The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook by Mary Cech and Jennie Schacht is a dream come true for everyone who is afraid to serve more than coffee or tea with their desserts. This book covers everything from tropical fruit to dark chocolate desserts, and offers excellent wine recommendations along with each recipe so you will never have to worry about an incorrect pairing again (although they say the number one rule is to simply eat and drink what you like.)
The wine suggestions are helpful for everyone from a wine novice to a sommelier, since they indicate the qualities of a good, complimentary wine (i.e. “a delicate late harvest white wine with fresh stone fruit flavors”) along with a specific brand recommendation (i.e. “…we love this with La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont, Italy.”) The specific brands mentioned are a godsend to novices like me who have no idea how to actually find a wine with “hints of fresh stone fruit flavors.” The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook will give you the confidence to enter the wine store and ask for a specific brand, without having to wander the aisles aimlessly pretending you know what you’re looking for. If your local shop doesn’t carry the brand recommended in the book, a good clerk should be able to suggest an alternate that will still impress your guests.
Even without the wine recommendations, this cookbook would be an outstanding addition to any dessert lover’s library. The book is a work of art, and includes gorgeous photography you would be willing to hang on your wall. The recipes are traditional with a modern flair, and you’ll find everything from Browned Butter Cheesecake to Chilled Strawberry Consommé. A refreshingly high number of the recipes are fruit-based, and the book dedicates six of the ten recipe chapters to a range of fruit types including stone fruits, berries, citrus, apple & pear and dried fruits. The remaining chapters focus on heavier desserts based on cream, nuts, chocolate and caramel, honey and spice. With such a variety you are bound to find a dessert that will compliment any meal you choose to make.
To ensure the recipes taste as good as they look, I decided to make the Coconut-Lychee Tapioca Pudding. The end result lived up to its image, and the recipe was clearly written and easy to make. The book suggests serving the pudding with Stony Ridge Mavasia Bianca, but I honestly can’t verify this recommendation. I finished the pudding before I ever had a chance to purchase the wine. The next time I make this dessert for guests, I will be sure to pick up the bottle of wine first.
The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook
by Mary Cech and Jennie Schacht
Published by Chronicle Books
$24.95 retail ($16.47 on Amazon)