Cookbook Spotlight: Deborah Madison's Seasonal Fruit Desserts.
Well, hey! I'm only slightly late this time. Go me.
Despite my current blogging malaise, I was happy to hear from Cath (Ok, I'm always happy to hear from her) about the prospect of a new Cookbook Spotlight.
A caveat: I'm not a fan of cooked fruit. I want it as nature intended, or with as little doctoring as possible (a little mint, spice, etc). Matt isn't much of a fruit-eater at all.
Alex...will eat just about anything. Fortunately, so will the in-laws.
I found the recipes to be simple, which is always a plus. Not a lot of two-day operations or heavy on the 'meanwhile' steps.
And while I can appreciate the recipes in terms of 'I know so-and-so would enjoy this', I did find the recipes to be a bit...privileged, I suppose.
Each ingredient section would call for organic flour, organic sugar, organic cornstarch. You get the idea. Now, I fully support the organic movement. I'd fill my refrigerator & cupboards with nothing but if I could. Of course, I'd need to find a sugar daddy first, so I could afford it.
And that was my issue with the book. The almost...elitist attitude. Yes, organic is great. But to assume every person who purchases the book has stocked their shelves with only organic baking supplies is kind of presumptuous. I respect Madison, mostly for her vegetarian offerings in the past, but I don't like feeling I'm somehow not living up to my culinary potential because I buy the Target-brand sugar.
Ingredient branding issues aside, the recipes would make any fruit-desert fan happy. Interesting varieties & pairings.
I made the Berry Galette for my in-laws, using a mixture of blueberries & blackberries. They finished it off in two days! And in an interesting twist of fate, that very day they received a copy of Seasonal Fruit Desserts from one of Matt's brothers!
So, to sum up: simple but tasty recipes, if you like fruit. Can't shake the feeling it was written with an agenda. It's a good agenda, but the casual cook may find him/her/itself being taken along for a ride he/she/it didn't sign up for.