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"The Elements of Dessert" – Francisco J. Migoya

Dessert Cookbook Modernist

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#1 minas6907

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:24 PM

Has anyone seen this book? I've sort of been eyeballing it the last few weeks, and just saw today that its apparently not on pre-order anymore, but available to ship from Amazon. Looks like a nice CIA text on dessert, heres the table of contents:

Ch1 The Basic Elements 1
Ch2 Pre-Desserts 105
Ch3 Plated Desserts 163
Ch4 Dessert Buffets 261
Ch5 Passed-Around Desserts 331
Ch6 Cakes (Entremets) 381
Ch7 Petits Fours (Mignardises) 449

Anyone have thoughts on this one? I'm tempted, but dont really know much about it. LINK

#2 Tri2Cook

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:26 AM

It's still listed as "available for pre-order" on amazon.ca with an expected release of Oct. 29. I'll most likely get this one, I got (and still get) a lot of use from Frozen Desserts.
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#3 pastrygirl

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 05:35 PM

I pre-ordered it awhile ago, and Amazon is currently saying delivery is estimated for the end of next week (Oct 24-27), so it sounds like they expect to be able to ship it in a few days.

#4 minas6907

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:02 PM

Ok, well if you guys wouldn't mind saying a word or two about it if/when you get it, I'd appreciate it. I checked out his blog and found some pics that will apparently be in the book, which look beautiful, plated desserts that go beyond anything I've seen in person. But aside from that, I don't know much else about the book. I haven't seen The Modern Cafe and Frozen Desserts (pardon me) because the subjects don't seem to capture me, but a in depth text on all aspects of dessert with creative techniques, not just a recipe book, appeals to me more. Over all, I generally like the textbooks from CIA, but I purchased Garde Manger a while back and was very disappointed, it seemed more like a giant recipe book with all the same techniques and pictures that were already covered in The Professional Chef. Anyways, I'm guess I'm just a little more cautious now haha. Thanks guys.

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#5 dhardy123

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:34 PM

Mine has been pre-ordered for awhile. I can't wait to see it. I am really impressed by his other books.

#6 Digijam

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:01 AM

Ok, well if you guys wouldn't mind saying a word or two about it if/when you get it, I'd appreciate it. I checked out his blog and found some pics that will apparently be in the book, which look beautiful, plated desserts that go beyond anything I've seen in person. But aside from that, I don't know much else about the book. I haven't seen The Modern Cafe and Frozen Desserts (pardon me) because the subjects don't seem to capture me, but a in depth text on all aspects of dessert with creative techniques, not just a recipe book, appeals to me more. Over all, I generally like the textbooks from CIA, but I purchased Garde Manger a while back and was very disappointed, it seemed more like a giant recipe book with all the same techniques and pictures that were already covered in The Professional Chef. Anyways, I'm guess I'm just a little more cautious now haha. Thanks guys.

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Do yourself a favour and put preconceptions triggered by previous CIA publications aside and check out Migoya's other two books. The Modern Cafe is just astonishing in its depth and breadth - with loads of inspiration for home cooks, brasseries and more upscale places, as well as cafes. The pastry section alone is worth the purchase price. Frozen Desserts is, by definition, a bit more limited in scope, but the depth of detail on ingredient balancing for both pacotised and regular churn ice creams, sorbets etc, plus the key recipes for provided flavours make it a superb reference tome.

I fully expect The Elements of Dessert to be my favourite cook book of 2012. Just a shame Amazon UK still have it listed as a December release. Looks like it'll be quicker and cheaper to switch to Amazon US.

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#7 EnriqueB

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:42 AM

I follow Francisco's blog but wasn't aware of the book... Which have just ordered when reading this thread

#8 minas6907

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:26 PM

Do yourself a favour and put preconceptions triggered by previous CIA publications aside and check out Migoya's other two books. The Modern Cafe is just astonishing in its depth and breadth - with loads of inspiration for home cooks, brasseries and more upscale places, as well as cafes. The pastry section alone is worth the purchase price. Frozen Desserts is, by definition, a bit more limited in scope, but the depth of detail on ingredient balancing for both pacotised and regular churn ice creams, sorbets etc, plus the key recipes for provided flavours make it a superb reference tome.


Ok, just preordered Elements of Dessert! I did look at the Modern Cafe, I dont think I really noticed it before since the cover looked kind of plain. Was slightly worried when I just saw recipe after recipe, but realized that many of those were individual components that make up a beautiful dish. Anyways, I like the format of the book, and further like what he makes. I used to think that Bo Friberg's books The Professional Pastry Chef and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef were the epitome of beautifully thought out and plated desserts, I think I'm going to be pleasantly surprised with The Elements of Dessert.

The site I saw a few pics on was located here:
http://www.thequenel...01_archive.html
http://www.thequenel...ssert-pt-3.html

#9 carsondial

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:36 AM

This arrived yesterday - have only really had a flick through so far, but seems pretty good on first blush. Some things have been seen on his blog in the past couple of years, but he goes into more detail here. Only slight irritation is that the recipes have a master page, and then the recipes for the individual parts of the dessert are 20-30 pages later at the end of the section, even whenthe subject is things like molded chocolates. There's a lot of page-turning involved!

