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French Patisserie Cookbooks


Prawncrackers
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One that's been sitting on my shelf ... is Paris Boulangerie Patisserie by Linda Dannenberg. It's a collection of recipes and tales from thirteen well-known bakeries in Paris ... I'm a fan of another cookbook she published, a similar collection of brasserie/bistro recipes and stories, with recipes I've found to be very reliable. ...

I gather that Ms Dannenberg writes for a (primarily) US readership.

Could I therefore ask whether she specifies quantities by weight (as the originals undoubtedly would), or whether these books have been 'translated' into cups?

I've just picked up a copy of Dannenberg's 'Paris Bistro Cooking' (2006 Gramercy).

Nice book. Very old-school look -- like its subjects.

Its metric-free, using a rather strange set of measurement units.

Most solids are either weighed (2 oz chopped hazelnuts - excellent) or by the unit (like "2 small carrots").

However Butter is by the tablespoon. :blink:

And flour, rice, raisins and raspberries are by the cup. :huh:

Where she says to use a "quart" of milk, I know she means 17% less than a UK quart ...

Yes, she certainly does write for a US readership!

I'm still looking forward to seeing the Patisserie book, but being currently offered at $33 to $60 used (and $52 to $68 from the few Amazon UK merchants with new copies), it'll be waiting until I happen upon a bargain copy!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I'm trying to get everyone's opinions on baking books.

I'm not sure if British baking/pastry books are good. I'm a bit wary of them because I already have a few popular-grade Australian/NZ books either with substantial baking section, or baking books by themselves, and they lean very heavily on the home-style cooking or cafe food in the English-speaking countries' (or I should say British Isles) traditions.

I would want some English-language cookbooks that teach you more French/continental techniques and recipes (I'm particularly interested in fancy French pastries and cakes patisserie type cookbooks), and I believe British books will probably have more repeats of the same old tired homebaking recipes like banana cake, hot cross bun, cupcakes, as the Australian/NZ counterparts. So which books should I look for? Thanks.

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One book I haven't seen mentioned which I think is very good for French style cakes is The Art of The Cake, by Bugat and Healy. Not sure if it's still in print, but it's a pretty encyclopedic compendium of classic French patisserie style cakes. It does not get into pastries or cookies.

Edited by rickster (log)
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It looks, sadly, like Art of the Cake has been remaindered. But it also looks like you can for the moment get copies at Jessica's Biscuit for $15. Which I highly recommend doing before it becomes scarce and expensive like their earlier Mastering the Art of French Pastry.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, the Healy titles are expensive now at amazon.com . Unfortunately it is probably the most directly place to place orders for new copies from NZ without trying to sort out shipping and clearance at the Customs. (believe it or not, tax does exist for books - primarily NZ's GST)

I manged to track down 2 pastry books by Yves Thuriès at CHIPS: Pastry and Modern Pastry, both are presumably translated into English and pretty expensive at around US$200. Does anyone know if these books do a good job at teaching the classics of pastry? I'm primarily an armchair pastry chef wanting to learn about the details for my personal education, not necessarily trying to reproduce them at home :laugh: .

(Yes, I know many here, or the popular serious pastry chefs, have outgrown Thuriès, but Michel Roux said clearly that all cooks need to be able to reproduce the classics faultlessly when required even if they do cutting edge stuff, so it is always handy to know the basics)

Edited by johung (log)
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Take a look at the "French professional pastry series" by Roland Bilheux and Alain Excoffier. These volumes are classic French pastisserie. The two basic volumes are 1: Doughs, Batters and Meringues and 2:Creams, Confections and Finished Desserts. There are several other volumes that cover petit fours, chocolate, frozen desserts, sugar work, marzipan etc. They used to be availabe at Jessica's Biscuit and were inexpensive. The ciriculum I had at L'Acadamie de Cuisine was very similar to what is presented in these books. Woods

I agree. See review here: French Professional Pastry Series

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I'm trying to get everyone's opinions on baking books.

I'm not sure if British baking/pastry books are good. I'm a bit wary of them because I already have a few popular-grade Australian/NZ books either with substantial baking section, or baking books by themselves, and they lean very heavily on the home-style cooking or cafe food in the English-speaking countries' (or I should say British Isles) traditions.

