Sensuous Hungarian-American Desserts, Eva Bonis
64 pages; color photography
OpenAir Publishing, Boston, 2000
Reviewed by Colleen A. Braumoeller for Good Cooking
November, 2000

The words "low-fat" and "Hungarian" don't often appear next to one another in a sentence. ("We're Hungarian," my brother once said. "Our blood cries out for grease.") So Eva Bonis took on a formidable task when she set out to write Sensuous Hungarian-American Desserts: 52 Tempting Recipes Each Less than 300 Calories per Serving. Perhaps it's the Hungarian in me, or perhaps it's the fact that I like my desserts not just sensuous but sinful, but either way I would have to conclude that the effort was only a partial success.

Two examples will illustrate. First, the chestnut puree: cooked chestnuts, rum, vanilla, and powdered sugar, dotted with a meringue/whipped cream mixture. The puree brought out the full range of a chestnut's flavor, something that most Americans won't have experienced, and the rum complemented it nicely. Still, American tongues might well long for a bit more sugar to take some of the edge off, and Hungarians will probably miss the gobs of whipped cream that traditionally accompany it. Next, I tried the prune turnovers. The prune puree at the center is straightforward and quite tasty, though the half-moon pastry surrounding it was dense and wheaty. If you want to get a sense of what Hungarian desserts are like but can't afford the fat or calories, this book will be a unique resource -- but if your blood cries out for grease, you'll probably find yourself sneaking extra butter into the dough in short order.

Recipe Notes: This is a no-bake, easy-to-prepare recipe which will satisfy every orange-lover s dreams. Use your favorite kind of nut. All work well. For a more dramatic presentation, cut the tops and bottoms off 2 additional oranges and arrange these on top of the stuffed orange halves. Another option is to cut the top off of the 2 oranges, scoop the flesh out, stuff the shell, and replace the top. Stuffed oranges were first served to me by my friend, Olga, when I visited her in Budapest. I still remember the sweetness of that first stuffed orange, and you will, too.

Good Cooking likes this recipe from the book. Sometimes desserts can be too rich and filling, this one will surprise you with its delicious taste and refreshing lightness. It's great with a cup or two of rich coffee!

Stuffed Oranges Serves 4

2 large oranges
1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons apricot fruIt'spread
1/4 teaspoon rum, 80 proof
4 teaspoons powdered egg whites

1. Cut the oranges into halves. Being careful not to break the rind, scoop out the pulp and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Save the juice in a small bowl.

2. Mix the orange pulp with the crushed graham crackers, toasted almonds, orange zest, apricot fruIt'spread, and rum.

3. Warm up 1/4 cup of the reserved orange juice. Pour it back into a small bowl and add the powdered egg whites. Mix with an electric beater until the powdered egg whites are dissolved. Increase the speed and beat until peaks form. Fold the orange beaten egg white into orange pulp mixture.

4. Fill the orange halves. Decorate with fresh mint.

Nutritional Information
260 Calories, 10 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 33% Calories from Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 291 mg Sodium, 87 Calories from Fat, 41 g Carbohydrate, 5 g Dietary Fiber, 7 g Protein