Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ottolenghi's Newest Cookbook: Sweet

I have written over the years about the wonderful cookbooks of Yotam Ottolenghi, who first got me excited about Middle Eastern food. I have read and cooked from all of his books -- The Cookbook, Plenty, Plenty More and Jerusalem -- with one exception. The exception is Nopi, which contains recipes used in the restaurant of the same name where Ramael Scully is the chef. The recipes in Nopi look too complicated and intimidating to be of much appeal to me, although I hope someday to have a go. But I digress. Ottolenghi's newest book is Sweet, written with Helen Goh, an Australian woman who is, above all, Ottolenghi's principal dessert chef.

When I read a cookbook, I write down or put stickies next to the recipes I really want to try. Here is my annotated copy of Sweet, where I marked 24 items in the "must try" category.

Sweet with "must try" recipes tabbed
Some examples: amaretti with honey and orange blossoms; orange and star anise shortbread ;Persian "love cakes"; tahini and halva brownies; rum and raisin cake with rum caramel icing (see below); prune cake with Armagnac and walnuts; parsnip and pecan cake with aniseed and orange; apple and olive oil cake with maple frosting; coconut, almond and blueberry cake; Helen's version of lemon and poppy seed cake; flourless coconut and chocolate cake; ricotta and hazelnut cheesecakes; chocolate tart with hazelnut, rosemary and orange; fig and pistachio frangipane tarlets; apricot and thyme galettes with polenta pastry; lemon, yogurt and juniper berry ice cream; and saffron and pistachio brittle.

You get the picture: non-conventional adaptations of classic cakes and other desserts, with unexpected spices and syrups that take them to new places.

I have only had time to make the rum and raisin cake with caramelized rum icing, and it was a delicious beauty.

Rum and raisin caske with caramelized rum glaze from Sweet
As I get through the "must try" recipes, I will probably return to this book for another post or two.

Bobby Jay

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