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After years spent traveling and sampling sweets throughout her native Mexico, celebrated pastry chef Fany Gerson shares the secrets behind her beloved homeland’s signature desserts in this highly personal and authoritative cookbook. Skillfully weaving together the rich histories that inform the country’s diverse culinary traditions, My Sweet Mexico is a delicious journey into the soul of the cuisine.
From yeasted breads that scent the air with cinnamon, anise, sugar, fruit, and honey, to pushcarts that brighten plazas with paletas and ice creams made from watermelon, mango, and avocado, Mexican confections are like no other.
Stalwarts like Churros, Amaranth Alegrías, and Garibaldis—a type of buttery muffin with apricot jam and sprinkles—as well as Passion Fruit–Mezcal Trifle and Cheesecake with Tamarind Sauce demonstrate the layering of flavors unique to the world of dulces. In her typical warm and enthusiastic style, Gerson explains the significance of indigenous ingredients such as sweet maguey plants, mesquite, honeys, fruits, and cacao, and the happy results that occur when combined with Spanish troves of cinnamon, wheat, fresh cow’s milk, nuts, and sugar cane.
In chapters devoted to breads and pastries, candies and confections, frozen treats, beverages, and contemporary desserts, Fany places cherished recipes in context and stays true to the roots that shaped each treat, while ensuring they’ll yield successful results in your kitchen. With its blend of beloved standards from across Mexico and inventive, flavor-forward new twists, My Sweet Mexico is the only guide you need to explore the delightful universe of Mexican treats.
About the Author
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Fany Gerson has worked in many kitchens—from the three-Michelin star Akelare in San Sebastian, Spain, to Eleven Madison Park and Rosa Mexicano in New York, where she developed the celebrated modern Mexican desserts. Fany’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Gourmet, Fine Cooking, Daily Candy, NY Daily News, Time Out Magazine, and New York Magazine. She splits her time between her native Mexico and New York City.
“This book will appeal to anyone who's got even a kissin' cousin's-worth of Mexican heritage as well as adventurous cooks and cookbook readers everywhere.” —KitchenGadgetGals.com, 2010 Cookbook Favorites
“For lovers of Mexican cooking, this is an essential cookbook.” —Library Journal STARRED Review, December 2010
“a sweet surprise” —Everyday Food, Favorite New Cookbooks, December 2010
“When this book came across my desk I got really excited. This book really brings to life the sense that dessert plays such a role in celebrations, and the Mexican culture has so many festivals where sweets appear. With no dustjacket and matte-finish pages, it feels like a book ready to be smeared with butter and splattered with sugar.” —TheKitchn.com, Favorite Baking Books of 2010, 12/16/10
“Pastry chef Fany Gerson opens up a world of Mexican pastries, candies and desserts in her cookbook "My Sweet Mexico." Born and raised in Mexico, she traveled her native country for recipes and lore and combined them with her own take on sweets in a book that both inspires you to read chapter by chapter while curled up on the sofa and to get into the kitchen to start rolling dough for huachibolas, cream cheese morning rolls.” —L.A. Times, 12/9/10
“This holiday season, I plan to make some of these sweets, connect with this history, and do my bit to keep the culture alive.” —TheAtlantic.com Food Channel, 12/8/10
“Like many of you, perhaps, we haven’t given Mexican desserts a lot of thought. Sure there’s Flan and quite a few delicious ice creams to be had in Mexico, but there’s also a lot of brightly-colored pastries that are more decorative than delectable. But looking through the photographs in this truly stunning cookbook might win a few converts. . . I’m happy to have this book in my collection if only to dream of sweet treats…and future trips to one of my favorite places, Mexico.” —DavidLebovitz.com, Favorite Cookbooks of 2010, 12/6/10
"Never go hungry for churros again. Fany Gerson’s My Sweet Mexico has easy recipes for all your fave south-of-the-border treats (tres leches, flan), as well as more creative dishes (spicy mango popsicles, coconut caramel candy)." —DailyCandy, The Best New Fall Cookbooks, 11/12/10
“Gerson puts Mexican desserts on the map in this excellent mash-up of scholarly research and the pure joy of food. The breadth and depth of recipes here is stunning.” —Publishers Weekly, The Best Cookbooks of 2010: Winner of Best Alternative to Sipping a Margarita, 11/8/10
