All throughout last summer, I found myself at the farmer’s market buying baskets of fresh fruit that I wasn’t sure how I’d use, but knew I needed. I mean, cucumbers and squash and corn (oh my gosh so much corn) were fine, but I wanted to make a delicious treat with all the amazing fresh fruit my local farmers were selling. So I’d take home blueberries and peaches and the rare basket of raspberries (they don’t often last till I get there at 10am- curse myself for not being a morning person) and hmm and haahh and wonder what I should do with them. It wasn’t that I was without inspiration, but I wanted to make a dessert that would be worth the preciousness of seasonal local fruit. I couldn’t just make any old cobbler with those peaches. It had to be special. But now I have a great tool that makes using my fresh fruit easy, delicious, and oh-so worth it.
Sweeter Off The Vine by Yossy Arefi will be my new farmer’s market companion. Much like another favorite book by Hugh Acheson, The Broad Fork, the recipes are organized by season and a few recipes are dedicated to each seasonal fruit, herb, melon, or squash. She covers spring, summer, fall, and the seemingly barren winter and uses the back of the book to share year-round essentials like an all-butter pie crust and homemade vanilla extract. And while the average baker might have a few different cobblers or ice creams or pies up their sleeve for market-fresh fruits, Arefi goes above and beyond not only with gourmet galettes and biscuit cobblers, but also with butters, possets, pavlovas, semifreddos, and granitas. With Arefi’s inspiration and clear instructions, you’ll be sure to impress at any kind of food gathering year-round.
Bakers of any level & farm fresh fanatics. I would also recommend this book for those cooks that might not be super comfortable with baking, as it has many cook-y recipes as well and it can ease you into more gourmet seasonal baking. I highly highly recommend you get this book before your local farmers markets get into full swing!
What I love:
I love how simple Arefi makes each recipe. Though a baking book from an ex-professional baker, you won’t find overly detailed recipes spanning three pages or crazy ingredients you’ll have to special order for one use. She means to highlight the flavors of the season with simple preparations and basic ingredients.
I also love the organization of the recipes based on season and fruit, making it easy to flip open and find a recipe for the specific produce I brought home from the market. Her recipes are clearly written and designed for the average home cook in mind.
Also, as an ice cream maker, I was especially inspired by this book and it’s ten different ice creams, not to mention it’s ingenious flavor combinations that inspired my own seasonal ice cream flavors. The colors just didn’t intrigue me. A quick flip through the book, however, proves that you can’t judge this book by it’s cover. It’s just a shame that others might pass it by for that reason.
Recipes worth trying:
Blackberry and Sage Cream Puffs
Plum Pie with Hazelnut Crumb
Chocolate Celebration Cake with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream
Jeweled Pavlovas with Cranberry Curd
Pear Pie with Creme Fraiche Caramel
Caramel-Swirled Roasted Squash Ice Cream
Blood Orange Old-Fashioned Donuts
Gingery Lime Posset
Browned Butter Date Blondies
Chocolate Sweet Tart Shell
Blogging for Books sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!