessert cookbooks. The twists might be small (yogurt, cherries, and lime instead of a standard lemon poppy seed cake), but they aren't something I've thought to do and they yield remarkable desserts. My only "complaint" is I confess to being a little saddened by the choice of fruit-based desserts, because I love what Yossy does with bread... I'm holding out hope it means there is a second book coming from her soon that will be bread-focused!