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Sweeter off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season [A Cookbook] Hardcover – March 22, 2016
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—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
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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!
Top international reviews
Herbs: chamomile honey panna cotta; fresh mint ice-cream with cacao nibs; lemon verbena olive oil
Rhubarb: rhubarb and rose galettes; rhubarb semi-freddol roasted rhubarb pavlova; rhubarb and rye upside-down cake
Strawberries: the simplest strawberry tart; strawberry ice-cream sandwiches with cacao nib poppy seed wafters; pistachio and cake with strawberries in lavender sugar strawberry and campari paletas
Cherries: cherry and chocolate turnovers; cherry and rhubarb slab pie; spiked cherry sorbet; cherry and poppy seed yoghurt cake
Apricots: apricot and berry galette with saffron sugar; small batch apricot jam. roasted apricot and buttermilk sherbet
Mixed Berries: blueberry skillet cobbles with whole walnut biscuits; crème fraiche and blueberry ice-cream; currant and blueberry buckle; blackberry and sage cream puffs; black fruit tarts
Melons: canteloupe and mint yoghurt pops; watermelon granita with chile and lime
Stone Fruits: nectarine and blackberry pie bars; smoked peaches with lemon verbena; spelt shortcakes with roasted stone fruit; plum pie with hazelnut cream
Raspberries: coconut cream fool with raspberries; chocolate celebration cakes with fresh raspberry buttercream raspberry sorbet with pink peppercorns
Figs: wine-roasted figs with whipped honeyed ricotta; soft chocolate and fig cake
Grapes: concord grape pie with rye crust; concord grape and plum butter
Persimmons and Pomegranates: jewelled Pavlova with cranberry curd; persimmon sorbet with ginger and vanilla
Apples: Marie-Daniella's apple tart; caramelised apple fritters; campfire crisps
Pears: a pear-packs chestnut cake; pear pie with crème fraîche caramel
Quince: ginger quince up-side cake; quince and pistachio frangipane tartlets
Squash and Pumpkin: butternut squash tea cake; caramel-swirl roasted squash ice-cream; winter luxury pumpkin pie
Cranberries: cranberry bread pudding; cornmeal and ricotta cake with cranberries; cranberry and pear pandowdy
Citrus: chocolate same tart with grapefruit; blood orange old-fashioned donuts; a quick marmalade with blood oranges and Meyer lemons; tangerine cream pie; grapefruit and Meyer lemon bundt cakes; preserved lemon ice-cream; rangpur lime bars with saffron; gingery lime posset; citrus almond thumbprints with summer jam
Dates: sticky toffee pudding with cranberry; browned-butter date blondies
Year-Round Essentials: all-butter pie crust; crème fraîche caramel sauce; crisp topping; pastry cream spelt quick puff pastry; a sweet tart shell three ways: all purpose, buckwheat, chocolate; vanilla extract; vanilla sugar
Seasonal Larder: poached quince; preserved lemons; roasted winter quash purée spiced rhubarb compote unsweetened cranberry juice
Our allotment will provide most of the ingredients so I have a lot to look forward to.