December 12, 1994 12:00 PM

by Richard Sax

Now this is comfort food. Sax, a food columnist and former chef, spent 10 years gathering recipes from around 11 the world and out of the past (19th-century cookbooks and unpublished manuscripts) for his definitive collection of 350 desserts. The result: a loving tribute to the pleasures of plain-Jane cobblers, crisps, puddings, pies and cakes. These cozy sweets—with their rich mix of pure vanilla, real butter and fragrant spices—are the stuff of dreams and the beginnings of family ritual. (Chapters, $29.95)

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