Bake the Book: A Lighter Way to Bake

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[Photograph: Myles New]

Lorraine Pascale, host of the BBC television show "Baking Made Easy", has released a cookbook of beloved recipes, made just a little lighter. A Lighter Way to Bake is the answer to her fans and readers' urging for slimmed-down versions of their favorites. These are not diet recipes; this is not a diet book. Rather, it is a way to make all manner of savory and sweet treats at home, with a little less guilt.

What sets A Lighter Way to Bake apart from the scores of cookbooks that cater to the "eating light" crowd is that the recipes are made with real ingredients. There are no fake sweeteners, nor are substitutions made for eggs or dairy products. Of course, we'll be focusing on dessert, but there are plenty of worthy savory recipes to consider, like a baked mac and cheese.

For the most part, the path to lightness is achieved by using fresh fruit in place of dried, and choosing lower-fat dairy versus full-fat. Put a few of those tricks together, and you have cupcakes in phyllo cups, fresh raspberry napoleons, and yogurt-infused pound cake. Like any good baker, Lorraine knows when not to compromise, and breaks out the puff pastry and butter when nothing else will do.

The tone of the book is as light as the food, with a congenial friendliness that extends to the steps of her recipes. It's clear that real effort was put in to make desserts that taste like dessert, not a shadow of their former selves. And Lorraine is happy to quip about the process, which results in a volume that feels more like a companion than a cookbook.

As we perused the book, we learned the easiest way to "lighten" a dessert, no matter how fatty it already may be, is to add a twist of citrus. Lemon & Vanilla Creme Brulee with Fresh Mango Topping does just that, adding lemon zest and a sprinkle of cornmeal to a creamy vanilla filling. Worry not, because the beloved sugar crust that makes crème brûlée so special has not been left out. Chewy Coconut Macaroons with a Cheeky Touch of Lime cut the cloying sweetness of traditional macaroons with a little lime, making them lovely finger food for a spring or summer party.

Sometimes, you don't necessarily want treats to taste less sinful. That's why we've chosen to feature White Chocolate & Pistachio Sponge Blondies, which, despite their airy texture, possess plenty of flavor. There's also Cardamom & Ginger Shortbread, which use the warmth of ginger and cardamom's spicy bite to make a simply delightful cookie.

For those who are interested in a lighter way to bake, give these recipes a try.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at HarperCollins, we are giving away five (5) copies of A Lighter Way to Bake this week. All you have to do is tell us which dessert you'd make "light".

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