Review: Savory Baking

Savory BakingSavory Baking
by Mary Cech

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Savory Baking / 978-0-8118-5906-6

"Savory Baking" is the perfect example of how to put together a high quality specialty cookbook. The beautiful cover picture is just one of 20 full page, glossy color photos accompanying the 70+ recipes inside. (This is still a ratio of less than 1:3 pictures to recipes, which I normally find frustrating, but I forgave easily this time.)

I love baked goods, but I've been trying to cut back on sugar, and this book could not have come at a more opportune time. The author notes that she has developed these savory recipes as a baking incentive to people who don't have sweet teeth, but I'm surprised that this isn't also marked as a diabetic friendly cookbook - although some of the recipes do still use a teaspoon full of sugar, the author notes that the sugar is purely optional and can be omitted without any major loss of flavor.

I really love this book for the clean, crisp layout; the useful and intuitive ingredient lists and instructions; and the innovative and exotic recipe ideas. I'm not usually one to enjoy strange recipes, but these are only "exotic" in that it just never occurred to me to use these flavor combinations before. Recipes included in the book are:

Quick Breads
- Peppered Pear and Goat Cheese Scones
- Scones stuffed with Caramelized Red Onions and Brie
- Sour Cream and Dill Muffins
- Sharp Cheddar and Cherry Muffins
- Ham-studded Drop Biscuits with Poached Eggs and Classic Hollandaise
- Potato and Scallion Butter Biscuits
- White Cheddar Zucchini Pancakes
- Buckwheat Blinis with Warm Bing Cherries and Crème Fraiche
- Hazelnut Waffles
- Pumpkin Hazelnut Spice Loaf
- Buttermilk Tarragon Loaf
- Smoked Salmon Crepe Torte
- Chili-Cheese Gratin Sandwiches

Flaky Pastries
- Baked Pomodoro Dumplings on an Olive Salad
- Caesar Tartlets with Sweet Garlic Butter Crusts
- Chili Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Pepper Tartlets in Poppy Seed Shells (cover photo)
- Cambozola Pear Cream Tart
- Onion and Sherry Cream Turnovers
- Sweet Potato, Golden Raisin, and Cranberry Strudel
- Seafood Strudel
- Fingerling Potato and Crispy Bacon Pizza
- Roasted Red Pepper Crème Fraiche Quiche
- Chevre Quiche with Red and Green Grapes
- Spinach and Feta Double Crust Pie
- Deep Dish Curried Vegetable Potpies with Dried Fruits
- Grilled Vegetable Galette

- Spicy Tomato Crumble
- Creamy Sweet Corn and Prosciutto Crisp
- Mustard-Rubbed Mini Lamb Sandwiches on Mint Shortcakes
- Onion, Fennel, and Orange Upside-Down Shortcake
- Canadian Bacon Bread Pudding
- Chicken Dijon Brown Betty
- Yukon Gold Brown Betty
- Confetti Corn Bread Crusted Creole Shrimp
- Stilton Cheesecake on a Candied Walnut Crust
- New York Style Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheesecake
- Portobello Mushroom, Rosemary, and Shallot Cream Clafouti

Pastries with Puff
- Orange-Nutmeg Popovers
- Potato Cheese Fritters
- Coconut Shrimp Fritters with Tropical Fruit Relish
- Caprese Salad Filled Profiteroles
- Toasted Caraway and Gruyere Puffs
- Smoked Bacon Beignets
- Sesame Éclairs with Honey Soy Asparagus
- Cauliflower and Pancetta Puffed Crepes
- Shiitake Mushroom and Garlic Soufflés
- Winter Squash, Brown Butter, and Sage Soufflés
- Tomato Basil Soufflé

- Thyme, Lemon, and Sea-Salt Shortbread
- Crispy Potato Haystacks
- Pecan Thumbprints
- Tarragon-Tomato Stripes
- Rosemary Fruit Biscotti
- Sour Cream Fig Spirals
- Italian Scented Madeleines
- Five-Spice Black-and-White Sesame Wafers
- Black-Rimmed Pistachio Wafers
- Apricot-Flecked Goat Cheese Straws
- Walnut Rugalach

The Side Show
- Apple, Pear, and Ginger Chutney
- Fig and Rosemary Spread
- Tapenade Cream
- Tropical Fruit Relish
- Ricotta Filling and Dip
- Warm Bing Cherries
- Crème Fraiche
- Apricot-Mint Relish
- Smoky Tomato Sauce
- Chili-Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers
- Arugula Salad with Feta-Corn Vinaigrette
- Caprese Salad

Although this isn't really a "baking for dummies" book, I really appreciate how accessible all the sections and instructions are. The author has put a lot of work into explaining how to bake successfully, and uses a light touch with her writing that makes the effort of diving into these recipes seem like a fun adventure, not a frightening chore. I also really appreciate the Glossary at the back, for those of us who honestly didn't know what "rugalach" was - nor how to pronounce it.

NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine.

~ Ana Mardoll

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