Wintersweet

WintersweetA lot of people think about baking during the winter, when the weather is cold outside and a hot oven is a good way to bring a little extra heat into your kitchen. Winter isn’t a season that we usually associate with fresh produce (unless you happen to live in California where locally grown products are available almost year-round), but with frozen berries readily available in the supermarket, there is nothing that you can’t bake year-round, even when your favorite summer fruits are out of season. Winter isn’t as bleak of a season as it can seem, however, and there are actually many different fruits that can be incorporated into making delicious, cold-weather desserts. Wintersweet is all about

The chapters in the book are divided by ingredient, with entire chapters devoted to fruits that are in season during the winter, like apples, pears, persimmons and citrus. These are fruits that are often an afterthought many cookbooks, but really become the stars here. There are also chapters on cheese, dried fruit, dairy and eggs, all of which are available year round yet can take on a more prominent role in your desserts during the winter. The recipes range from familiar and homey, the kind of dishes that you want to eat on a cold afternoon when you don’t want to go outside, to more upscale desserts that are ideal for a holiday dinner party. The recipes are approachable and well thought out, easy enough for novice cooks to make and for more experienced bakers to really enjoy, thanks to interesting uses of spices and other ingredients that make the recipes exceptionally flavorful.

Since this is a seasonal book, it is likely that you will only use it part of the year, even though several chapters include non-seasonal desserts (there is no bad time for Rum Raisin Cheesecake Bars, for instance) that you could easily make the rest of the year. That seasonal aspect is a nice bonus here, because it means that it’s a book that you can look forward to working with as the winter gets chilly in the fall and enjoy until those summer berries really start to come in. There are plenty of other books that make berries the star and are filled with all purpose cakes, cookies and breads that can be baked any time, but there aren’t too many that celebrate what we get to work wit in the winter like this one does.

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