“Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding & Sweet Dough Pie” by Dixie Poché, American Palate, a division of The History Press, $21.99, 160 pages, paperback

You’ve got to love Lafayette author Dixie Poché’s suggestion, “Eat dessert first,” in the introduction of her new book “Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding & Sweet Dough Pie.”

Like with her earlier book, “Classic Eateries of Cajun Country,” Poché offers a history of Louisiana culinary favorites by sharing the stories of Louisiana landmarks like Lea’s Pies in Lecompte, Café du Monde and Leah’s Pralines in New Orleans, Frostop in Baton Rouge, and Poupart’s Bakery in Lafayette. Some, but not all, of the stories are accompanied by a recipe.

In an interview, Poché, a travel and corporate writer, told me she collected most of the book’s recipes directly from 60 restaurants, bakeries and individuals associated with festivals.

She also includes three recipes of her own: her variation of Sally Lunn Bread, Gateau de Sirop with Chocolate, and Stuffed Dates.

“This book covers histories of such sweets as pain perdu, bread pudding, pralines, beignets, king cake, etc.,” she said. “My focus is on the heritage of how these dishes evolved.”

She opens her book with a general history of Louisiana’s sweet heritage, beginning with an explanation of the word dessert and information on sugar cane and early bakeries. Next comes chapters divided by dessert category from beignets and cold treats like sno-balls to sweet breads. The book’s appendix has 14 additional recipes like Skinny Pumpkin Poke Cake and Braune Kuchen (Honey Cookies).

The book is illustrated with numerous vintage photographs, along with full-color photos of completed dishes.

A pack of 15 recipe cards featuring what the author considers “the most heavenly sweets from the Sugar State” also is available from the book’s publisher for $7.99.


Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at sonnierfood@gmail.com, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.