In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Sweeter Off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Jul 3, 2017 8:00 AM

Sweeter Off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season, by Yossy Arefi copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi

Our Summary:

This book reflects the flavors of each season but balances each fruit ingredient with inventive ideas that range from easy, five-ingredient affairs to more complex and involved baking endeavors.  Regardless of what you choose to bake, Arefi's recipes are thorough and colorfully descriptive.  You'll find navigating the simple or complex to be a worthwhile effort, and the results no less than delicious.  Best of all, most of the recipes in Sweeter Off The Vine are rustic, home-style desserts, so you need not have the deft touch of a pastry chef.

Get it: Sweeter Off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season, by Yossy Arefi copyright © 2016, photographs copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi.  Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC Hardcover $23.00. (Amazon $13.06; eBook $1.99)  

See it: Photos of every finished recipe plus photos of fruits and other ingredients make this a visually stunning book broken into Sections that follow each season with a variety of recipes for each heading, including herbs, mixed berries, melons, stone fruits, pears, squash and pumpkins, citrus, cranberries, and dates.

Make it: 62 seasonal recipes with component recipes and seasonal variations, plus 9 recipes for "year-round essentials" and 5 recipes for your "seasonal larder."  A Sources guide helps with online sourcing, and a full index by both fruit and recipe name is especially useful.

Our Review:

In a world of nearly season-less fruits, it's hard to remember what tastes best when.  Now, thanks to popular blogger, food photographer and writer Yossy Arefi's Sweeter Off the Vine, you have a collection of recipes for peak-season fruit, and a handful of recipes that straddle each season.  

Perhaps the most surprising element to the classic and homey fruit desserts and sweet treats collection of recipes is the variety of whole grain flours Arefi uses.  In Sweeter Off the Vine flours that you want to use - and like - such as buckwheat flour are used over and again to make the purchase worth your money.  You'll try her Buckwheat Tart Shell and then delight in the ease of her buckwheat flour Cacao Nib Poppy Seed Wafers, which are a befitting sandwich for strawberry ice cream (and there's a recipe for that too!).  You'll indulge in spelt flour and be glad you did when you make Arefi's Spelt Quick Puff Pastry that almost guarantees you'll never buy the frozen stuff again.  And, then there's rye flour that Arefi likes to use when baking with berries and stone fruits, such as her Blackberry and Sage Cream Puffs.

Lest you think each recipe in Sweeter Off the Vine requires you to fire up the oven, rest assured that there are ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet recipes, crème fraîche and caramel recipes (the crème fraîche caramel sauce recipe alone is worth the price of the book!), as well as a few marmalades, jams and preserves thrown in for good measure. 

In the end, Sweeter Off the Vine is nothing less than a must have, must use, and must pass down to the next generation of home-bakers.  The recipes feel like treasures that will announce each season for years to come.  

Published in Donna Marie Desfor

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