Cookbook: Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

This was a random cookbook discovered first through The Kitchn blog. It sounded interesting enough to pick up at my local library and I have finally had a moment to look through it and give my impressions.

Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

* Discovered via The Kitchn

Medrich writes about food with a passion, as do many food writers and cookbook authors. There is a true joy to be felt in her words about techniques and ingredients which grace the first sections of the book. She discusses how to measure flour, cocoa powder and liquids. Then she moves no to discussions of how and where to find the very best ingredients — and these ingredients are the inspiration for most of the recipes in the book.

As a more amateur baker, some of her recipes use unfamiliar ingredients and can take more time than the typical recipe, but I think there is something to be gained by engaging with these ingredients and working at little harder at the food we make. I am a notoriously fussy eater, but there are many recipes here that sound intriguing enough to try at least once.

Featured recipes include:

  • Sour Cream Ice Cream
  • Buckwheat Strawberry Shortcakes
  • Nutella Bread Pudding
  • …and many more!

As always, it was the many cookie and cookie-like recipes that caught my eye the most. I marked a few of the recipes to keep for later use, including:

  • My Gingersnaps
  • Coffee-Walnut Cookies
  • Honey Snaps
  • Cocoa Wafers
  • and a cocoa fudge sauce that looks very decadent


When you are working with great ingredients, you want to keep it simple. You don’t want to blur flavor by overcomplicating. This is why Pure Dessert, from the beloved Alice Medrich, offers the simplest of recipes, using the fewest ingredients in the most interesting ways. There are no glazes, fillings, or frostings—just dessert at its purest, most elemental, and most flavorful.

Alice deftly takes us places we haven’t been, using, for example, whole grains, usually reserved for breads, to bring a lovely nutty quality to cookies and strawberry shortcake. Pound cake takes on a new identity with a touch of olive oil and sherry. Unexpected cheeses make divine soufflés. Chestnut flour and walnuts virtually transform meringue. Varietal honeys and raw sugars infuse ice creams and sherbets with delectable new flavor.”

Previously in Cookbooks:

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