Kristina’s Bookshelf

Lamingtons & Lemon Tart:
Best-Ever Cakes, Desserts &
Treats from a Modern Sweets Maestro

By Darren Purchese
(Hardie Grant Books, 2017)

A lamington is an Australian sponge cake that’s draped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. Australian pastry chef Darren Purchese, who makes a particularly good lamington, is known throughout his native Australia for his elaborate, technically challenging sweets and what he describes as “a scientific approach to food and ingredients.” Purchese describes his new cookbook, Lamingtons & Lemon Tart, as one that “everyone can use,” with no super fancy ingredients and minimal special equipment necessary.

In a book filled with instructional color photographs and detailed text, Purchese takes classic desserts and puts his unique spin on them. His fruit-rich recipes work well for bakers in regions like ours, where abundantly available local ingredients can go into delicious combinations like hazelnut and chocolate; raspberry and rose; or almond, nectarine, and fig. Recipes are divided across eight chapters focusing on cakes, choux pastry, desserts, snacks, tarts, breakfast, confectionery, and frozen desserts. 

More than 250 pages of original recipes include tempting classic combinations like Jamaican Ginger Cake with Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream (Purchese loves everything caramelized); Banana, Chocolate, and Mango Bread served with chocolate ice cream; and Peanut Butter and Jam Chocolate Ice Cream Profiteroles. One he describes as his greatest creation combines popcorn and honey comb coated with milk chocolate and broken up into chunks. Readers will also find original creations like Lemon Meringue Pie Eclair, Frozen Honey Nut Parfait, and many variations on lamingtons, which he calls “Glamingtons.”

Because baked sweets can be a delightful way to start the day, Purchese includes a section titled “Breakfasts, Biscuits and Sweet Treats,” with offerings like Date, Orange, and Chocolate Buttermilk Scones and a decadent Brioche French Toast with Cinnamon Ice Cream. A section titled “Sweet Essentials” explains the basic techniques underlying the different types of desserts. Overall, readers will find a great variety of beautiful and delicious sweets.

Meet Chef Darren Purchese at Omnivore Books on Food later this month:
Wednesday June 14, 6:30–7:30pm
Omnivore Books on Food
3885a Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco
Info: here

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations
with our readers.