Desserts 4 Today

Desserts 4 Today

SKU# 071310

Flavorful desserts with just four ingredients

Abigail Johnson Dodge


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Other Formats
  • Product # 071310
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-60085-294-7
  • Published Date 2010
  • Dimensions 8 x 8
  • Pages 192
  • Photos 40 full-color photographs
Whether you've had a hard day at work, have been on the go all day, or are planning an impromptu get together for friends, nothing will end your day better than something sweet and satisfying. Thanks to baking expert Abigail Johnson Dodge, you can whip up a delicious dessert with just 4 ingredients in about a half-hour. The recipes in Desserts 4 Today rely on simplicity--no outrageous ingredients, no difficult-to-master techniques, and no hours of prep work.

Each of the 125 flavorful desserts uses pantry ingredients, is ready from start to finish in about 30 minutes, and provides flavor variations sure to please any palate and any craving. Desserts 4 Today enables cooks of all skill levels to effortlessly create delicious desserts.

About the Author
A former pastry chef, Abby Dodge is a widely respected baking expert as well as a popular food writer and instructor. She studied in Paris at La Varenne and is the author of seven cookbooks, including The Weekend Baker, an IACP Cookbook Award Finalist. Her recipes and articles have appeared in more than three dozen cookbooks, publications and websites. A contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine, she's a regular guest on TV and radio and teaches cooking around the country. Visit Abby's website

Preview a sample of this book below

Table of Contents
Creamy desserts
Frozen desserts
Fruit desserts
Pastry desserts
Equivalency charts
Excerpted from the Introduction

I designed this book to be a straightforward, no-nonsense collection of recipes with tips, hints, and variations to make dessert not only a possibility but also a probability in your life. Before diving into the recipes, take a moment to read through the following pages. I've taken a new approach to presenting these recipes so they're simple and fun to make. I also share my thoughts on stocking the perfect pantry, plus I'll suggest a few key pieces of equipment -- large and small -- to have on hand, along with a some helpful hints for getting the most from your ingredients.

4 Starters
The recipes here are not complicated or fussy and take a modern approach in their taste. They are presented in a user-friendly way to help dessert making be as much a part of your cooking life as pasta, burgers, and baked potatoes.

Ingredients are listed first and the amount second. This way, you will know immediately if you have what you need to get going. You'll find that many of the ingredients are sitting in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients, these recipes deliver intriguing and flavorful results.

Flavor is the name of the game. Change things up by trying one of the variations I give in the "Switch-Ins" section of each recipe. These suggestions encourage you to think beyond your familiar flavor pairings as well as offer options for swapping ingredients that you don't have on hand, don't care for, or, in the case of fruit, aren't ripe or in season. Be adventurous with your choices, with the Switch-Ins as your guide. In the case of fresh fruit, use the ripest in-season fruit you can. And if the primary fruit doesn't look so good, swap in something similar, keeping in mind the type and texture of the original fruit called for in a recipe.

"Gussy It Up" sidebars offer suggestions for extra finishing touches for when you have the time and interest. Some options are as quick as a dusting of sugar; other times, I'll steer you to short, easy-to-follow recipes in Add-Ons (page 178). All of these additions maximize the flavor and texture of the ingredients to provide another layer of taste and sophistication.

"Tech Talk" and "Change It Up" highlight an alternative technique or method specific to the recipe at hand. These sections not only provide some tricks and tips that will help you along the way but also offer more options so that you really can bring dessert back into your life.

4 Simple Steps to Success
To make the most of the recipes, follow these 4 simple steps to ensure your sweet success.

Choose your dessert
I've divided the recipes into 5 main groups:
Cookies, Creamy, Frozen, Fruit, and Pastry. Turn to the section that intrigues you and page through the recipe titles before selecting one. Better yet, leaf through all the sections -- you never know what irresistible dessert might catch your eye and tickle your taste buds.

Read the recipe
Begin by checking the ingredients. I've listed them ahead of the amount so you'll know immediately if you have them on hand. Next, read the recipe completely and check Essentials (page 181) if you have any questions before you begin.

Measure carefully and follow the directions
Using the appropriate measuring cups -- metal for dry ingredients (and semi-solids, like sour cream) and glass for liquids -- measuring correctly, and then following the directions will ensure consistent and delicious results.

Pay attention to the doneness test and use the timing as a guide
Directions will offer sensory clues to help you know when to move onto the next step or when you are finished. The timing is a suggested window but, depending on your equipment, kitchen and oven temperature, and ingredients, it might take a bit longer or a bit shorter.

4 Other Reminders

Give yourself permission to substitute
Swapping in other ingredients is part of the fun but, to some, it feels like breaking the rules. These substitutions give you flavor and ingredient flexibility in case you don't have exactly what the recipe is calling for or if you feel like experimenting with a new or unusual ingredient. I encourage you to taste as you cook and modify the flavorings to your taste. If you'd like more mint in your fruit compote or more rum in your sabayon, just add more in small increments and make a note of the amount you like in the margin for the next time. Break some rules -- permission granted.

Select top-quality, affordable ingredients
Use the best ingredients your budget can support. With only four ingredients in a recipe, each one needs to be stellar or the taste will suffer and you'll be disappointed.

Embrace seasonal fruits
There's no better way to be creative (see rule #1) and have fun than by using the ripest, in-season, local fruits. Check out the produce at your
local farmers' markets, pick-your-own farms, and greenmarkets; even better, consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). "Going local" is a great way to support your community and get some of the best regional varieties.

Have fun!
Numerology dabblers know that the number 4 represents, among other things, structure, stability, and balance -- heck, even if it's not about baking, I'm all for having these traits in my life. In addition, the recipes are designed to be stress-free and easy without a heavy investment in time, patience, and resources. These recipes will make people happy and will turn even the most novice baker into a rock-star pastry chef.
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