“A definitive compendium of the sweet dishes of our neighbor to the south—never before collected in an English-language book.” —Austin Chronicle, 10/29/10
"A deliciously well-researched journey through the sweet side of Mexico." —Fine Cooking, 10/22/10
“Dessert fiends will find the variety and exoticism of the recipes thrilling. And the many earthy and evocative photographs shot on location -- think Saveur magazine -- deserve a lot of the credit.” —Portland Oregonian, 9/28/10
“Even if you don't fix one of these recipes, the book is so filled with the tastes, traditions and fragrances of Mexico that the reading journey alone is worth it.” —Los Angeles Daily News, 9/21/10
“A seductive journey. . . This book will open up whole new worlds of delicious.” —The Christian Science Monitor, 9/16/10
"My Sweet Mexico is gorgeous and beautifully photographed. . . . Aside from the recipes that caught my attention, this is a lovely book. Mexican desserts and sweets aren’t as popular as their other courses, but this book has recipes for things like Chocolate Milk Fudge, Corn Ice Cream, Burnt Custard, and even Calabaza en Tacha, whole candied pumpkin, that might change your mind." —DavidLebovitz.com, 9/12/10
“A playful, beautifully photographed book on the history and diversity of Mexican sweet treats.” —Austin American-Statesman, 9/8/10
“Warning: Don’t read when hungry. Pastry Chef Fany Gerson creates a food-based travelogue of Mexico, incorporating memories, histories, and, of course, recipes of her native country.” —Westchester Magazine, September 2010
"Rare is the cookbook that successfully infuses scholarly research with the pure joy of food, but this collection, focusing on the sweets of Mexico, nails it. Gerson, a pastry chef (Eleven Madison Park; Rosa Mexicano) has dutifully catalogued the confections of her native Mexico--many of which are endangered species in the age of industrialized food. The introduction and individual chapter essays trace sweets to their ethnic origins, detailing how sugar production, holiday symbolism, and technology have impacted their evolution. Indeed, an entire chapter is devoted to the specific sweets--pumpkinseed candy, chestnut flan, and, ironically enough, wedding cookies--traditionally made in convents. American readers who have only encountered the occasional tres leches cake in a Mexican restaurant will be stunned by the breadth and depth of recipes here, ranging from coffee-flavored corn cookies to guava caramel pecan rolls and hibiscus ice pops, all culled from Gerson's family, friends, and generous strangers. Gerson showcases the rainbow of fruits (soursop, arrayan, zapote) and special equipment that are indigenous to the country, offering guides to working with fresh coconut, making spiced chocolate tablets, and wrapping marzapanes. Gerson's vivid descriptions, exacting instruction, and obvious passion for her subject matter make this volume a substantial read about the most tempting indulgences. Photos. (Oct.)" —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review, 6/21/10
“Mexico’s sweet kitchen is a wellspring of captivating tastes and seductive textures; it courses through Fany Gerson’s veins like caramely cajeta, like a rich flan, or a silky hot chocolate. As a Mexico City native, Fany is confident that there’s sweet satisfaction beyond apple pie and hot fudge sundaes, as she shares snapshots of kitchen culture and history along with a remarkable compendium of recipes. Melt-in-your-mouth polvorón cookies from eighteenth-century convents; pumpkin seed brittles, fresh coconut patties, and sweet tamales from the street vendors; tres leches cake and the crazy fused flan-and-chocolate cake from Mexico’s modern kitchens—those are just a few of my favorites. This is a treasured volume I’ll own two copies of: one for home, another for our restaurant’s kitchens.” —RICK BAYLESS, best-selling cookbook author, chef-owner of Chicago’s Frontera Grill, and host of public television’s Mexico: One Plate at a Time
“My Sweet Mexico is fascinating and charming—it is much more than a collection of great recipes. Fany takes readers on a voyage through our country’s marvels and realities, capturing all of its fabulous grandeur with her clever scene of humor. I actually got teary-eyed as Fany’s words carried me on a sweet trip back to my childhood, full of heartwarming memories. I love this amazing cookbook; it is an enormous addition to the archives of Mexican cooking!” —ROBERTO SANTIBAÑEZ, author of Rosa’s New Mexican Table
“Fany’s irresistible take on Mexican sweets is as smart and instructive as it is inspiring. Recipe after recipe—from traditional Buñelos to an updated Chocolate Rum Tres Leches Cake—I’m reminded why she’s one of the most gifted pastry chefs around.” —SCOTT JONES, executive food editor, Southern Living