#10 pastrygirl

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:23 PM

:wub: :wub: :wub:

Everything is so beautiful and modern!

#11 minas6907

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:21 PM

Ha, yeah no kidding everything is modern. I think everyone will hate me after I say this, ahem, but I got my book today and am returning it. It wasnt really what I was expecting, It was slightly too modern for me, and most of the plates were things that I would never attempt. I'm obviously rather picky about my books, and I cant have this large of a book on such modernist desserts, I know I'll seldom look through it. Sorry guys! I did like the 'Earth' entremet, that was amazing, very playful, but overall, not for me, I'm more into old school pastry.

#12 Bojana

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 01:27 PM

Are the recipes in grams?

I love modern too! Cannot wait for my copy!

#13 pastrygirl

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 05:41 PM

Recipes are in grams, ounces, and %. I love modern, too. I never bought any of the CIA's other pro pastry books, they always looked too old school, even 10 or 15 years ago when I started baking professionally. But this...these are the desserts I wish I'd thought of, that I wish I had the time and skill and equipment to make. I don't know how many I will make, but I will definitely use the visual inspiration as well as various elements and ideas. I could see how it is not for everyone, but as a jaded professional, I am so happy to see it.

#14 Mjx

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 02:32 AM

. . . . But this...these are the desserts I wish I'd thought of, that I wish I had the time and skill and equipment to make. I don't know how many I will make, but I will definitely use the visual inspiration as well as various elements and ideas. I could see how it is not for everyone, but as a jaded professional, I am so happy to see it.


This sounds extremely appealing, but how demanding is it, in terms of necessary equipment?
Approach- and aesthetics-wise this kind of sounds like a 'desserts, the missing manual' companion to Modernist Cuisine, but it would depressing if it turned out that making even the simplest recipes would require an outlay of hundreds of dollars (which I haven't got) for specialized equipment/tools.

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#15 Digijam

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:04 AM

This sounds extremely appealing, but how demanding is it, in terms of necessary equipment?
Approach- and aesthetics-wise this kind of sounds like a 'desserts, the missing manual' companion to Modernist Cuisine, but it would depressing if it turned out that making even the simplest recipes would require an outlay of hundreds of dollars (which I haven't got) for specialized equipment/tools.


Tool-wise, many require nothing more than a paint/chocolate spray gun (okay, a LOT need a sprayer). Other than that, I think maybe three dishes use a Volcano Vaporizor, one or two a cream whipper/soda syphon, and in a couple of instances a thermomix or vacuum chamber/sealer is necessary. Other than that, it's more about building on classical techniques using surprising flavours, a few interesting gels (ie. some gellan, pectin, agar, a bit of spherification), and inspired execution.

To fully replicate everything as shown in the book would also require a lot of custom/home-made silicon molds, but then the composed dishes - stunning as they often are in their modernist way (Migoya is a master of visual minimalism and clever serving ideas, though there are also a couple of nods to Natura-style presentations) are as much there to show how building blocks can be put together and balanced, as well as to inspire. You can obviously make the bacon maple ice cream without necessarily molding it into the shape of a small pig and surrounding it with hay scent. :wink:

Arguably more important are the base recipes for the many components, and the sections discussing pastry terms, techniques and ingredients (including those hydrocolloids), and flavour/texture balancing.

I've only had it a couple of days, but really the only two issues with the book are that the title doesn't really let people know just how modern the content is - this very definitely isn't a trawl through the pastry classics. And that the 'show then tell' structure means there's a fair bit of back and forth with the pages in order to read through one complete dish. Other than that it really is quite astonishing, and gawd bless Amazon - astonishing value.

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#16 Mjx

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

Thanks, Digijam, that definitely puts this on my book list!

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#17 Tri2Cook

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:36 PM

And to supplement what Digijam said, I'd argue that, while undoubtedly nice, a Thermomix is not at all necessary. I don't have one. It's on the short list of "someday" but not in the budget at this time. I've done many recipes that call for one and never had a recipe fail from not using one.
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#18 Bricktop

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:25 PM

Ha, yeah no kidding everything is modern. I think everyone will hate me after I say this, ahem, but I got my book today and am returning it. It wasnt really what I was expecting, It was slightly too modern for me, and most of the plates were things that I would never attempt. I'm obviously rather picky about my books, and I cant have this large of a book on such modernist desserts, I know I'll seldom look through it. Sorry guys! I did like the 'Earth' entremet, that was amazing, very playful, but overall, not for me, I'm more into old school pastry.

Tee hee - that's precisely why I love it!

#19 EnriqueB

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:54 AM

I received the book yesterday. It looks great. The title is precise: the book is structured so that "elements" are provided: an inventory of techniques, of individual components, and then recipes are build combining them. Tables are provided so they can also be combined in different ways.

The book is "modern" in spirit, plating, composition... For example, colloids are used (agar, carrageenans, etc.) But, at a first glance, it seems technique is somehow traditional. For example, no sous-vide is used, though it is great for things like custards. As said above, not so many requirements toolwise.

