Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes by Richard Sax

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    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert
    • Ingredients: nectarines; peaches; plums; blueberries; fresh ginger; ground cinnamon; buttermilk; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: peaches; raspberries; ground cinnamon; nutmeg; buttermilk; pecans; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert
    • Ingredients: cherries; nectarines; ground cinnamon; heavy cream; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Accompaniments: Basic pie dough; Rich tart dough
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: cornmeal; ground ginger; ground allspice; ground cinnamon; blackberries; raspberries; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: tapioca; blackberries; buttermilk; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: pears; maple syrup; ground cloves; nutmeg; cream cheese; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Accompaniments: Basic pie dough
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: pound cake; ground cinnamon; ground allspice; ground ginger; ground cloves; pears; apple cider (alcohol-free); store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: cranberries; oranges; apples; pears; old-fashioned oats; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: rhubarb; strawberries; ground cinnamon; walnuts; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert
    • Ingredients: tart apples; ground cinnamon; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; Swedish
    • Ingredients: apples; breadcrumbs; heavy cream; oranges; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; Danish
    • Ingredients: apples; ground cinnamon; amaretti biscuits; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: blueberries; blackberries; buttermilk; ground cinnamon; store-cupboard ingredients
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    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; Summer; American
    • Ingredients: blackberries; raspberries; almond extract; almonds; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Crumbles, cobblers, crisps & bettys; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: strawberries; superfine sugar; heavy cream; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Cakes, small; Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: strawberries; superfine sugar; buttermilk; almond extract; almonds; heavy cream; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Cakes, small; Dessert
    • Ingredients: yogurt; cornmeal; ground cinnamon; blueberries; superfine sugar; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert
    • Ingredients: dessert wine; vanilla beans; fresh ginger; cinnamon sticks; plums; raspberries; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert
    • Ingredients: blood oranges; tangerines; grapefruits; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert
    • Ingredients: apple juice; fresh ginger; pears; apples; dried apricots; prunes; yogurt; molasses; almonds; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert
    • Ingredients: quinces; dry white wine; honey; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert; American
    • Ingredients: raisins; prunes; dried apricots; cinnamon sticks; whole star anise; heavy cream; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert; Other Jewish holidays
    • Ingredients: cinnamon sticks; allspice berries; oranges; prunes; dried apricots; dried figs; Madeira wine; honey; store-cupboard ingredients
    • Categories: Dessert
    • Ingredients: apples; ground cinnamon; grenadine syrup

Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    1995 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award Winner

  • ellabee on March 24, 2015

    Highy recommended for reliability and quality by chow posters. Found at low price March 2015. It's an inspiring, instructive, and enoyable book even if I never make one thing from it -- but there are already several recipes that strongly appeal. Minor nitpick: chapter ToCs don't have page numbers (am gradually rectifying w/a pencil). Also added a small 'frame' to the outer corners of each chapter opening page, which had nothing to distinguish them visually from any other page. Book was written during the decade before the internet (copyright 1994), which makes it an even more impressive accomplishment. IACP honored Sax's memory by naming an annual award to an anti-hunger program after him. Publication date is actually 1994; as noted above, book won IACP award in 1995.

  • Kiyah on August 07, 2010

    I dare you to look through this cookbook without fantasizing about the delectable desserts you could make from it. Even if you never make a thing, it's worth reading for the anecdotes. I highly recommend the Double Chocolate Pudding recipe and the All-Time-Best Summer Fruit Torte. My edition is also the 1996 printing.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Peanut butter pie with fudge topping

    • louie734 on March 21, 2014

      Made this EASY pie twice now - it is my husband's birthday "cake" of choice. It is spectacular. I decrease the sugar in the crust by 1 T, and the powdered sugar in the filling by 1/4 c for a better salty/sweet balance. I've made it with 1/3-less-fat cream cheese without a problem. It keeps well in the fridge too, without the crust getting soggy. I haven't tried it with old-fashioned peanut butter (LOVE Trader Joe's creamy salted), but even though the recipe specifies not to, I have an itch to find out why not.

  • John Thorne's best-ever pecan pie

    • Laurendmck on December 22, 2012

      p. 559. We love this recipe and make it every year for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 29, 2019

      This is our pecan pie. The cane syrup & rum make it the absolute best for us. And it doesn't seem as sweet as other recipes I've tried. This time I added 1 T white miso to the egg mixture. excellent.

