Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
Reviewed by Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Oct. 15, 2010
Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinventedby Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 207 pp., $29.95
Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito are the proprietors of Baked, which has storefronts in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Charleston, S.C., and this is the second cookbook they've brought to the Texas Book Festival. Since their last visit to Austin, these intrepid young men have traveled the country researching traditional American regional desserts, unearthing treasured heirloom recipes and rediscovering long-lost sweet treats. Baked Explorations presents 75 classic recipes, each with a distinctive new twist.
The first thing that attracted me to these recipes is that the authors and I share a fondness for many of the same flavors. Caramel, malt, coffee, hazelnut, buttermilk, coconut, and peanut butter figure prominently in many of the recipes, making them irresistible to me. Nutella scones? Check. Buttermilk doughnuts? Of course. Almond Joy tart? You bet. Peanut-butter banana cream pie? Love some. Malted waffles? Bring them on! The book arrived just in time for me to use Texas pears in the whiskey pear tart and local Gala apples in the caramel apple cake, and I'm sure the peaches I put up this summer will be great in the Peaches and Dream Pie recipe calling for canned peaches.
The recipes here are well-thought-out and very approachable, each with its own "Baked Note" offering a special insight, fascinating historical fact, or inside tip as an enhancement. I judge cookbooks based on how many of the recipes actually inspire me to get cooking. I've been spending plenty of time in the kitchen with these jewels, and I'm not nearly finished yet.
The authors will demonstrate recipes from this book in the Cooking Tent at 2pm Saturday. They will also present a cooking class at Central Market Friday, Oct. 15, at 6:30pm. The $70 price of the class includes a signed copy of Baked Explorations. For more information and to make reservations, visit www.centralmarket.com.
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