What is the best book on desserts/cakes/puddings there is?

Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by le francais, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. le francais

    le francais

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    I'm looking for the ultimate dessert cookbook, from Crepes au Grand Marnier to Strawberry Cake to Croissants or even Creme Bavaroise and Apfel Strudel. Is there a standard, one true book for such things as there seems to be for French and Italian Cuisine?

    Thank you Messieurs!
     
  2. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    Welcome to Cheftalk Le Francais,

    There are many books out there....that being said I have two which I refer to alot.

    Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg

    Baking and Pastry - Mastering the art and craft.

    You can go to Amazon through Cheftalk and find that these books (used but in good shape-if you want to save a little) can cost about 25.00 give or take.

    These books will not just give you a recipe but can teach you technique. This is just two books .........

    my two cents....merci.
     
  3. happy cooker

    happy cooker

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    I bought The Professional Pastry Chef after reading several reviews on this site and normally I tear into a new cookbook and go like crazy.  But it wasn't the case with Bo's book.  I suppose the quantities put me off, I continued to search the web for other recipes, print them out and insert them inside where his recipes are.  

    I looked at amazon.com for Baking and Pastry - Mastering the Art & Craft and was reading through the customer reviews.  Saw this and other similar comments so I didn't order it either.  

    Here is the comment that I first saw:  

     I am curious how deep some of the individuals with the rave reviews have actually delved into this book?! Yes, it is 'beautiful' and exhaustive in its recipes and techniques, and in many ways it is an indispensible tool for any pastry student. However, this book is full of errors. The typos, indicating a lack of adequate proofreading, I would not expect in a book of this professional and teaching level, but the greatest transgression is the errors in the recipes themselves - incorrect baking times and temperatures, incorrect quantities - I am only four weeks into a pastry course and we have found numerous errors with recipes that require adjusting. I was truly excited to try most of the amazing recipes, but now am concerned I will be wasting time and money except on recipes we have "pre-tested" in the course I am taking. I must say, overall I am disappointed that the book is not living up to my expectations. Do not judge this book by its cover...sadly, the cover is better than the contents.
     
    gingermitten likes this.
  4. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    The OP is just starting his journey into cooking.....

    The cookbook you are referring to has been reviewed here on CT.

    There are many reviews of that book , too bad you chose one negative one. Both books are good in my opinion, as far as Bo's book goes, well , the quanties are large but they can easily be converted.

    There are many very very good cookbooks out there with errors....does that mean we write them off....

    Maybe the OP should look at the Joy of Cooking.....something more simple. My suggestions , especailly the first one , was to show him how wonderful the book can prove to be , esp. with practice.

    Happy Cooker, what would you recommend this new cook ?

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Petals
     
  5. happy cooker

    happy cooker

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    I think your two suggestions were good ones - Bo's book just isn't what I thought it would be

    and I was on my way to buying the Baking and Pastry book and that stopped by in my tracks.

    I have a fortune "invested" (one could say wasted) in books I've purchased only to find

    that I don't like them.  

    Looking for positives on the B & P book, I came across this:

    "I fell in love with this beauty a year ago. You can find it at Barnes and Noble. I'ts wonderful. And it's written by staff from the Culinary Institute of America  in Hyde Park, New York. Believe me, that is a top-notch school. Those people know what they're talking about.

    Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft 
    by Culinary Institute of America Staff"

    I continued to read at different sites and it looks like it was about 50/50 like vs dislike.

    I love to read and learn and I race to amazon.com to buy nearly everything they have - our

    library is brimming with books.  

    I have my favorite baking books and The Professional Pastry Chef just isn't among them, though with the $70 price tag, I wish I had liked it.  I sit and read a cook book cover to cover.  I looked at the customer reviews on this particular book at amazon.com and of 56 reviews, 44 people rated it a 5.  So I'm outnumbered and I really wanted to like the book and use it.  

    What are your thoughts on The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman?  

    Take care and happy cooking!
     
  6. happy cooker

    happy cooker

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    Another good one just came to mind:  Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts.  
     
  7. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    Happy,

    I am with you 100 % . It is amazing just how many books we can acquire. When I walk into Chapter's book store, the first place I head for is the cooking section. Are we born with a cookbook magnet ?

    I feel that cookbooks are like wine, they all serve a purpose but don't always please the same person.

    Not that long ago I was brousing the gallery here at Cheftalk and came across a picture of one the chef's librairies......books piled high and very intersting ones at that.....it was just great to look at..... Like yourself, pastry chefs are masters at what they do.

    I think your choices are fine for the OP and what is more Zuckerman is very detailed. Heatter's cookbook  I can't really comment on as I don't know much about it.

    It all boils down to the individual needs. Le Francais is walking into  the wonderful world of cooking .

    Like friends, you can have many but its the diamond your always looking for.

    BTW, it is so nice to speak with you.

    Petals.
     
  8. sweetie pie

    sweetie pie

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    I just borrowed Fundamental Techniques Of Classic Pastry Arts (The French Culinary Institute). Most recipes are over my head but I did bake the pecan sour cream coffeecake. It was very good but also very different from any American cake I ever had. My husband, who has traveled to Europe was able to relate this coffeecake to pastry he has had abroad. There are several cakes and loaves I plan to bake.

    I think this might be a good book to try. Take it out of the library before you buy. Also, you are not stuck with a book you purchase. Barnes & Noble have a 14 day return policy.
     
  9. jameschef1982

    jameschef1982

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    What I have found with a number of these books is their is always a password or code that is missing if you like to put it that way. The main thing to remember is the chef who wrote the book in question is not going to sell their secrets for £25. Unfortunate as this is the way I personally prefer to look at these books is for guidance and encouragement, you should still be trying to stand on your own two feet, it's all about trial and error and to be fair if you don't make mistakes you will never learn. ALWAYS REMEMBER PASTRY EQUALS PATIENCE. I hope my words have been of help.
     
  10. durangojo

    durangojo

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    my 'go-to'  baking book is sherry yard's "the secrets of baking"...along side her wonderful and over the moon recipes that 'work', her side notes add humor and ease to what sometimes seems a daunting task.....

    joey
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  11. willtherebefood

    willtherebefood

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    I agree that Bo Friberg's The Professional Pastry Chef is the best comprehensive dessert book. True the yields are daunting: I don't need to bake eighty cookies or six loaves of bread at once. But I find scaling down worth it since all the desserts I have tried have been scrumptious. I find his detailed explanations of techniques and his appendices on ingredients and equipment invaluable.