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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegan Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book or books that contribute to vegan enlightenment.

This month we review a gluten-free dessert and pie cookbook.

The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts

By Laurie Sadowski

Book Publishing Company, 2014
Paperback $14.95

There's no doubt Laurie Sadowski has a beguiling sweet tooth, loves to bake, and writes cookbooks. Thankfully, she shares her recipes in The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts, her third cookbook of baked goodies.

In 2005 Laurie learned she had celiac disease, an inability to digest products containing gluten, which is a component of wheat, barley, and rye. The disease left her weak, dehydrated, and excessively thin. The remedy for the disease is to avoid products made from wheat, barley, and rye. She also discovered dairy products were not her friend either and found that by eliminating both dairy and gluten-containing foods, she was healing.

Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts Because she found plant-based foods easier to digest, she adopted a vegan lifestyle. The trio of dietary changes became the inspiration for her books: Mission in the Kitchen, followed by The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread and The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies.

Her most recent volume, featuring pies and desserts, offers sound advice for people with gluten sensitivity and food allergies and provides a full glossary of gluten-free ingredients, tips, and substitutions. The section explaining specific ingredients is quite extensive because many are essential flavor enhancers she features in the recipes, like chocolate and cocoa.

Indispensable kitchen tools includes less familiar items like a bench scraper, pie weights, and tart tamper, as well as standard items like pie pans and parchment.

Introducing the Pies and Cheesecakes chapter is a heartwarming quote from Charles M. Schultz, the creator of the comic strip Peanuts who says, "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." Featured are chocolate-rich recipes like Cherry Pie with Cacao Nib Pastry Crust, Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Pie, and Pumpkin Cream Cheesecake that use unique combinations of gluten-free flours.

Tarts of all Sizes highlights desserts that "may look elegant, but making them requires no fancy skills. Most of my tart recipes call for easy-to-prepare fillings and press-into-the-pan crusts," says Laurie who has raised the bar on tarts and even turned peanut butter and jam into an irresistible tart. This section features several tasty goodies like Shortbread Lemon Tarts with White Chocolate Drizzle, Nectarine and Red Currant Galette, and a festive Holiday Fruit and Nut Tart just right for celebrations.

There are Cobblers, Crisps, and Other Fruit-Filled Desserts for every season and every taste preference. Chocolate fanciers will gravitate to the Double Chocolate-Raspberry Cobbler, while Maple-Apple-Pecan Crisp along with a host of fruity desserts will attract the fruit lovers.

Laurie Sadowski This innovative author left no dessert possibility forgotten and includes Puddings, Pudding Cakes, and Layered Desserts, a section that features custards, a variety of pudding cakes, trifles, and cookies baked in individual ramekins that can be refrigerated and baked on demand for ultra-convenience.

The final recipe section covers Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts including old favorites like ice cream sandwiches, Mud Pie, Frozen Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and Hot Fudge Sundaes in Sugar Cone Bowls.

While there are no color photos, the book is graphically appealing with numerous black and white photos of desserts, pastry shop storefronts, and smiling faces ogling desserts. The graphic designer cleverly put the black and white theme to work introducing each recipe uniquely, with each chapter displaying an attractive old-fashioned photograph.

The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts is another winner for author Laurie Sadowski who knows how to guide beginners and experienced cooks into successful baking in grand gluten-free style. The book would make a treasured gift for people with gluten sensitivity and a fun baking adventure for anyone who just loves to make desserts.

Click here for past book reviews

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