  • Down-east cranberry apple pie

  • Applesauce-carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting

    • sgump on November 29, 2015

      Made for Dad's 79th birthday--used a sprayed Bundt pan (out of which the cake effortlessly slid). Quite delicious. Used extra raisins, pecans, coconut, pineapple, applesauce, and carrots, so the cake didn't rise above the cake pan and was dense, moist, lovely. Delightful addition of lemon zest to the frosting; didn't use lemon extract, but that might have overdone it. Will likely make again.

    • adrienneyoung on January 21, 2022

      Very, very good. Though cutting a very moist, very large bundt in half horizontally and decorating neatly with a cream cheese icing is... a challenge. Next time I'll use two 9 inch rounds instead.

  • Lemon-molasses marble cake

    • Soveh on August 03, 2010

      Great cake! The marbled flavors are perfect together.

  • Chocolate cloud cake

    • Soveh on August 03, 2010

      The quintessential fallen chocolate souffle cake.

  • Karyl's blueberry cornmeal loaf

    • Soveh on August 03, 2010

      Tasty, not particularly special. Dad likes it though.

    • LaPomme on May 25, 2011

      Made 6 jumbo muffins from this recipe. Baked at 350 for about 35 minutes. The result is a dense, moist, and slightly citrusty muffin.

  • Marie's rich gingerbread with candied ginger and lemon glaze

    • Soveh on August 03, 2010

      Yum, yum, yum! Made for Jon's birthday twice (with the John's mother's lemon sauce). Dark, rich, so good. Freezes well too.

  • John's mother's lemon sauce with lemon slices

    • mcvl on September 01, 2015

      Handy little sauce, very nice. My grocery store had no small bottles of plain cider (! -- but I was shopping at 5pm, they run out of everything), so I bought ginger cider instead, very nice, would do it that way again for sure. Also used vanilla sugar instead of plain sugar.

  • Pavlova

    • Apollonia on June 27, 2021

      My pavlova got a bit dark at these temps, and I pulled it out too soon as a consequence, but the texture inside was heavenly. Served with lightly whipped cream, mounded with sour cream, and mashed strawberries.

  • Cranberry crumble with fall fruits

    • adrienneyoung on May 23, 2011

      this is amazing when served with whipped cream w/ candied ginger. If you don't have whipping cream, creme fraiche is also a great option.

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 29, 2019

      I used apples and omitted pears. I reduced cranberries to about 12 oz. This is a fantastic crumble. very good with vanilla ice cream.

  • Southern-style peach and raspberry cobbler with pecan-crunch topping

    • jenmacgregor18 on August 07, 2021

      i used frozen fruit, as fresh peaches were less than ideal.... about 4# of peaches, blackberries & raspberries, thawed. used a 9x13 instead of an 8 x 8 pan. the biscuit dough came together quickly & was easy to work with. I forgot all about the pecan topping until it was already in the oven. The fruit was luscious and the biscuits light & tender. Nice proportion of fruit & biscuit. I'll just have to remember the pecan topping next time.

  • Light cannoli cream for fresh fruit

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 29, 2019

      I served as a dip with graham crackers in lieu of fruit or cannoli shells. A nice light dessert, good for potlucks and holiday parties.

  • Swedish apple "pie" with vanilla sauce

    • jenmacgregor18 on February 19, 2022

      This turned out better than I expected. It's a nice variation on a crisp. It only took about 15 minutes to assemble. I did go light on the breadcrumbs. I thought a full cup would overwhelm my apples, which may have been smaller than required. I ended up using a bit over 1/2 C. And added 1/4 t cardamom. The breadcrumbs ended up both soaking up the juices & thickening and creating a crispy top. The sauce was good too. Somewhat reminiscent of melted orange creamsicle ice cream. But it took about another 15 minutes and ended up making much more than we'd use for the dessert. I'd just serve with ice cream next time.

  • John Thorne's lemon icebox crumbles

    • jenmacgregor18 on August 07, 2021

      I had extra yolks to use up & saw this. very quick to put together. one bowl to clean. excellent lemon flavor & light, crispy texture. winner all around.

  • Gingerbread hermits

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 29, 2019

      Good instructions, esp. caution not to over-mix or over-bake. I left the 3rd batch a little longer in the oven. The first 2 batches were much better than the 3rd.

  • Ligita's quick apple cake

    • jenmacgregor18 on October 02, 2021

      This was easy to put together. I liked the crunchy cake on top of apple filling. My apples were mediocre. I don't know if they were in storage for a while or what. I'm going to have to try it again with some good apples.

