The bold flavors of the Mediterranean have been inspiring American home cooks for years. And now, at last, comes Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style, a book bursting with exciting desserts. Both California and the Mediterranean, whose terrain and climate are similar, boast a market basket of intensely flavored foods for the baker -- warm spices, fresh fruits, nuts, herbs, honey, chocolate, cheeses, preserves, filo dough, wines, and spirits. Cindy Mushet has spent more than fourteen years as a pastry chef incorporating these flavors into classic desserts -- cookies, custards, cakes, ice creams, and sorbets -- that are uniquely American yet convey the wonderfully intense and unique flavors that capture the feel and spirit of the Mediterranean. If it's Italian you love, experience the Pistachio Layer Cake with Nougat Cream or the Raspberry Mascarpone Tart with Chocolate Crust. Dreaming of the south of France? Soothe your soul with the farmhouse simplicity of Caramelized Apple Cake with Rosemary or the cool, refreshing, and surprising Mint and Chocolate Pots de Crème. If Spain makes you swoon, try the luxuriantly rich Crema Catalana or sample the Spanish Olive Oil and Spice Biscotti. The white-washed hills of Greece surface in a new version of the classic Galataboureko, a spiced semolina pudding in filo topped with a crimson Spiced Blood Orange Caramel Sauce. North Africa's bright flavors can be found in the creamy Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango in Lime Caramel Sauce or the dramatic filo Snake Pastry with Fig, Almond Paste, and Lemon. If you draw from the exciting flavors of the Middle East, try the Caramel, Date, and Sesame Tart or any of the five enticing new versions of baklava. Drawing from her years of teaching experience, Mushet has written recipes with simple, detailed instructions to ensure your success. Each recipe includes notes on which steps can be completed in advance, as well as suggestions on how best to serve and store your dessert. A mail-order guide provides sources for hard-to-find ingredients and equipment integral to the Mediterranean and American kitchens. Every detail of Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style creates a sense of confidence and inspiration that will lead you to the kitchen and, best of all, to the table with friends and family.
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