What's for Dessert Cookbook Review

What's for Dessert Cookbook Review
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
January 23, 2023

What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People: A Baking Book

In this week's cookbook review, we bring you What's for Dessert, the newest book from Claire Saffitz, the author of Dessert Person.

Claire returns with 100 recipes for all dessert people — whether you're into impressive-yet-easy molten lava cakes, comforting rice pudding, or decadent chestnut brownies.

In this all-new collection, Claire shares recipes for icebox cakes, pies, cobblers, custards, cookies, and more, all crafted to be as streamlined as possible. To keep the recipes straightforward and simple, Claire makes sure each recipe is extra efficient, whether you're making a Whipped Tres Leches Cake with Hazelnuts or Caramel Peanut Popcorn Bars.

Fans will find all the warmth, encouragement, and deliciously foolproof recipes with loads of troubleshooting advice that they've come to count on from Claire.

What's for Dessert

Timeless Classics

What's for Dessert is quite different from Dessert Person. In this new book, Claire embraces a wide variety of desserts, from those cooked on the stovetop to those chilled in there freezer or refrigerator, as well as those served in large format and individually, free-form and composed.

Whether you're into flambés, soufflés, or simple loaf cakes, there's a happiness-inducing dessert here for everyone!

For this book, Claire toked into consideration home bakers' time, space, and budget limitations, in an effort to make each recipe as approachable as possible. None requires a stand mixer, and only about half require a hand mixer.

While this book features many different kinds of desserts, all of them have a timeless quality. In What's for Dessert, Claire shares faithful versions of classics such as Crème Brûlée and Eton mess. In other cases, she tweaks old favorites' flavor, format, or scale. Sometimes, she incorporates familiar elements into more original creations, like Roasted Lemon Tart and Phyllo Cardamom Pinwheels.

What's for Dessert
Banoffee Pudding. Photography by Jenny Huang (p.96)

Different from Dessert Person

As we already mentioned, What's for Dessert and Dessert Person are very different books.

For inspiration to write this book, Claire turned to cookbooks by lauded pastry chefs and authors such as Claudia Fleming, Dorie Greenspan, and Gina DePalma, among others. That's why  What's for Dessert reminds us of the cookbooks from the 80s and 90s. Not only does the collection of recipes feel classic, but the photography style and colors take us back in time.

Although what constitutes a "classic" differs for everyone, we believe you'll find desserts in these chapters that are familiar, too.

The recipes are organized into chapters according to where and how they come together: inside the oven, on the stovetop, or in the refrigerator and freezer. Though none of the recipes rises to the occasion of a project, they range in difficulty level from 1 (Very Easy) to 3 (Moderate).

What's for Dessert
Crème Brûlée or Crème Caramel. Photography by Jenny Huang (p. 290)

Final Thoughts

What's for Dessert is Claire's love letter to desserts. More approachable than Dessert Person and with a very different style, this new book guarantees that every person finds a dessert here to suit their tastes and the time and energy they want to invest.

Although we prefer Claire's first book, What's for Dessert puts together a collection of timeless classics that brings a nostalgia that we have been in more recent cookbooks.


Whether you're into flambés, soufflés, or simple loaf cakes, this new book from Claire answers that all-important question: What's for Dessert?









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