Friday, March 25, 2011

Cookbook: The Art of the Dessert

The Art of the DessertWe have a winner - Janice Dean of Charlottesville. Check back next Friday for another cookbook giveaway.

Although I love to cook, I have always been frustrated by baking. As the years have gone by, I have come to realize that they are two distinct disciplines and success at one does not ensure great results at the other.

But I do appreciate a good dessert and the pastry chefs who make them. Ann Amernick is one of these. While the rest of us poor slobs are trying to do our best with cup measures and tablespoons, she's expertly measuring out her ingredients with a gram scale for consistent results. But in "The Art of the Dessert," she also has tips for the home cook, and shares her techniques for getting the best out of your recipes. And then there are her recipes, nearly a hundred of them: cakes and tortes, pies and tarts, cookies and candies, cold desserts, warm desserts, and dessert sandwiches to impress your guests.

 If you want this week's book, "The Art of the Dessert," be the first to click the PayPal button (Buy Now) below, follow the directions to deposit a payment to my account, AND leave a comment at the end of this blog item with some way to contact you for your address or in case you were not the first one (I have only one copy of each book). I will send the book by Priority Mail. Offer good in the United States only at this time. You don't need a PayPal account, but you will need a credit card to pay with the button.

If this isn't the book for you, keep checking back on Fridays. I offer a different cookbook each week. I'll edit the post to indicate when a book is no longer available.

If you live in Charlottesville, you can save the money by coming to pick up the book. Be the first to leave a comment, with a way to contact you.

To give you an idea of the recipes in "The Art of the the Dessert," here is a sample recipe.

Triple Chocolate Terrine
Yield: 1 9x5inch loaf

5 ounces white chocolate
5 ounces milk chocolate
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 3/4 cups heavy cream

Lay a length of double thickness plastic wrap large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan on a work surface. Smooth out any air bubbles. Fit the plastic wrap into the loaf pan, lining the bottoms and the sides and allowing it to extend over the sides of the pan. Press the plastic wrap in well to get rid of any air bubbles. Set aside.

Chop the white, milk and bittersweet chocolates separately and place each in a microwave bowl. Whip 3/4 cup of the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Microwave the white chocolate on medium power for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds, stirring between each interval. As soon as the chocolate begins to melt, decrease the interval time to 5 seconds. The chocolate should be warm and completely melted without being burned. As soon as the chocolate is melted, fold in the whipped cream quickly, so as not to solidify the chocolate with the coldness of the cream, until no streaks of chocolate show. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a 2-inch wide offset metal spatula. Refrigerate.

Whip another 3/4 cup of the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside. Repeat the melting process with the milk chocolate, then fold in the whipped cream. Pour over the white chocolate and smooth. Refrigerate.
Barely whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream to less-than-soft peaks, until the tracks of the whisk are just visible in the cream. Remove 1/2 cup of the cream and set aside. Melt the bittersweet chocolate using the same method as the white and milk chocolates. The chocolate should be very warm to best mix with the whipped cream.

Working very quickly, pour the very warm chocolate into the remaining whipped cream and immediately begin whisking the mixture very quickly and thoroughly to combine the chocolate and cream, until no chocolate bits are visible. (This step must be done quickly so the chocolate goes in smoothly.) Add the reserved 1/2 cup whipped cream, whisking it in thoroughly until blended.
Pour the bittersweet chocolate mixture over the milk chocolate mixture in the pa and smooth the top.

Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Turn the terrine out onto a serving platter, remove the plastic wrap, and cut into 1-inch slices.

Place a slice on each plate and surround with raspberry coulis, a blend of 2 pints mashed fresh raspberries, 1 tablespoon framboise, and 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (or to taste).


  1. Oooh, Lori, this cookbook speaks to me! May I claim it? I am an ok cook, but my baked goods usually come out much better. I think it's because I have never been very comfortable with improvising, but I'm great with exactness. :-)

  2. Yes, Janice, you're first to post, so "Desserts" is yours! I think you'll like it.

  3. Wow, what a great recipe. A keeper. While it might not be great for the waistline, it is a good item to serve for those who cannot indulge in pie and cake and cookies because of the gluten.
    And I bet a little goes a long way.
    Seems pretty simple if you follow the steps, and I am glad there is no gelatin in it to set it up.
    Thanks for posting.

  4. Tina, it's true that it's not low-calorie, but I say if you're going to sin, sin boldly.