Pastry Chef Brian Levy spent years making pastries and desserts the traditional way, with lots of refined sugar and white flour, at distinguished restaurants, inns, and private homes in the United States and Europe. But he discovered another world of desserts—one that few bakers have explored—where there’s no need for cane sugar or coconut sugar, for maple syrup or honey, or even for stevia. When Levy succeeded in making a perfect mango custard, harnessing only the natural sweetness of fruit with no added sugar, it was a breakthrough that inspired years of experimentation converting other desserts into nutritious indulgences. In his new book, Good & Sweet: A New Way to Bake with Naturally Sweet Ingredients (Avery Books, 2022), Levy stretches this experiment across 100 recipes that ingeniously deploy fruit (dried, juiced, and fresh), nuts, grains, dairy, and fermented products to create sweet treats whose flavor is enriched by whole-food, feel-good ingredients. Recipes offer substitutions for dietary restrictions and include a flavorful sweetener that transcends cane sugar, from freeze-dried sweet corn to coconut cream and apple cider. Recipes we can’t wait to try include: Rosemary-Lemon Shortbread; Sticky Toffee Pudding; Pistachio-Studded Peach Galette; and Fig Crumble. Sweets like these—ones that nudge you toward mindful preparation and eating but don’t compromise flavor—will make you feel good about dessert again.
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