Hardcover: 688 pages
Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (September 2001)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.7 x 10.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #433,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #207 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > International #1299 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Desserts #1614 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking
I received this as a gift in 1994, the year it was first published. Although I have a large cookbook collection now, I use less than ten on a regular basis. Classic Home Desserts is a great cookbook and is my staple for baking desserts, especially for cake recipes.I feel that healthy eating is best, but desserts do have a special place-mostly reserved for holidays and special occasions in our household. My policy is that if I am going to eat a dessert, I want it to be worth the calories, fat and carbs. There is nothing worse than eating a dessert that is flavorless or just inferior quality-but you won't have that problem with baking from THIS cookbook.After getting married and then, later, after having children, I began a tradition to bake a birthday cake for my family members from scratch and this cookbook is my recipe source. Each time I serve a dessert from this book I receive numerous compliments. Several people have also suggested that I open a bakery or start a home business baking desserts. This always surprises me as all I did was follow the directions in the recipes in this book-nothing special was done on my part and certainly the recipes are not my original creations. For the cakes, I am always surprised when people are shocked when they find that the cake actually has flavor-because they have grown used to grocery store baked cakes which have almost no flavor!Our family favorite for yellow cake is the 1-2-3-4 cake, it is very moist and flavorful and always receives rave reviews. I also use the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe, as per the books directions, as the cake portion of the Boston Crème Pie. The Applesauce-Carrot Cake is the absolute best carrot cake I've ever had in my life, and friends and relatives agree.
I bought this book because of its awards and rave reviews. I also bought it to prepare for an annual informal pie contest held by friends. I had hoped to find a special, winning recipe. I baked five pie/tart recipes and ended up using none for the contest as the results ranged from poor to good but nothing was spectacular. I consider myself to be an experienced baker and I was expecting so much more than what I got. I made the following pies: lime chiffon, buttermilk, sweet potato pecan, caramel walnut tart, rice pie, and holiday nut tart with chocolate glaze. I also made the rich, all butter pie crust. The lime chiffon pie was a little too tart and had a somewhat gelatinous texture. It certainly cannot compare to a real key lime pie. Noone at my dinner enjoyed it. The sweet potato pecan pie had bland, overly-sweet potato filling, with a sugary topping that was not at all reminiscent of real pecan pie, as promised. Again, all tasters at that dinner party were underwhelmed. The rice pie, promised to be one of the best recipes in the book, was fine but not anything special - it was firm rice pudding in a shell. The only three I would make again were the nut tarts and the buttermilk pie and, surprisingly, the buttermilk pie was my overall favorite. It tasted almost like a light, lemony cheesecake. The holiday nut tart had a bitter edge to it - it might have helped to use a different combination of nuts, I'm not sure. The caramel walnut tart was well liked by all and I have no criticism of it, but can note nothing exceptional either. Lastly, the pie pastry recipe ended up feeling greasy and the food processor method made it tougher than the pastry recipe I usually use. Not wanting to take the same risk for the patee sucre for the tarts, I used another, known, recipe for them.
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