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    Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef

    my own chocolate beetroot cupcake featuring 'Candied Beets' (Beetroot) from Dessert Fourplay

    Off the shelf

    baking book reviews

    Sexy & charismatic pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini doesn't disappoint in his first (and long overdue) cookbook 'Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef' 288 pages 

    Divided into six sections; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Chocolate (if Chocolate isn't a "Season" it should be!) & Building Blocks, the book is chock full of plated desserts each comprising of four elements. The desserts are beautifully photographed in this glossy paged hardback, instructions are clear and precise with cup & metric weight measurements. 

    Well, I'm a bit of a Johnny Iuzzini fan so I'm loving this book, if you're an adventurous home cook you will enjoy playing around with 'Chocolate-Beet Cake with candied beets and raspberry beet sauce' or 'Apple Soup with sweet potato gnocchi and apple tempura'. Some flavours challenge your taste-buds like 'Corn Panna Cotta' or chocolate and olives, other flavours are retro like choc malt to chocolate mousse with a few childhood breakfast cereals & lollies recalled in-between. The book includes a few molecular gastronomy recipes that you will need chemicals for... though most don't and that leads to me to what I think is an odd element of the book. 

    The attempt to widen the target audience for the book with sidebars of alternative suggestions doesn't really work, i.e. the 'Make it Simpler' sidebar that accompanies the 'Chocolate-Beet Cake with candied beets and raspberry beet sauce' reads as follows 'You could skip the candied beets if need be. As an act of desperation, your could substitute store bought chocolate cake for the cake here'. If your not making the 'cake' part of the 'cake' that's probably going a bit far with the 'make it simpler' ;)

    page 31 Chocolate-Beet Cake with candied beets and raspberry beet sauce

    However, all the elements of the Fourplay desserts do work separately, we loved the 'Concord Grape Sorbet' served on a hot day, the 'White Chocolate Ice-Cream' is luscious and could be served with so many fruits and desserts. Many cakes and tart recipes are included plus my favourite 'Building Blocks' section is fabulous with brioche to crispy tangerine sticks. 

    All in all a fun and fabulous book for those who like to "play" in the kitchen & I'm loving the crystallised vanilla pod shreds too!


    My cupcake for today features one element from the book the 'Candied Beets' page 29


    2 bunches of baby beets (beetroot)

    2 cups of simple syrup



    Peel the beets and slice them with a mandoline slicer or slice thinly. 

    Bring the syrup to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer the beets gently until they're transparent, about 1 hour. Keep the heat low so they don't curl up as you cook them. Let them cool completely in the syrup.

    Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Drain the beets gently, so they don't break and dredge with sugar.

    Arrange on a baking tray and leave in a cold oven overnight to dry. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. 

    Simple Syrup page 184

    2 cups (400g) of sugar

    2 cups (480g) of water

    Combine the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, cooking until sugar is completely dissolved. 

    Transfer to a heatproof jar, and let cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator.  

      Available from all discerning booksellers... Amazon of course!

    'Dessert FourPlay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef 

    You might also be interested in an Australian pretty in pink odyssey...


                   Musk Sticks

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    Reader Comments (3)

    Wow. this looks amazing Jeniffer. I would love to try this, I guess in order to fulfill that wish I'll have to make these/or can I drop by for an afternoon tea?/, I love beetroot salad.This sounds like a pretty healthy snack too.yummy.

    April 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHaniela

    Thanks Haniela :) Australian's love beetroot!! Pickled slices in tins are iconic. Beetroot dip is yum with turkish bread, I love roasted marinated beetroots & beetroot salads too! Oh, and beetroot and goats cheese... lol, I do like beetroot!! Easy to grow in all the colours and varieties too :)

    April 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterThe Lone Baker

    Hi Jeniffer. I stumbled upon your post here in search for Beet-Cake. I dont realy like Beetroot, but with chokolade and in cake its realy edible :D Thank you so much for your review on "Dessert Fourplay". I orderd it yesterday and its lying beside me now. Love it! Can't wait to turn my kitchen in a sweet chaotik mess. Take care.

    March 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

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