  • Tennessee moonshine cookies

    • jenmacgregor18 on December 11, 2019

      I subbed dark raisins for golden and used dried pineapple, not candied. It called for 1 t cloves. I thought that may be too medicinal/bitter, so I reduced cloves to 1/4 tsp and added 1/2 tsp of allspice. The dried fruit must soak in whisky for awhile. I left it overnight. Otherwise, easy to put together. I ended up with 6 dozen. The candied cherries turned the dough that cherry pink. I'm not the world's biggest fan of candied/maraschino cherries. (I might make these with dried & sweetened tart cherries next time.) But they did turn out well. These are a lot of boozy fruit & nuts held together by a bit of batter. I may also do a bit of a whisky glaze/drizzle for the top.

  • Indiana orchard apple crumb pie

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 29, 2019

      D prefers a double crust. But I thought this was a wonderful apple pie.

  • Rhubarb-strawberry crisp with cinnamon-walnut topping

    • stockholm28 on May 17, 2015

      This was very good and simple. There are two things I think need adjusting. He calls for 1/4 cup of water mixed with the fruit. My strawberries yielded plenty of liquid during baking so I will leave that out next time. The fruit mix was also a bit sweeter than I like, so might cut back on the sugar when using really sweet strawberries. He also calls for 1 1/2 lbs of rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces which he says is about 3 cups. I only had about 3/4 lb rhubarb (after trimming) and I still got 3 full cups. It is baked in an 8" pie pan, so 3 cups of rhubarb with a pint of strawberries was plenty.

  • "Bee-sting" cake (bienenstich)

    • mjes on May 03, 2018

      When the German couple retired, a favorite German lunch spot fell into Korean hands. They still kept most of the German menu and did it well. However, they dropped several baked goods from their menu. Bienenstich was one of those dropped. I found this recipe as a home substitute - not as good as that of the Woerners' but a decent substitute.

  • Classic creme brulee

    • vglong29 on August 14, 2023

      It took about 9 minutes longer than stated, but otherwise good basic instructions.

  • Shrewsbury cakes

    • ashallen on August 31, 2022

      Recipe suggests ground mace can be substituted for ground nutmeg.

    • ashallen on August 31, 2022

      I made these with the suggested substitution of ground mace for nutmeg. They baked up very thin, lightly crisp-tender, and buttery. I was impressed by how a small amount of mace managed to flavor the cookies. Dough is verrry soft and sticky but was easy to slice after 24 hours in the refrigerator. Recipe says to place cookies 1/2-inch apart on cookie sheets. Mine spread wide such that they all melded with their neighbors and ended up being a bit rectangular. Definitely don't leave to cool on cookie sheets too long - they wanted to stick as they cooled. Overall, we thought these were pleasant but not super-exciting. I think I would have been more excited if they'd been lemon-flavored!

  • Italian ricotta pudding (Budino di ricotta)

    • ashallen on June 08, 2021

      I thought this was pleasant but not fabulous. It was definitely quick and easy to put together, however, which was nice. My pudding was 190-195F in the center after baking the recommended time - some liquid from the pudding settled on the bottom of the dish so perhaps that was too long? I skipped the bread crumb coating on the baking dish but I imagine it would have been soggy versus the crisp crust the author describes. Very orange-y from the generous amount of candied orange peel and, as the headnote mentions, not super-sweet. It puffed up like a souffle in the oven and then settled down as it cooled. Top browned quite a bit but tasted fine.

  • Brown butter coffee cake

    • ashallen on March 02, 2022

      Used pecans for the streusel. Nice cake and a bit healthier than other streusel coffee cakes since it uses yogurt instead of sour cream and half the flour is whole wheat. Baking soda flavor was a bit stronger than I prefer but that can be adjusted. The glaze does add another flavor layer which perks up the cake overall. Generally I prefer cakes like this without glaze but my husband loved it. I used white whole wheat flour and full-fat yogurt instead of the low-fat specified in the recipe - both seemed to work fine. My favorite recipe for this type of cake, however, is the Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake from Cafe Zenon in Eugene, Oregon published in Bon Appetit (December 1998). It's more decadent than this recipe, though (of course!!), with a pound of sour cream and twice as much streusel.

  • Savannah lace Christmas cookies

    • ashallen on April 24, 2020

      These are confection-like cookies. Very sweet, wafer-thin, crisp edges, chewy centers. Chocolate works really well with candied orange peel and pecans. I used about half the chocolate specified to get more pecan/orange flavor. No salt in recipe - salted vs unsalted butter would be good to try next time. I'd also try a very flavorful brown sugar like muscovado. Definitely stick to a lightly heaped 1/2-teaspoon per cookie. These spread a lot and bigger ones damaged easily. Baked just 24 per standard cookie sheet - otherwise they spread into each other. Batter's easier to handle after chilling. Stored well overnight. Even with making some cookies too big, I got 110 vs. 96 specified. The 3 cookie sheets called for won't fit them all - you need to wash between batches. Cookies are fiddly to handle and weld solid to sheets if cooled too long but rumple/tear easily if too warm. Ignore instructions to cool 3 minutes. Instead hover, watching and poking, until just the right moment. Work fast!

