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Sweeter Off the Vine

Fruit Desserts for Every Season

I love fruit desserts - which is not about being healthy (if you’ve ever made a fruit pie you would know this).  This is about plain old deliciousness.  I like chocolate, of course, but I would always swap a double chocolate whatever for warm, flaky apple pie fragrant with cinnamon, brown sugar and butter, tender strawberry shortcake bursting with fresh fruit and sweet whipped cream or tangy lemon tart sitting on a buttery crust.  So when I heard about this cookbook, I knew it was for me.

I was already a fan of Yossi Arefi’s blog, Apt. 2B Baking Co., both for the recipes and the beautiful food photography.  Located in Brooklyn, her online presence already attracts thousands of followers.  (I have to admit that she “liked” a picture of a pie I made and I was thrilled).  Recipes are organized by season and by fruit.  You can choose the fruit you want to cook with, and decide what to make rather than deciding to make a pie and choosing the fruit to fill it.    

I tried a couple of recipes over the summer.  I hosted Father's’ Day dinner, and my brother-in-law has an issue with cooked fruit.  Since he is a father, I decided to humour him.  I tried the Simplest Strawberry Tart, made of uncooked strawberries sitting on top of sweetened vanilla scented mascarpone cheese, on a buttery rye crust.  I added some whipped cream to the cheese and lemon zest to the strawberries to lighten it up.  You can’t really go wrong with strawberries and cream, so the tart was a winner, and it was simple.  I didn’t love the rye crust though.  My pie crusts are generally very good, if I do say so myself, so I was not happy to see my guests sawing through the crust.  The crust had great flavour though so I may try it again.

On Canada Day I made Rhubarb and Rye Upside-Down Cake, with rhubarb from my garden no less.  This was a delicious Canada-red summer dessert, the rhubarb was tart and sweet and the cake was moist and tender, nutty from the rye flour.  The recipe was straightforward and easy to follow. ...I didn’t bake anything on the August long weekend, but hey, I needed a break.

There are many more recipes in this book that I am excited to try.  My mother used to make a grape pie, and I intend to make Concord Grape pie when these grapes are in season.  I hope it’s as good as I remember.  I am also looking forward to Soft Chocolate and Fig Cake and Browned-Butter Date Blondies.

Chocolate has its place, don’t get me wrong.  But when it comes to dessert, my sweet tooth wants fruit.  If this sounds like you, this is a good one to try.