Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts, by Maida Heatter (Alfred A. Knopf: $25, 383 pp.)

The recipes work. Of that you can be sure when working with Maida Heatter's books. And that, for a working dessert cook, is worth the price of the book.

At a book party held at Spago restaurant in Hollywood honoring the author, we sampled some desserts prepared, not by the author, but by chefs at Spago, using her recipes. Despite Heatter's heavy-handed style as far as appearance goes, the dessert flavors and textures are flawless.

The desserts are, for the most part, simple, solid, homey American things--banana cake, tassies, Boston cream pie, cream cheese coffee cake, marbleized spice cake, brownies, chocolate mousse pie, American chocolate cake--which will serve cooks too busy to experiment on their own well.

Chocoholics' Splurge Recipe Los Angeles Times Thursday December 26, 1985 Home Edition Food Part 8 Page 20 Column 2 Food Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction In last Sunday's Food Section, the photograph of Chocoholics' Splurge on Page 1 was inadvertently credited to "Maida Heater's Book of Great American Desserts." This recipe is actually from "Make-Ahead Entertaining" by Mable and Gar Hoffman.
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