  • Oatmeal shortbread squares (grasmere gingerbread)

    • ashallen on November 04, 2021

      These are great. Their buttery, gingery flavor reminds me of one of my favorite store-bought cookies - Peek Freans Ginger Crisps (though less spicy). Texture is quite different from Ginger Crisps, though (which are very thin and crisp) - an interesting mix of sandy, chewy, and nubbly from the oats. Also kind of dense, but I pressed the dough pretty firmly into the pan - next time I'll use a lighter touch. If you have a food processor as called for in the recipe, these are super quick and easy to make. I used steel cut oats (toasted a bit in oven to freshen) and stone-ground white whole wheat flour.

  • Almond brittle cookies

    • ashallen on September 01, 2019

      Great bar cookies - really nice interplay of butteriness from the shortbread, tanginess from the jam (I used raspberry + brandy), creaminess from the caramel and crunch from the almonds. I lined the baking pan with buttered heavy-duty foil- this ended up being verrrry useful since the jam/caramel topping melded with the pan wherever the two touched. The pastry would have been harder to remove intact without the foil. The caramel in the almond topping still flowed easily even after thickening during stovetop cooking - this meant that it pooled more thickly wherever the dough had been rolled a bit more thinly. Once cut, the bars with the thicker caramel layers oozed a small amount down the sides - not enough to be a big messy problem, but something to keep in mind when rolling out the dough in the future. I cut my squares bigger than the 1-inch squares suggested in the recipe since I'd never eat these only 1 square inch at a time! Froze fine.

  • Carlo's cookie dough

    • ashallen on September 01, 2019

      Even though the recipe notes say that this dough's easy to handle, I was still happily surprised at how non-sticky and mold-able it was after resting overnight in the refrigerator. Once rolled out, it did soften quickly in my 74F kitchen and I had to move quickly to get a 11x16-inch dough sheet into a pan before it got too tender to lift easily. Orange flavor from the orange zest (I used 1.5 tbsp) is really nice. I baked some leftover scraps as little cookies - they were OK (again, nice orange flavor), but not special enough to make this dough specifically to make cookies. The dough served its intended purpose as a crust for the Almond Brittle Cookies in this book very well, however.

  • Grandma's poppy seed crescents (mohn moons)

    • ashallen on July 13, 2019

      These cookies are crisp, not very sweet, and very subtly flavored, reminding me a bit of biscotti. I used toasted hazelnut oil for the vegetable oil. I imagine the cookies would take well to a variety of other flavorings (almond extract, lemon extract, vanilla extract) and work well as tea/coffee dippers. The dough came together and rolled out easily. Note that there might be an error in the recipe version in the 1994 edition of this book - it calls for rolling out the dough 3/8-inch thick but I don't think you can get the recipe's stated yield of "~7 dozen crescents" at that thickness. I rolled the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, instead, which seemed to yield 2.5" crescent cookies at the expected rate.

  • John's brown sugar raspberry loaf

    • ashallen on September 12, 2019

      My father grew raspberries in his garden and there were often more than we knew what to do with (particularly by the latter part of the summer when we'd already had our fill - I know, I know, boo hoo hoo for us). This was a great quick bread type cake for using a bunch of them (2 cups). The raspberries were often fairly tart and this carried over into the bread - eating it with whipped cream balanced the tartness well.

  • Dick Witty's angel food cake

    • ashallen on February 19, 2021

      Classic angel food cake in both texture and flavor. I also made the variation "Orange Angel Food Cake with Tangerine Glaze" which has strong orange flavor that balances out that typical angel food cake sweetness. I used ~1 packed tbsp (very fresh) orange zest for the cake and ~1.5 tsp for the glaze - those who like gentler orange flavor might use less. I subbed orange juice concentrate for tangerine juice concentrate in the glaze. The glaze really bumps up the cake's orange flavor and doesn't come across as super-sweet, so I'd definitely use it again even though it didn't "set" /stayed runny. Recipe says to add orange zest near the start of egg beating, but I was concerned that the zest's oils would interfere with the egg whites whipping up. I rubbed the zest into the sugar that's added later in the beating process instead. Might have been overly cautious, but it looks like other orange angel food cake recipes online generally add the zest later vs. at the start of egg beating.

