Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Desserts Of New York And How To Eat Them All: A Cookbook Review

"Food has always been a gateway to somewhere new. True I will take any opportunity to eat, particularly dessert, but I appreciate the unsung neighbourhoods, nondescript streets and random alleys a food tip has lead me to with equal measure."
Yasmin Newman, The Desserts Of New York.

Seeing this cookbook in the shelves was a "shut up and take my money" moment. One of my favourite cookbook authors, in one of the world's most iconic cities eating nothing but dessert. Total no brainer, full price, don't care, gimme gimme gimme.

If cookbooks had a movie caption this one would be "One woman, 91 days, 169 venues, 373 desserts...". In order to bring us the best of New York's dessert recipes, author Yasmin Newman has taken extreme eating to a whole new level here by apparently eating all of New York's best desserts, for an entire three months no less and she has somehow pulled off this stunt and still looks like a supermodel.

The experiment sure did pay off though. This book is genius. Its as if Humans of New York met Lonely Planet in a dimly lit dessert bar and 3 months later gave birth to this compendium of all that makes New York great. You have the people photographed going about their daily lives, the places you must eat dessert and how to find them and then the recipes. The recipes are where you come into the picture.

It would be cruel just to eat your way through New York and not allow the experience to be shared and Yasmin is the perfect woman to bring the desserts into your kitchen. Her first cookbook 7000 islands is a food portrait of the Philippines, the place of Yasmins heritage. It is so well written , the recipes are so workable at home and the flavours are some of the most outstanding you will ever conjure in your own kitchen and with her follow up book Yasmin has not disappointed us. The Desserts of New York brings us everything you could want from a dessert book and puts each recipe into the context of how it fits into New York's cultural identity.

For beginners I recommend the cookie recipes. The burnt butter choc chip cookies are so American they will virtually sing you the Star Spangled Banner as you bake these babies and they are so simple to make even a total kitchen novice couldn't stuff this one up. For the intermediate home cook I would recommend heading to the cake recipes, a New York cheesecake or the Brooklyn blackout cake are an iconic place to start to get your kitchen in a New York state of mind. And for those who are as confident as Mr Big but in a kitchen sense I recommend the pies, croissants and breads, maybe take a crack at the Boozy blueberry, blackberry and rye pie because nothing says USA louder than a sweet pie. Americans are all about the sweet pie.

Beyond the recipes this book is so grounded in one specific time and place it will quickly become a snapshot frozen in that moment but that's what makes it special. There will never be another 2017, the shops and bakeries will come and go. Trends like rainbows and cronuts will eventually fade with time. Life moves on, sometimes against our will but Yasmin has captured one moment, one we can hold onto and cherish and in that moment she brings us food memories that will stay with us hopefully longer than the extra kilos will.

In speaking with Yasmin about this review I was given permission to bring you a recipe from the book but that brought with it a whole other problem. Which to share? There really are so many fantastic recipes in this book for all skill levels that I urge you to go and buy a copy for your own kitchen, in the meantime and to whet your appetite next week I will be bringing you the recipe for Luxe Oreos. Just to make sure you come back to get the recipe here is what my version of them look like....

Originally posted on Saturday, 30 September 2017 by


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