“The cookbook for all things sweet and wonderful” … that just about sums up what most bakers strive for, right? One of my most favorite perks about being a culinary student and now more of a food blogger is that people love for me to check out cookbooks. I don’t have a large collection but I am glad to be starting one now! I was asked to review the Bon Appètit Desserts cookbook written by Barbara Fairchild. Once I saw the cover I knew something wonderful awaited me. Here is just a sampling of the recipes.. Pumpkin Pie!
Classic Pumpkin Pie
A bit of sour cream gives the filling of this special pie a subtle tang and a little extra richness. If you’d like to decorate the pie with pastry leaves, prepare and roll out a second pie-crust dough disk; sprinkle the leaf-shaped cutouts with sugar before baking. Serve the pie with whipped cream, if desired. 8 servings
Flaky Pie Crust dough disk (see recipe)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Roll out dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang under and shape edge to form high-standing rim. Make cut in crust edge at 1/2-inch intervals. Bend alternate edge pieces inward. Freeze crust 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with foil and beans or pie weights. Place crust on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake crust until sides are set and dry, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake crust until cooked through and pale golden, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Cool crust on sheet 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Whisk both sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in medium bowl until no lumps remain. Whisk in pumpkin, whipping cream, eggs, and sour cream. Gently spread apricot preserves evenly over inside of crust to coat. Pour filling into crust.
Bake pie on sheet until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes. Cool pie completely on rack. Cover and chill until cold.
Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Flaky Pie Crust
All purpose flour and cake flour combine to make a tender crust, while the mixture of butter and shortening lends flavor and a flaky texture. If you don’t own a food processor, simply use your fingertips or a pastry blender to combine the butter and shortening with the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Makes 1 dough disk (enough for one 9-inch or 10-inch crust)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1?2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Mix both flours, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles very coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons ice water and process until large moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.
Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
This Pie in History
The Pilgrims didn’t have pumpkin pie at their first Thanksgiving feast. The dessert reportedly made its debut at the second Thanksgiving, in 1623.
—From Bon Appétit Desserts by Barbara Fairchild/Andrews McMeel Publishing
Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark
3 whisks (this is the hardness level, 1 whisk is easy, 4 is hardest)
This bark features white chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and peppermint candies—perfect for the holidays. To crush the candies, place them in a resealable plastic bag and tap them firmly with a rolling pin. Makes 36 pieces
17 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces), divided
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Mark 12×9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F (chocolate will feel warm). Remove bowl from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed candies. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream, and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer ; spread to cover . Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed candies . Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles.
Do Ahead: Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Refrigerate in airtight container. Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Technique Tip: Spreading the Chocolate
To keep the white chocolate layer from remelting when you add the bittersweet chocolate, pour out the bittersweet chocolate mixture in three thick lines down the length of the baking sheet. This speeds up the spreading so that there isn’t time for the white chocolate to melt.
—From Bon Appétit Desserts by Barbara Fairchild/Andrews McMeel Publishing
And that is just two of the recipes in this great book, and in total there are over 600. I like the way this book is written, almost like a mom definitely wrote it because its not confusing. I think that was Barbara’s aim, not to confuse anyone and really share this cookbook as a go to book for desserts. I love that there are recipes for novices and harder recipes for some of us (and I say this publicly on the chance Chef Ian is reading this blog, and he wouldn’t want his students not challenging themselves out of class!) that have a little experience under our belts. And i of course love the beautiful food photography, anyone who has been to this blog more than once knows how much I love pretty food!
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Disclosure: Product Provided for this review, opinions are my own and not influenced by monetary compensation.