More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally, is a dairy-free and egg-free dessert cookbook written by Fran Costigan. Fran is the author of several books and also teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.
The book sports a recipe layout that is straightforward and easy to follow, with simple black text that makes it easy on the eyes, and a selection of glossy colour photography. It is 224 pages long and is divided into the following sections: Getting Started; Gels, Cremes, Puddings, and Sauces; Cookies, Bars, and Little Bites; Cobblers, Crisps, Biscuits, Muffins, and More; Cakes, Fillings, Frostings, and Glazes; Pies and Tarts; Fruit, Beverages, Frozen Desserts, and Confections; Bibliography and Reading List; Resources for Ingredients and Equipment; Organizations and Publications; and Common Weights and Measures.
For the purpose of writing this review, I chose to bake up the Big Orange Bundt Cake (just like my mum used to make – beautiful crumb, super moist, and buttery without the butter), the Super Fudge Low Fat Brownies (super fudgey, moist and chewy, beyond decadent – the best brownies I’ve made so far), and the Pumpkin Pie (perfect - so much so, it did not survive long enough to be documented on film). In fact, I am quite familiar with this wonderful book, having previously made the Good Cornbread (I love that it’s more savoury than sweet – and the optional slathering of organic maple syrup on top makes for a beautifully balanced contrast of sweet and savoury), the Chocolate Chip Cookies (wonderfully thin, sweet and chewy), the Coconut Cloud Layer Cake (a beautiful, fancy cake – no wonder Fran makes these as wedding cakes for lucky friends), and accompanying Island Coconut Cream Filling and Frosting (so good, you can eat it with a spoon – and I did). I have never been disappointed baking from this book. Fran is truly a master – not only do her sweet inventions taste amazing and brag fabulous texture and appearance, they’re also filled with the best ingredients: Fran eschews the highly processed stuff and champions quality, organic, and natural ingredients. I appreciate that.
So we’ve established that these treats taste incredibly good and bake up reliably. But you get a lot more than just an impressive spread of fine desserts – you’re also benefiting from Fran’s years of baking expertise. This book boasts page after page of information, including tips and technique tailored to each section of the book, as well as detailed descriptions of ingredients and thorough explanations on how to use them properly. Did you know you can remove the beany-ness of firm tofu by blanching it in boiling water before using? Fran taught me that. Did you know that you can easily get a stubbornly stuck bundt cake to smoothly descend by draping a hot, wet tea towel over the tin? Fran taught me that too. Fran’s explanations on how to work with less common ingredients like agar agar and kudzu is priceless. I find myself coming back to this book time and again for reference on how to work with often tricky ingredients – it’s that useful.
To sum up – this book is worth its weight in vegan baking gold. You get an impressive spread of recipes that are not just scrumptious, but reliably sound. You get an education in baking and expert advice on how to work with alternative ingredients. You get a valuable reference book in the kitchen. And you get all this without eggs and dairy. Great taste, know-how, impeccable quality, and cruelty-free – sounds like a big win to me.
I like this book so much in fact that I think you should have a copy. Try your luck at winning one from Book Publishing Company (see details below). If you don’t win one there, come back here for a chance to win your own copy of Fran’s great book – I’ll be giving a copy away in November to celebrate Vegan MoFo 2010! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for further details on this and other favourite cookbook giveaways.
Book Publishing Company is currently running an online promotion called “Luscious Vegan Desserts” from now until the end of October. Clicking on their logo will take you to the Luscious Vegan Dessert Page, where you can click to register for a chance at winning one of the following vegan dessert cookbooks – very cool:
- Raw For Dessert, by Jennifer Cornbleet
- Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik
- More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, by Fran Costigan
- Simple Treats, by Ellen Abraham
- Lick It! by Cathe Olson
- Living in the Raw Desserts, by Rose Lee Calabro
Did you know that Book Publishing Co. is a member of Green Press Initiative? They also have loads of awesome books on vegan cookery, baking, and more, that promote a healthful and sustainable lifestyle. I like them.