Monday, 26 May 2008

Lost Desserts

Having not been in a commercial kitchen for the last three months, I thought I should do some "homework" before going back to work. You know, read some cookbooks...analyse some recipes...get inspired? Came across Lost Desserts by Gail Monaghan on the lowest shelf and realised that it's one book that I've had for a while but have yet to make something out of in the kitchen at home.

It is about "delicious indulgences of the past" and is filled with "recipes from legendary restaurants and famous chefs" and also some from her childhood, old books and newspapers and the memories of people that she knows. I guess I bought it more for the little blurbs of history preceeding each recipe than for the recipes themselves because I've always wondered how ideas for some of those desserts were conceived.

And of course for the beautiful food shots, all by Eric Boman of Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel and Blahnik by Boman: Shoes, Photographs, Conversation fame.

From the easy-to-make Miss Grimble's Chocolate Angel Pie, Canneles Bordelais, Marbled Rose & Raspberry Fool, Edna Lewis' Peach Cobbler...











to the very-rarely-seen-nowadays classics such as Escoffier's Mont Blanc and Carame's Nectarine Plombiere...

to completely over-the-top numbers like this Melon Surprise and Sauternes Bavarian Cream.

It's great to have on the coffee-table if coffee is all you have to serve when friends turn up unannounced.

7 comments:

Gervy said...

I will NOT turn up announced. I will definitely call ahead so you can serve the raspberry fool and peach cobbler promptly upon my arrival.

Have you made Bombe Alaska? It was apparently my mum's signature dessert in the 70s, but she'd grown out of it by the time I was old enough for dessert :(

On Track said...

yum yum yum!

the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things said...

Gervy - Raspberries and peaches are seasonal...

My experiences, only two, with the Bombe have been hilariously painful.

The first one was in my previous life as a film-production person on a shoot for a series of Ikea commercials. The director was Czech and insisted on using a Bombe Alaska as an end 'gag'- at a dinner party, the flame from the dessert was supposed to set the host's toupee on fire - when:
#1. not many people in Asia know what a Bombe is - to them, it will just look like a lump of something on fire...better off using one of those flaming cocktails...which are just as effective and easier to make for take after take...which leads us to #2
#2. our poor food stylist came with a few pre-made ones but the cast kept making mistakes so, of course, we had to do the take-after-take thing. No fun when we ran out and he had to whip egg whites and blow-torch the meringue with the whole crew waiting.
And the stubborn director won an international award for the ads. Hrmphhh!

The second time was at the beginning of my current life. I was assisting a pastry chef at a New Year's Eve dinner for about 100 and the Bombe Alaska was one of the three desserts offered on the menu. He wasn't expecting so many people to order that so again, there was loads of smearing of meringue, blow-torching and worrying about the wait staff not lighting them right when they got to the tables.

So, I think it'll be a while before I'll go near one. But if your mom decides to do a 70s' desserts revival, please count me in.

the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things said...

On Track - I'll send recipes if you'll share the end products.

Gervy said...

I knew I could count on you for some decent Bombe Alaska stories!

I actually don't even like meringue, I just like the drama of any dish involving fire. What a great idea for a cookbook - just dishes which need to be lit! It could be called "Pyro's Puddings", perhaps?

the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things said...

Sponsored by Pyrex?

Gervy said...

HA!