Seasonal Desserts That Surprise

“Wild Sweetness,” a book from the writer Thalia Ho, is an elegant recipe collection for the changing seasons.

By Florence Fabricant

The chapters in “Wild Sweetness,” a dessert cookbook by Thalia Ho, an award-winning food blogger who lives in Australia, unfold according to seasons, but without your typical peach pie in summer or pumpkin for fall. It’s a subtler, more elegant and personal collection, threaded throughout with chocolate. Several fancy confections are included, but most of the cakes tend to be tidy loaves or single layers, perhaps with some crumble or glaze on top and begging for a glass of sweet wine. There are several brownies and blondies, some uncommonly scented with figs and bay leaves; a brownie made with cocoa is a simple delight. Most cookies are easy, made by scooping batter onto baking sheets, and include chocolate chunk with some buckwheat flour for an earthy counterpoint. The author’s photographs are lovely. The recipes I tried all needed a bit more baking time than called for (my ovens are precise, recently calibrated), so the cook should pay more attention to Ms. Ho’s guidelines for testing doneness than to the clock.

“Wild Sweetness: Recipes Inspired by Nature” by Thalia Ho (Harper Design, $29.99).

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