  • Chef Andrea's breakfast polenta cake

    • ashallen on July 31, 2019

      This is a very nice gluten-free cake - good flavors and a lightly sandy texture from the cornmeal/potato starch/ground almonds. Finely ground whole grain cornmeal worked well - a coarser one might be too gritty. Like the title says, it's well-suited to breakfast - whole grains + not super-sweet. I baked it in a heavy, black 9-cup bundt pan and it was done in 30 minutes vs. 40 minutes as the recipe specified. The batter filled the pan only half-way, so the cake's smaller than a typical bundt cake.

  • Warm caramel sauce

    • ashallen on July 07, 2019

      Delicious! I cooked sugar to 375F for a strong caramel flavor. Smooth and glossy when warm, it thickened to a mayonnaise-like consistency when chilled. People wanted to eat it straight from the storage jar. What survived was great with both vanilla financiers and rice pudding.

  • "Mouthfuls" from abruzzo (bocconotti abbruzzesi)

    • ashallen on December 10, 2019

      Fun cookies/mini-pastries. Cookie-like crust filled with ground almonds flavored with cocoa powder, marsala, orange zest. Not very sweet - if you like bittersweet choc, you'll like these. First time making/eating them - wasn't sure they came out right, but co-worker said they're just like his grandmother's except bigger and orange vs. almond flavored! Would've rated 4 stars but for some issues with recipe as written. Recipe specifies mini-brioche/standard muffin tin - I made a couple mini-brioche but they're too big to eat comfortably! I used mini tart tins (1.5 inch bottom) instead. Tried with/without lids - preferred filling/crust balance without, though filling dried more and lost some marsala flavor. Pressed crust into tins vs. rolling - easier, dough oozed sticky sugar syrup after 18 hour chill. Recipe's a bit vague on proper filling texture - held back 1-2 tbsp wine but could've used all. Recipe says 1c almonds=6.5 oz - mine was 5.25 oz. Either's fine - easily tweaked to taste!

  • Breakfast pear tarte tatin

    • ashallen on November 27, 2019

      Ooof - this didn't turn out well for me! It's kind of like a pineapple upside down cake with biscuit "cake" base and pear topping. I removed from oven as recipe specified after 25 minutes once top browned and tester emerged cleanly. Unfortunately there was a large blob of half-cooked dough in the center which I didn't discover until I cut into it. Scooped out and chucked that part. If it had baked it longer, top would've overbrowned and needed a foil cover. Pear juices/caramel bubbled up out of pan during baking (even though I used an 8" cast iron skillet) - recipe didn't warn about this. Pear topping was yummy, but I didn't care for the biscuit - too much baking soda flavor. Perhaps recipe's optimized for refrigerating dough overnight - I used it right after mixing. Cold dough would aggravate uneven-baking issue, though. I think this might need a lower baking temp than the 425F specified in recipe to cook evenly. I don't care for flavor combo enough to try it again, though!

  • Oven-steamed figgy pudding

    • billcranecos on December 27, 2020

      I cooked this for Christmas 2020, so that just in case "2020" himself came caroling and sang he wouldn't go until he got some that I'd have some ready. This was delicious and I'll repeat it.

  • Best-ever pumpkin pie

    • billcranecos on November 28, 2020

      I used a store bought deep dish crust, and the filling recipe makes more volume than the crust could hold. The finished texture was light with a great spiced pumpkin flavor.

  • Deep-dish rhubarb-cherry-berry pie

    • billcranecos on January 01, 2021

      This was our New Years Eve pie for 2020. I would not have picked this, except a friend expressed an interest for (out of season) rhubarb. Even with frozen rhubarb and frozen cherries, this made for an excellent tangy and fruity pie that was enjoyed all around. I'll repeat this in the summer when I can get fresh rhubarb and fresh cherries.

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  • ISBN 10 0618003916
  • ISBN 13 9780618003914
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Jul 14 2000
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Houghton Mifflin
  • Imprint Houghton Mifflin (Trade)

Publishers Text

For this collection, unmatched in the field of dessert cookbooks, Richard Sax devoted more than a decade to searching out and perfecting 350 of the world's best and most beloved home desserts. Everything the cook longs for is here: cobblers and crisps, cakes and cookies, puddings and souffles, pies and pastries, ice creams and sauces. Extensive sidebars - profiles of cooks, engaging recollections of favorite desserts, quotations from hundreds of literary works and excerpts from fascinating old recipes - make this an indispensable, lively volume.

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