• Bundtlust

The World of Jewish Desserts

Gil Marks, rabbi, chef, and author of The WORLD OF JEWISH COOKING: More Than 500 Traditional Recipes from Alsace to Yemen, The World of Jewish Entertaining: Menus and Recipes for the Sabbath, Holidays, and Other Family Celebrations and the Jewish vegetarian treasury Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World, has truly outdone himself with The World of Jewish Desserts.

A collection of over 400 desserts from every corner of the Diaspora from Alsace to Yemen, Marks has thought of everything the potential Jewish dessert baker needs to know. His brief introduction includes a primer on common ingredients (flour, leavenings, fats, sweeteners, eggs, nuts), measuring, high altitude baking, and more. The book is divided into yeast cakes and pastries, cakes, cookies and bars, pastries and filled cookies, phyllo and strudel, fried pastries, pancakes, baked puddings and kugels, stovetop puddings and creamy desserts, fruit desserts, confections, and Passover desserts.

Each recipe is clearly written and many include numerous delectable variations (also included are tips on how to make a dairy recipe pareve when possible). The book is sparsely illustrated with an ornate blue border and scattered blue pen-and-ink drawings of various recipes and ingredients. In Marks’ usual style, each recipe includes its origin, original name, and what holidays it’s traditionally served on.

Naturally, World of Jewish Desserts includes such well-known Jewish desserts as hamantaschen, rugelach, mandelbrot, blintzes, and cheesecake, but also includes a veritable treasure trove of Sephardic recipes including pumpkin (Italian pumpkin cake, Sephardic pancakes, candied pumpkin) that are perfect for fall, Indian recipes featuring coconut, mango, and tangerine that lend a refreshing tropical air to summer Sabbath dinners, numerous Middle Eastern recipes in rose and orange blossom syrups, and a valuable section on both traditional Hanukkah (fried pastries) and Passover (matza) desserts.

These are simple, delicious desserts that bring back happy memories of Bubbe’s (or Babcia’s) kitchen, with recipes from every corner of the globe that are sure to please, whether you’re looking for the perfect sour cream coffeecake, chocolate babka, lekach, poppy seed roll, or something more exotic.

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