I found this huge compendium of desserts at my local library (my favorite place for cookbooks). I am first and foremost, a dessert maker. I cannot help myself. If you look on my recipe page, you will see that a large portion of my posts are devoted to sweets. So, naturally I gravitate more toward dessert cookbooks.
Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax is just about a baker’s nirvana. With over 300 recipes on almost 700 pages, it contains just about every single dessert recipe ever created. Ever. Originally written in 1994, it has been reprinted with updated covers twice since. The recipes, covering the history of all things sweet, covers sweets from all over the world.
There is a wide pink sidebar (oops! that’s blogger speak for margin) throughout the book next to the white of the main contents. In the margin, Mr. Sax includes quotes, bits of trivia and even excerpts from journals and books from various ages of time. These little snippets are as much fun as the recipes.
As the title infers, this book includes only desserts you would make at home; things your grandma made, foods that made family traditions. Homey foods. There are no fancy restaurant items included. There is no nouveau cuisine. Even the photos, what few there are, are simple and unpretentious. Because of the magnitude of this project, Mr. Sax only gave single examples of many desserts. You won’t find every single kind of fruit pie. You won’t find every single kind of cookie.
Instead, you will find a chapter on cobblers and crisps wherein the author explains the differences between cobblers, betties, crisps, crumbles, pandowdies, buckles and slumps, giving a very decent recipe for each. There are even a few little history lessons thrown in here and there for good measure. Each other chapter follows a similar pattern. All of the basic kinds desserts are represented.
This is the kind of book I would love to bake my way through!