When you talk about desserts, you will often hear people proclaiming that they don’t like sweet things and that, therefore, they don’t like dessert. Desserts are often sweet, but there is a big difference between a treat that is well-balanced and flavorful and something that just delivers a mouthful of sugar. One of the keys to a balanced dessert is knowing how to introduce a little bit of salt to contrast with the sweetness of a recipe and to help the flavors of the individual ingredients pop. In Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery, you’ll find a variety of recipes that balance sweet and salty into desserts that even someone without a big sweet tooth will love.
The recipes cover a wide range of baked items, from breakfast scones and quick breads to brownies, cakes and holiday treats. There is even a section on bar snacks that is a little bit more savory than the rest of the recipes, but can come in handy when planning out a menu for entertaining. The recipes all involve a savory element. In some cases, this could be as subtle as a generous pinch of salt or an unexpected use of fresh herbs that you might ordinarily cook, not bake, with. In others, the savory element is a little bit more pronounced, like a generous quantity of bacon found in the Caramel Bacon Hot Tarts. All of the recipes are very clearly written and easy to follow along with, and many are updated versions of familiar recipes that are simply presented with a different combination of flavors. Some of the recipes, such as the recipe for dark chocolate ganache (with a pinch of salt, of course) can be used in many ways and the book outlines ideas for putting them to use – as well as just for eating them with a spoon, if you want to keep things simple. Before you get into the recipes, the book provides a crash course in staple baking ingredients and techniques that will help guide you through the recipes in the book and outline all the basics that you need to know to ensure your recipes turn out perfectly.
The illustrations in the book are beautiful and are sure to get your mouth watering just as much as the savory elements used in the book. Having said that, some of you might be concerned that there is too much salt in the book. Let me reassure you that this book is not for salt fiends and that all the savory elements are kept within reasonable limits. When you’re concerned about salt, most of it comes from processed foods and not from putting an extra quarter of a teaspoon into your cake recipe or from sprinkling a few grains on top of a cookie! The book is about exploring flavors and demonstrating that there is more to dessert than some people might think, and they show that very well with every delicious recipe.