Monday, October 25, 2010
Cookbook watch - books with cookies & sweets
Marie Skogström is both a chef and a pastry chef, and she's been a finalist for Pastry Chef of the Year several times if my memory serves correctly. Her book, Chokladdesserter (Do you really need me to translate that?) doesn't mention this at all, but knowing it makes me appreciate her recipes a little extra. The goodies really speak for themselves though - a caramel panna cotta topped with chocolate ganache, anyone? A lingonberry chocolate soufflé? Yes, I thought so. This book is a keeper, and gets to move into my over-stuffed bookcase.
277 sorters kakor ("277 types of cookies") is the latest from Swedish pastry chef Jan Hedh, and it's filled to the brim with cookie recipes. Cookies, in the broad sense, that is - some are actually cookies, some are cakes, some are small gateaus. Jan Hedh is a very classical pastry chef, and has tons of recipes for old-style European sweets, that he's learned from various colleagues during his long career. A lot of them feel decidedly old-fashioned, but fabulously-looking nonetheless. As always, his recipes are extremely exact (don't even think about attempting them without a precise set of scales) and usually somewhat complicated. That in itself can be quite deterring - but if you get past it and look to the finished results, you can have some fun with this book. If you want something a bit more approachable, read on...
Sju sorters julkakor might at first glance look exactly like "Sju sorters kakor" or Swedish cakes and cookies as it's called in English. (Yes, a Swedish cookie cookbook that's available in English!) It's not. The name means "Seven kinds of christmas cookies" but obviously this holds a lot more than seven cookies. I love that they've used the same red gingham design as some of the other staple books that Ica Bokförlag has published - not only because it looks great but also because it implies that this book is a staple. And it just might be. Not just for christmas, either - oh no, this is a book to be used all year round. My only problem is where to begin. With cookies? Cakes? A cheesecake perhaps, topped with christmassy pomegranate seeds? Cinnamon brownies with saffron frosting?? Seriously, that sounds so good it ought to be illegal. Get the book (if you read Swedish) - you won't regret it.
Lyxlagat Sött & Gott ("Luxury cooking - sweet and tasty") is the fourth book by Frederik Zäll (who's probably best known as a musician, in the band Escobar), but it's the first one I've read. For this one, he's paired up with super cool pastry chef Daniel Roos (who's a total doll, and heads up the pastry department at luxury restaurant Operakällaren) to present awesome desserts. They're definitely made to impress - but easy enough to pull off at home. (Well, at least that's the claim!) It has yummy goodness from cover to cover - it begins with a Mango Tart with Coconut Meringue, and ends with homemade chocolates filled with a tea-chocolate ganache. Every recipe also has a suggestion for music and something to drink - a bit unclear if it's meant to actually match, or if it's more something you could drink while cooking, but it's nice either way. Frederik has a very personal way of writing, and the book is extremely friendly. Thumbs up!