I would want some English-language cookbooks that teach you more French/continental techniques and recipes (I'm particularly interested in fancy French pastries and cakes patisserie type cookbooks), and I believe British books will probably have more repeats of the same old tired homebaking recipes like banana cake, hot cross bun, cupcakes, as the Australian/NZ counterparts. So which books should I look for? Thanks.

I feel British cookbooks, especially those published from the mid 1990s onwards, are too similar to Australian/NZ cookbooks to be really interesting for me. ...

... Margaret Patten's works sound good and what I want - something of British cuisine without the excessively trendiness of the last 10 years. The French influence are not as widespread in NZ or Australia, and the traditional food backs up the historical origins of the "good old Kiwi tucker" very nicely.

Marguerite Patten is now aged 94. http://www.celebritychefsuk.com/chefs.asp?id=17

She certainly isn't "trendy".

But she does specialise particularly in slightly nostalgic British home cooking. (See the Bio link above)

... a good job at teaching the classics of pastry?

...

... but Michel Roux said clearly that all cooks need to be able to reproduce the classics faultlessly when required even if they do cutting edge stuff, so it is always handy to know the basics)

Have you considered the Roux Brothers classic "Patisserie"? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roux-Brothers-Patisserie-Albert/dp/0316905593/

And for a NZ book and author, how do you regard Dean Brettschneider's original "Baker"?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baker-International-Australian-Zealand-Professionals/dp/1877178799/

I've not seen his later "Global Baker", but I do find the earlier work interesting, concentrating on commercial artisanal producers and their signature products, but with a solid technical discussion prefacing the producers' section.

I gather that "Global" adds pacific-fusion tweaks to many classics, so it might meet your interest in escaping 'homely baking'.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Brettschneider's "Baker" is pretty hard to find anywhere in NZ these days unless you try online sellers like fishpond.co.nz , so I'm probably not qualified to comment on the book. I understand Rose Levy Barenbaum has a raving view of his works.

"Global Baker" is alright, but it is too typical of contemporary NZ cookbooks: a mix of traditional Anglo-Celtic baking mixes in with the food he has observed in travel or worked in overseas posts (like the Chinese mooncake). I guess if you have Dan Lepard's books Brettschneider wouldn't offer much new insight. Perhaps NZ is still too young as an independent nation to develop a unique culinary footprint, it is all too much like what David Veart described in "First, Catch Your Weka" that "The food trend over the past 25 years...amount to 'we are in a blank state. Please write in us'" - in cookbooks it means we pull a lot of traditional Kiwi stuff (read: traditional English/Scottish food), add in a bit of European pastries from cookbooks the author(s) has/ve read, and Asian ones into the mix.

With regards to instructions, it is a bit spartan. A bit like the Australian Woman's Weekly cookbooks that there are occasional tips along the way, but nothing to rave about.

And BTW, thanks for the Patten information. Not sure if I would want to buy them now. I already have Alison Holst (trad NZ) and Margaret Fulton (trad Aus).

Edited by johung (log)
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Is there any chance we will see Pierre Herme's Larousse des desserts and Larousse du chocolat trabslated into English? They seem to be the most up to date books Herme have concerning his techniques, and his The patisserie of Pierre Herme is now over 10 years old and so do the titles Pierre Herme Desserts and Pierre Herme Chocolate written by Dorie Greenspan.

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This is also something i would dearly love to know, particularly the Larousse des Desserts. What is the current French version like anyway, do any French speakers have this tome?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a copy of Larousse. I think it's a great book, maybe not for total beginners though.

I think both of Dorie Greenspan's PH books would be great for beginners interested in learning

the French Style. DG is a great teacher in her books.

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  • 7 months later...

I have both of Bugat and Healy's books Art of the CAke and Mastering the Art of French Pastry. Missing their French Cookie Book. All are excellent. I have attened a class with Healy and he is a wealth of info. Worth searching out. Try www.ABEBooks.com a consortium of used booksellers affiliated with Amazon. Most current books at lessthan half even with shipping. Good luck

Bill

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