cover image Instant Gratification: No-Hassle Desserts in Just about No Time

Instant Gratification: No-Hassle Desserts in Just about No Time

Lauren Chattman. William Morrow Cookbooks, $24 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16910-7

Already author of two collections of high-quality ""quick"" recipes, Cool Kitchen and Just Add Water, here Chattman succeeds in proving that ""there are many ways to make a great dessert in 15 minutes or less."" Shunning typical convenience foods, she relies on fresh ingredients--from spices (in Vanilla Bean Cheesecake) to homemade puff pastry. Happy to pull out the waffle iron, electric mixer or food processor, she hardly uses the microwave at all. Her time-saving methods are clever and practical: Crumb crusts substitute for rolled pastry in Maple Pecan Tart and Peanut Butter Pie; baked, sugared wonton squares become ""Shortcakes"" with plums and cream, and eggroll wrappers turn into Orange Marmalade ""Crepes"" with Warm Strawberries and Sour Cream. To save time, homey cakes like Warm Gingerbread Squares are unfrosted, and simple but flavorful drop cookies (Chocolate Meringue Kisses and Homemade Vanilla Wafers) displace those that need to be rolled and cut. Chattman keeps the number of ingredients short and sweet--just three for her Easiest, Best Chocolate Mousse Cake, four in billowing Apricot Souffl s. Directions are precise and each step is timed to the minute; her desserts really do take only 15 minutes to make--though baking and cooling times can add up to three hours. (June)