BITE SIZE DESSERTS
Carole Bloom (Wiley, 2009)
Even when I’m so full I can barely move, I often crave a sweet to officially conclude a meal. It doesn’t need to be much, perhaps two or three bites, or what my mother called a “cheek,” a subtle closure that compliments a cup of tea or espresso.
Fortunately I discovered that master baker and culinary instructor, Carole Bloom, has created the perfect book of miniature desserts to round out a sumptuous meal or a tapas-inspired party where everything delicious is served in small portions.
According to the 2009 National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” chef’s survey, bite-size desserts are the number two food trend, just behind locally grown produce. How nice to see a shift in culinary choices that honors our health as well as the health of our planet! And how marvelous to have Carole provide us with a repertoire of big flavors in bite-size portions.
Carole’s books are always well designed and laid out, very accessible for bakers of all levels. She begins Bite-Size Desserts with a section on ingredients, equipment and techniques. Chapters include cakes, cupcakes and brownies, scones, muffins and pastries, tartlets, cobblers, crisps and more, mousses, custards and puddings, cookies, sorbets and ice creams and candies. While each recipe can be prepared as a full-scale dessert, Carole has given us the tools and guidelines for creating demitasse pots de crème, miniature scoops of ice creams and sorbets in in small glasses, and perfect tiny cupcakes to pop in our mouths.
I’ve learned that before I sit down to mentally devour a cookbook I’d be wise to have eaten first. Otherwise, it’s agony to stay focused as I want to raid the pantry and start baking. You’ll likely find yourself feeling the same way as you peruse Bite-Size Desserts. Consider these: Bittersweet Chocolate Five-Spice Cupcakes, Venetian Almond Tartlets, Mocha Souffles with Cacao Nib Whipped Cream, and Crackly Ginger Chips. With full page photographs adding to a baker’s temptation, it’s hard not to leap up and start baking.
I’ve chosen three desserts from Bite-Size Desserts to further entice you to add Carole’s book to your culinary libraries. I’ve already purchased a copy for a friend who also loves a “cheek” at the end of her meals. What better way to start the new year and “slender resolutions” than with a book of bite-size delights to help stave off the dark days of January.
A sample of some of the recipes from Bite Size Desserts: