Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking American
The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery and Cafe
Ten Speed Press
Published: October 17, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
This cookbook offers recipes for dozens of classic treats like oatmeal cookies, carrot cake and pecan pie-but often with novel twists: pineapple and coconut swirl through the carrot cake, the pecan pie takes the form of a brownie
and the oatmeal cookies are fashioned into "crisps." Still, most of the recipes are pleasingly old-fashioned and sweet enough to send an unsuspecting baker into diabetic shock. The Grasshopper Pie calls for an entire cup of sugar, plus marshmallow crème
and hot fudge sauce, and the Bananas Foster Shortcakes deliver sugary banana flavor amped up to maximum volume. The author is the proprietress of The Rather Sweet Bakery and Café in Texas, and she offers several signature Lone Star state desserts: a rich
Fredericksburg Peach Cream Cheese Tart, crunchy Texas Pralines and Texas Big Hairs Lemon-Lime Meringue Tarts, with meringue piled as high as a Houston debutante's coif. The cookbook also offers a few non-dessert selections, mostly soups, salads,
quesadillas and the like. Though these dishes are tasty-it's hard to object to Prosciutto Tostadas with Shrimp and Parsley or a warm, pleasing Wild Mushroom Soup-it's the sugary-sweet and fun-to-bake Texas-style desserts that make this rather sweet, and
rather expensive, cookbook worth the splurge.
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Texas accent and all-American flavor, even pitching in to help her put a fresh
coat of paint on the porch of her Main Street shop. Rather takes the best of the Lone Star State-pecans, peaches, pralines, chiles, dulce de leche, German sausage-and turns out treats that taste like home, only better than anything homemade ever tasted
before. There are the Bacon-Cheddar Scones, the Texas High Hairs Tarts (the only big hair Rather has ever had!), Fourth-of-July's Fried Pies, Turbo-Charged Brownies with Praline Topping, pillowy Kolaches (yeasted buns with savory fillings), dulce de
leche, German sausage-and turns out treats that taste like home, only better than anything homemade ever tasted before. Self-taught, Rather's 150 utterly original recipes reflect her made-with-love-from-scratch philosophy and are guaranteed to get
everyone fixin' to bake.
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