...the appropriate closing sentence of GR's sweet book introduction!
'I'd like to think that I have included something for everyone here. At least, I encourage you to master a few easy classics -perhaps roasted fruits, crème anglaise, chocolate ganache for truffles and possibly the little treacle tarts I made for Prime Minister Blair and President Putin.....'
Measuring in at approximately 21.5 cm x 27 cm, this 224 high quality shiny-paged hardback book is split into 9 chapters:-
* ices and creams (pages 50 - 83)
* mousses, bavarois and soufflés (pages 86 - 103)
* crêpes and batters (pages 107 - 119)
* homely puddings (pages 125 - 143)
* special occasions (pages 146 - 167)
* accompaniments and chocolates (pages 170 - 189)
* basics (pages 192 - 211)
* reference (pages 213 - 219)
sandwiched between an introduction and a comprehensive index.
From the front flap:-
'In Just Desserts
, Britain's most exciting chef demystifies the notoriously tricky topic of desserts. Simplifying classical methods wherever possible, GR helps you to create a series of irresistible treats guaranteed to end any meal with a flourish. .......Just Desserts is set to become the definitive book on dessert making for years to come.'
A bold statement and it is very true to say that it has been done before...and since.....often..... but with this publication you do get that little 'je ne sais quoi' - by doing it the GR way!
It reads less like a technical manual and his chatter.....as always......encourages.
Between the durable covers are childhood memories revisited, special occasion food, the easy and the more ambitious, generally with that personal Ramsay tweak! Here we find the more well-known classics, such as 'Roasted Rhubarb and Apple Crumble' and 'Steamed Chocolate Pudding' mingling with the perhaps more unlikely sounding combinations of 'Tomato and Basil Sorbet' and 'Jasmine Tea and Lime Parfait'.
* Crème Pâtissière
* Homemade Honeycomb
some with the added enhancement of useful step-by-step photography.
The 'Reference Section' includes notes on ingredients and equipment, along with a useful glossary of culinary terms. Also included is an informative 'wines to accompany desserts' section, with GR backing the school of thought which argues that 'a little glass of a suitable sweet wine CAN actually enhance a dessert'.....(if not replace it completely.... on the very rare occasion a 'bottle of Chateau d'Yquem 67' might happen along!)
Each recipe is clearly laid out, with the title, an opening note, the number of servings, the list of ingredients, the staged method and often finishing with a footnote regarding suitable embellishments or accompaniments.
There is sometimes more than one recipe to a page.
A further vital ingredient in cooked dessert recipes is the temperature of the oven and GR does address this in his notes:-
'Ovens should be preheated to the specified temperatures. Individual ovens can deviate by as much as 10°C from the setting, either way. Get to know your oven and use an oven thermometer to check its accuracy. My timings are given as guidelines, with a description of colour or texture where appropriate.'
A book that is certainly aimed at all levels, in my opinion - the beginner, those looking to accomplish something a little different and the more advanced dessert cook looking for something that little more creative.
My only criticism is that as is typical of one of the earlier GR publications, it is a little light on photography of the finished dishes, which may prove slightly negative to those of us who like to see what we are aiming for on the plate!
However the ones that are pictured are simply inspiring!
Other recipes include:-
* Marinated Cherries
* Bananas in Caramel Rum Syrup
* Blood Orange Jelly
* Baby Roasted Pineapples
* Crème Chantilly
* Mascarpone and Vanilla Hearts
* Strawberry and Vanilla Semi-freddo
* White Peach Parfaits
* Strawberry Sorbet
* Lemon Grass Granita
* Mango and Dark Chocolate Mousse
* Apricot and Passion Fruit Bavarois
* Cherry and Almond Clafoutis
* Chocolate Sauce
* Deep-dish Autumn Fruit Pie
* Orange Pannacottas
* Lady's Fingers
* Brioche Loaf
and.....my current overall favourite......which is a new spin on old:-
* Dark and Delicious Chocolate Torte
'It seems every chef must have his or her ultimate orgiastic chocolate recipe with names like chocolate decadence, indulgence or nemesis. Well, this is mine. It is based on the little hot chocolate fondants we serve in winter and it occurred to me that if I dropped the flour and cocoa and baked it as a whole torte to be eaten cool it might just become a dinner party favourite..........'