#20 Baselerd

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:05 AM

How is the photography? I am pretty interested in the book, but I'm superficial and like my books to have nice photos...

#21 Twyst

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

How is the photography? I am pretty interested in the book, but I'm superficial and like my books to have nice photos...

Its gorgeous.

Edited by Twyst, 07 November 2012 - 04:18 PM.


#22 pastrygirl

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:21 PM


How is the photography? I am pretty interested in the book, but I'm superficial and like my books to have nice photos...

Its gorgeous.


Yes, a full page color photo of each dessert, total food porn. Who needs recipes?

#23 FoodMan

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:24 AM

Pear-Genoa Bread-Chocolate Veil.JPG

 

The more I read through this book the more I love it. It really provides a home cook like myself a fantastic insight into how the real modern pros do dessert. I tried one recipe from it so far but used many ideas and concepts. The one I did is this one the Caramelized Genoa Bread with poached Seckel Pears, Pear Ice Cream and a Chocolate Veil ( I did not do the triangular chocolate decoration for it though). The flavors are familiar and work perfectly together, but the presentation is modern and classy.  I posted about it in a bit more detail on my blog. I'm also reading through Migoya's Frozen Desserts which is equally amazing IMHO.

 

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#24 minas6907

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:13 PM

That is beautiful, seriously.

#25 Bojana

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:35 AM

Foodman, it looks amazing. I think you just inspired me to try it. So far, I have made the Maillard gateau which was amazing, and bits and pieces of other stuff.

An idea for caramel coating: I would apply the same (fiddly but uniform and safe) technique I have learnt from Quay (book) to encase meat. Make caramel, pour thin layer on silpat, put in food processor/ grinder and break to dust, then sieve dust over cut out forms (rectangular in this case) put into 180C oven for few minutes to melt, let cool, then place just on the top of cake pieces and put back in the oven to melt again. As the rectangle melts, it wilts and it falls neatly around meat, so should also around cake. I like to add some isomalt to original caramel, to make it dissolve less quickly. It also reduces sweetness, handy for meat.

#26 Baselerd

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:31 AM

I've made a few desserts from this book so far - all out of the plated dessert section.

 

tumblr_mhr4fsEdPh1rvhqcjo5_1280.jpg

 

Above is the "Melting Chocolate Box" (without the box, with smaller molded/tempered chocolate bits) with the Fig [Leaf] Ice Cream, shortbread crumble, Jasmine Tea Cake, and chocolate sauce. It was a pretty good dessert, but I was somewhat dissapointed by the cake. It was way too dry - maybe an error on my end. The rest of the components were great.

 

I also made the chocolate tile with shortbread crumble, salted caramel, clotted cream, and soft peter's chocolate. This one was really tasty - the caramel sauce is one of the best I've ever tasted or made. While I am enjoying the book a lot, I can't help but think the book isn't as informative about cooking as it is plating.



#27 Bojana

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:56 AM

Foodman, did you like the Genoa Bread? I started making it, then noticed that it hardly uses any sugar other than what is in the praline paste and added some but I found the cake still too salty and not cake like. The caramel dusting and remelting in the oven technique worked like a charm, producing this thin and lacy caramel layer on the cake.

#28 FoodMan

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:50 PM

Foodman, did you like the Genoa Bread? I started making it, then noticed that it hardly uses any sugar other than what is in the praline paste and added some but I found the cake still too salty and not cake like. The caramel dusting and remelting in the oven technique worked like a charm, producing this thin and lacy caramel layer on the cake.

I really did like the Genoa bread and I do not recall making any changes to it. Is it possible you made a mistake while weighing out the ingredients? It certainly was not salty. As far as cake-like, I agree it is not a traditional cake. It is more dense but not dry at all. It definitely needs no extra sugar after being encased in caramel. I recently made a pistachio version based on this recipe that worked great and I will be posting about it soon.


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#29 FoodMan

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:52 PM

I've made a few desserts from this book so far - all out of the plated dessert section.

 

tumblr_mhr4fsEdPh1rvhqcjo5_1280.jpg

 

Above is the "Melting Chocolate Box" (without the box, with smaller molded/tempered chocolate bits) with the Fig [Leaf] Ice Cream, shortbread crumble, Jasmine Tea Cake, and chocolate sauce. It was a pretty good dessert, but I was somewhat dissapointed by the cake. It was way too dry - maybe an error on my end. The rest of the components were great.

 

I also made the chocolate tile with shortbread crumble, salted caramel, clotted cream, and soft peter's chocolate. This one was really tasty - the caramel sauce is one of the best I've ever tasted or made. While I am enjoying the book a lot, I can't help but think the book isn't as informative about cooking as it is plating.

That looks beautiful! 

For the Chocolate tile, did you actually buy the "special" Peter's high-fat chocolate? Do you think it would work with regular dark chocolate (like Green and Black)?


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#30 Baselerd

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:28 AM

Thanks! I did use Peter's chocolate - my thought is that any chocolate that tastes good when softened should be good enough. The Peter's chocolate was definitely very high quality and it did not run when melted - it had more similar consistency to a soft ganache. I'm not a chocolate expert though, so take it for what its worth. 







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