Dessert Divas by Christine Manfield »

Christine proudly presents 45 show stopping desserts from her Universal menus

By Laura McKinnon
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Christine Manfield

Christine Manfield

Dessert Divas by Christine Manfield


Australian chef Christine Manfield has put together forty five dessert recipes designed to impress, including the recipe Gaytime Goes Nuts used in the finals for Masterchef 2012. The premise of the cookbook is that a great dinner is rounded off with a sweet finale that should 'tease and create a lingering desire'.

Dessert Divas is separated into a number of sections to help navigate its selection of recipes:

  • summer desserts
  • autumn desserts
  • winter desserts
  • spring desserts
  • cheese desserts and (of course)
  • chocolate desserts.

Also provided is a section entitled 'techniques and equipment'.

However once you start exploring you soon realise that, like Darren Purchese and Adriano Zumbo's recipes (see reviews below), each one entails a number of smaller recipes that you will need to master to create the overall concoction – this adds to the complexity of many of the desserts, but increases the satisfaction when you master them.

For example one of the signature recipes is 'I Go to Rio'. To create this dessert you will need to make and put together Vanilla Rum Mousse, Passionfruit Banana Sorbet, cardamom shortbread, young coconut jelly, caramelised pineapple, fennel caramel, clear glass wafers, quinoa wafers, coconut sand, fennel candy and coconut clouds. Don’t be overwhelmed though as assembly instructions are provided.

To be honest given the number of different recipes that go into one production, I found it hard not to eat things as I went along – this adds to the complex nature of assembling the desserts. Self-discipline is needed if you want quantities to be appropriate by the assembly stage! In the dessert Madame Pompadour I found it very difficult to resist eating the macarons; next time this step will be left to last.

Each dessert looks amazing and if you can replicate the results you will be the envy of all who partake in the consumption of your creation.

However be warned that this book is for the more technically minded, for those who understand the necessity of order and who realise that one mistake or missed step could have significant consequences.

It is also a recipe book that calls for ingredients sometimes not commonly found on supermarket shelves. Having said that what is life without risk?

Overall Dessert Divas looks fantastic and is perfectly suited to an aspiring dessert chef, someone who likes a challenge or as a showpiece. With its relatively significant purchase price it is best to give it a good look over before parting with your dollars, but for dessert fiends and professionals, it's a must.

Dessert Divas by Christine Manfield is published in Australia by Lantern Press, an imprint of Penguin (Sydney, 2014; hc, 334pp) and retails in Australia for $79.99

Dessert Divas is available to
purchase online from Booko here »


  • Sydney (NSW)

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November 20th, 2014
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