When in doubt. Bake.
No matter what your question is. No matter what you want your answer to be. Bake.
Let me give you a case study. (Straight from the eatswellwithothers guide to life. Otherwise known as “How to Deal With Medical School Or Any Other Life-Consuming Endeavor While Keeping All of Your Fingers and Toes”. Written by yours truly.)
You are a first year medical student (Really? Why? Go to cooking school. You’ll be happier). It is Sunday. The day before a big exam.
Coincidentally. It is also Mother’s Day. (Didn’t ANY of the instructors consult a calendar before making up the course schedule? I thought Mother’s Day was supposed to be a Day of Worship! Psst. Mom. Read this part!)
So you are now faced with two challenges. One. You have to pass your test. Two. You have to do so while keeping the title of “Best Daughter In The Eatswellwithothers Household” as far away from your sister as possible. (More easier done than said. Sorry, Dana.)
What do you do?
Bake with fruit. Moms like fruit. And it will make them feel like they raised you right. Because, hey, you are eating fruit!
When your mom asks you if this dessert is good for her. Lie to her. Tell her it will make her look better in her bikini. Then encourage her to have seconds.
Don’t listen to your dad when he tries to tell you what he wants to have for dessert on Mother’s Day. Hear him out. Calmly. When he reminds you of all of his likes and dislikes. (Likes – chocolate and vanilla. Plain and unadulterated. Dislikes – everything else.) Explain to him that coconut milk does not have the same texture as shredded coconut. And that any dessert worth making includes lemon in some form or another. So if he thinks you are omitting either of those things from a recipe entitled COCONUT RICE PUDDING CAKE. Well. He can think again. Or wait until Father’s Day. Then maybe you’ll consider it.
Choose a recipe from Deborah Madison’s new cookbook – Seasonal Fruit Desserts. Because I absolutely promise that you cannot go wrong.
I received this book to review about a month ago and since then I have paged through it at least once a day. Hemming and hawing about what I would make.
Flip flopping. From one fruit-laden dessert to another. (Yes. I am a flip flopper. And because of that you can bet that I will not be going into politics anytime soon.)
Recipes as simple as Warm Apricots with Honey and Yogurt. Baked Rhubarb with Vanilla, Orange and Clove.
To those that are a little more involved. Walnut-Pecan Maple Tart. Concord Grape Fold-Over Pie. You know. The ones that would require you to actually figure out how to make pastry dough. (Sigh. Someday.)
And then of course. The whole chapter on puddings and gelees. Have I mentioned that I am addicted to pudding?
In addition to the wide variety of delicious-sounding recipes, the cookbook is also filled with mouth-watering pictures. Not of everything, but of most. And each time you look at them, you think, hmmm yes I will make that. Today. Tomorrow. Soon.
And then, of course, there are the stories. Now I don’t know about you, but I love cookbooks that impart a bit of the author’s life and personality. Throughout the book, Madison offers vignettes on different fruits, sharing her experiences with them. A memory. An impression. A dedication. She focuses on eating locally and seasonally and never restricts you to the fruits that are used in her recipes, advocating that you use what you have. And, above all, rely on your intuition. If you think it will taste good. It probably will.
(For example, the raspberry compote that I made was actually supposed to be blueberry compote. But the raspberries being sold here looked way better than the blueberries. So I substituted. Delicious.)
I would love to be able to give you the recipe for this fantastic Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Raspberry Compote, which is subtly sweet and yet completely addicting. But I can’t. (By law.)
I can, however, advocate that you buy this cookbook. Because, especially if you like fruit. And dessert. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Just ask my mother.
I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by Marija of Palachinka.
Disclaimer – Although I received this cookbook for free, I did not receive any monetary compensation for doing this review. My thoughts and feelings on it are entirely my own.