Cookbook Review: The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich

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Okay, time for you to take immediate action. Either get your car keys or grab that keyboard, because the latest Ken Haedrich cookbook has just been published. The Harvest Baker is the latest in the line of absolutely perfect cookbooks written by Ken. You may have Pie or Apple Pie or Comfort Food or the Maple Syrup Cookbook already in your kitchen. You’ll want to add this one.

There’s more variety here than you’ve seen in Ken’s books before. Over 150 recipes include both sweet and savory delights. There are four parts to the book, each with its own set of chapters.

Part 1, For the Love of Bread, begins with a chapter on morning breads, then expands to sweet and savory quick breads and concludes with yeast breads and rolls and buns. If you want bread, sweet or savory at some point in the day, then here are some of the ideas destined to create a smile:

Whole Wheat Blueberry Beet Muffins
Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits
Roasted Carrot Tea Loaf
Apple Applesauce Oatmeal Bread
Roasted Bell Pepper Buttermilk Cornbread
Mushroom, Spinach and Blue-Cheese Stuffed Baguette

Remember, that was just Part One. Part 2, Crusty Entrées, continues the extravaganza with first a chapter for pizzas, flatbreads, calzones and other stuffed breads. Then comes the chapter for savory harvest pies, like quiches and pot pies. Ideas here include:

White Bean, Spinach and Bacon Pizza
Tomato Jam Pizza with Caramelized Onions
Cabbage and Sausage Stuffed Buns
Creamy Buffalo Chicken, Tomato, and Corn Pie
Green Pea and Parmesan Cheese Tartlets
Crème Fraiche Corn Quiche

In Part 3, The Baker’s Sweet Tooth, we finally depart from those darn vegetables and get to the sweet heart of Ken’s recipes. I’m not opposed to a pot pie, not me, but the chapters here float dreams of cookies and bars, cakes both pound and coffee, and, but of course, pies. Pies. Ken is, after all, the founder of The Pie Academy. What awaits you? Oh, just darlings like:

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Sweet Herb Mascarpone
Ricotta Pound Cake with Pears, Walnuts and Sage
Peach Pecan Shortcake
Honey Parsnip Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Sweet Carrot Pie
Peach Apricot Crumb Crostata

To top the book off, there is Part 4, called surprisingly Top It Off, with recipes for sauces, glazes, streusel and more. You might be exhausted by the time you get here, but there are recipes for:

Food Processor Tomato Jam
Brown Sugar Streusel
Home Made Crème Fraiche

Ordinarily, I go through a new cookbook and scan in the recipes I want to try. I might find a book to have 10 or up to 20 ideas that intrigue me, things that hopefully someday I can make. I didn’t even try to decide with this book. My wife and I are beginning in Part 1, Chapter 1, and marching through this book. We’ll make everything. Every single one of the 150? Okay, maybe just a 100 or 105. But surely most of them.

And so will you. This is Ken’s most extravagant and delightful book ever. And, there’s a side benefit. Ken is an author you can trust. Just follow his recipe and you’ll be totally successful. Suzi and I have made dozens of his recipes. Every single one has turned out perfectly. These recipes have been tested and masterfully put into this book of baking treasures.

Your keys or your keyboard. But today. Today.

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