Welcome to the last instalment of The Everyday Baker review (the last one! I spread it out over the course of a year because with over 170 recipes and 600+ pages, it’s a little hard to cover unless you divide it up into chapters!). This month, we’re looking at the final “Fruit Desserts” chapter.
I’m a bit sad that I worked through this book in order – i.e. that I am working with the beautiful fruit chapter in the middle of winter 😉 But no matter – there were plenty of recipes to choose from even when produce isn’t at its most plentiful.
Fruit Desserts Recipes
There are 18 recipes in this chapter ranging from classic crumbles, cobblers and crisps to twists on classics (Boozy mango brûlée anyone?). There are recipes for all skill levels with some definite “wow factor” desserts (Individual Apple Tarte Tatin, Sparkling Mixed Berry Terrine) so there’s something for everyone. There’s a wide range of fruit covered in this chapter too – rhubarb, berries, apples, pears, apricots, plums and cherries to name but a few.
Fruit Desserts Bakers’ Wisdom and Techniques and Tips
The first dessert in the chapter is a “not-so-dowdy” – a riff on “pandowdy” which is apparently the name for any baked fruit dessert with a topping like pastry or drop dumpling but Anny refuses to use such a name because it’s not “proud and honourable”! She suggests “Baked ____” instead. I have to agree!
Other Bakers’ Wisdom tip in this chapter include how to choose fruit that’s perfectly ripe for baking, Abby discusses the importance of choice of pans (did you know that cast iron will discolour fruits and give them a metallic flavour? No, neither did I) – stainless or enamel-coated skillets are best, there’s a short discussion about fig varietals and working with cherries, how to work with gelatin desserts (hint: handle with care!), how to make superfine sugar if that’s what the recipe calls for to name but a few.
In terms of techniques, in this chapter, Abby shows us how to make a compote, how to cut rhubarb (hint: it’s just like celery!), how to poach and peel peaches, how to measure dry spices and mix dry ingredients, how to assemble mini tarte Tatins, how to cut figs, how to bring shortcake dough together and form them, how to drop dough onto hot fruit for cobblers, how to unmold that gorgeous berry terrine (or any gelatin dessert), how to cut a wide variety of fruits (mangoes, stone fruits as well as dried fruits), how to make pavlova and how to assemble a multi-layer mixed berry pudding (with a lot of images in a double-page step-by-step). If you master the recipes in this chapter, you’ll have any number of fruit dessert recipes up your sleeve for any season.
Which Fruit Desserts recipe did I make?
I can’t go past a classic crumble/ crisp and I am always on the lookout for recipes to try as I’m on a quest for the “perfect” crunchy topping so Abby’s apple version called out to me! This was also an easy dessert to make when there’s not much in the way of fruits to choose from because you can always get apples. It was a great dessert to bake over the holidays too because while it’s sweet, it’s not rich – so was a nice respite from rich holiday desserts. Abby’s step-by-step photos for how to make the topping (hint: you want big pieces of butter!) mean you can’t go wrong in making this a lovely crispy topping. I halved the recipe to make a small ramekin which we shared between three of us. The perfect end to a meal, topped with some fresh, thick cream. I’ll go back to this recipe for sure!
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Disclosure: Abby is a friend but she didn’t ask me to write about the book. In fact, she didn’t even know I had a copy until I told her!
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