Elevate Difference

Pure Dessert: True Flavors, Inspiring Ingredients, and Simple Recipes

Tart is no longer a four letter word, thanks to bakery chef extraordinaire (and three-time cookbook award winner) Alice Medrich. The most amazing thing about her sublime dessert concoctions is that she has whipped up her pastries using fresh, organic ingredients combined in stunningly elegant and inventive ways. Eschewing the usual lifespan-threatening sugary glazes, frostings, and fillings, Pure Dessert offers sweets created with whole grains, exotic herbs and spices, and a delightful array of handmade cheeses. And she doesn’t stop with just a selection of tangy tarts. This cookbook offers 150 revolutionary recipes, including cookies, cakes, tortes, ice creams, sorbets, soufflés, puddings, and even flan.

The element of surprise is keen. I’ve never seen dessert photographs that looked so simultaneously decadent and refreshingly clean. Tearing my hungry gaze from the gorgeous visuals, I read ingredients such as: saffron, cardamom pods, dark rum, cocoa beans, kefir cheese, buckwheat, fine sea salt, jasmine tea, tahini, and black sesame. (Don’t worry, kids, there’s chocolate involved and it’s good for you, too!) Using these and more ingredients, plus a selection of unsprayed organic fruits, Medrich serves up delights such as flan with a raw sugar sauce, buckwheat strawberry shortcake, ricotta and lace cookies, Guinness ice cream, chestnut-walnut meringues and raspberry-chocolate chunk muffins.

An enchanting cookbook, Pure Dessert shares with us Medrich’s tinkering with flavors and textures like a scientist in her lab. Some of the questions she muses upon as she mixes: “Does cold cream or hot cream do a better job coaxing out the flavor of mint leaves or rose petals? Why is it that dusting a warm brownie with spices gives it an enticing aromatic nose, whereas putting the spice in the batter blurs the chocolate flavor?”

Best of all, Medrich’s recipes are all easy to follow, fanciful yet pure, and deliciously healthy with a commitment to quality ingredients. Pass the dessert tray, please!

Written by: Cheryl Reeves, June 20th 2008