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gap

"Zumbo"

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I was wondering if anyone else had purchased the book "Zumbo" or was using it? I just received my copy today.

I bought it on-line from the Adriano Zumbo store at

http://adrianozumbo.com/new-book-zumbo/

(it came signed by the man himself)

But it is also available from other Australian retail outlets such as

http://www.readings.com.au/collection/adriano-zumbo

Or internationally at

http://www.amazon.com/Zumbo-Adrian/dp/1742665713/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317859251&sr=8-1

(not yet available internationally I think)

For international readers, Adriano Zumbo is a very well known Australian pastry chef who has spent time learning the craft with Pierre Herme and others. He has his own stores now in Sydney, Australia.

http://adrianozumbo.com/adriano/

He became more of a household name through his numerous appearances on Masterchef Australia with extremely challenging pastry pieces for the contestants to create and has since had his own (short) series on SBS TV. He also does a lot of food festivals around Australia.

His Masterchef recipes are challenging and can be located at:

http://www.masterchef.com.au/guest-chef-adriano-zumbo.htm

(See the list on the right of the screen under "Adriano Zumbo Recipes")

And his SBS recipes are at:

http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/zumbo/recipes/page/i/1/h/Recipes/

(Click through the different episode tabs near the top of the screen)

His reputation is for being a little "different" - which comes through in the books layout and graphic design - with his pastries and so for me (who owns a number of pastry books already), this was a welcome addition to my collection as it has some unusual flavours/combinations - eg., sticky date, strawberry bubblegum and chocolate mayonaisse macarons to name just 3. The book is broken up into 6 sections:

- Zumbarons (macarons which he is probably most well known for)

- Chocolates

- Pastries

- Gateaux de Voyage

- Cakes

- Desserts

with basic recipes and a glossary at the back.

For a pastry book, the book is good value - $50 (or less at some spots) for a 250+ page, hardcover, book with colour photos on pretty much every page is pretty cheap compared to some others out there. I'll be spending the next few days reading through it and then I'll be trying a few things from it - it'll be nice to make an Australian Pastry Chef's recipes for a change :biggrin:

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Phillipa Sibley's book is coming out very soon. I'd be more inclined to buy that, altho' really, given I almost never cook or even eat desserts my collection--Advanced Bread & Pastry, Dessert FourPlay, Indulge and Everitt-Matthias' Dessert--is already too large.

Still, it's only $22 from Book Depository ...

http://www.bookdepository.com/Zumbo-Adriano-Zumbo/9781742665719?utm_medium=api&utm_campaign=usbooko&a_aid=booko&utm_term=9781742665719&utm_source=book_link&utm_content=Zumbo

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Wow, that's a good price for a book just released.

I should have added above, I have done a fair bit of pastry work before, so the fact that some of the Zumbo recipes have multiple components and a recipe might go over 2 pages of text doesn't bother me. That said, it might not be what every home baker wants.

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I loved Adriano Zumbo's challenges on Masterchef Australia!

gap, does the Zumbo cookbook have recipes that are really difficult, like along the lines of the V8 cake? I have umpteenth general pastry books already so I really want something that's more at the professional level.

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gap, does the Zumbo cookbook have recipes that are really difficult, like along the lines of the V8 cake? I have umpteenth general pastry books already so I really want something that's more at the professional level.

Hi plunk, this is the book for you then. Not an intro to pastry at all. While it doesn't assume pre-requisite knowledge, the recipes are involved and challenging. The cakes and the desserts section have similar things to what he has done on Masterchef.

We tried the sticky date macarons last weekend - they were fantastic

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Hi plunk, this is the book for you then. Not an intro to pastry at all. While it doesn't assume pre-requisite knowledge, the recipes are involved and challenging. The cakes and the desserts section have similar things to what he has done on Masterchef.

We tried the sticky date macarons last weekend - they were fantastic

Awesome, thanks for checking! The cover had me a little bit worried. It seems a little whimsical and home-cook approachable (i.e. not "scary"/challenging enough) versus a slick enough professional level book, heh. Hopefully the book will make its way to North America eventually, at least to specialty cookbook stores if not amazon.

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I found this randomly in the UK shortly before Christmas

An excellent and inventive read

I'm sure it has be-toqued french chef-patissiers turning in their graves

J

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I thought I saw that book in Costco (Canberra). I don't think it was anywhere near $50 as I considered purchasing it. Will have a look the next time I'm there.

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Hopefully the book will make its way to North America eventually, at least to specialty cookbook stores if not amazon.

I've seen it available in e-book format as well. This is from a specialty cookbook store here in Melbourne I use:

http://ebooksforcooks.com.au/product/9781742668666

You can buy each chapter individually this way, which would be advantageous if you weren't, for instance, into the Chocolate or Macaron section. I have no idea what the quality of the e-book is, as I haven't seen it, but it's not too expensive to experiment with a chapter.


Edited by gap (log)

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I have the ebook for each chapter and it is a typical ebook. It suits me just fine and I don't think anything has been left out.

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I have umpteenth general pastry books already so I really want something that's more at the professional level.

It is available on amazon in the US (via other sellers). There is one customer review that gave it one star for being exactly what you are looking for: "All hail the pastry God, but this book will remain unused and the recipes largely unworkable by us mere mortals." http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1742665713/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_opt

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Has anyone tried any recipes from the book?

I've seen Masterchef Australia, and the near-impossible Zumbo challenges. So, am wondering how mere mortals fare with his recipes.

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I've made some of the recipes and read through the lot. It's not a book for beginners, but if you have some pastry experience, it provides some good recipes with interesting flavours.

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I ordered the book online without seeing it first, and I'm really impressed at how good it is. There was always the potential for a cheap & quick effort to ride the Masterchef bandwagon but no- this is a quality effort. I've compared it with Phillipa Sibley's and although her's has positive points, in a side-by-side comparison the Zumbo book is broader in scope yet more comprehensive overall. And cheaper.

The book covers a wide range of areas (Gap listed the 6 sections above), the recipes are challenging but achievable, and the photography is excellent. If you're at all interested in baking or sweets then there's got to be something in here that you'll like and learn from.

I'll add that although Zumbo has been mentioned on eGullet a few times, and not always that positively, I really admire the guy and I love his cakes. I don't get macarons (although I'm happy to eat them) but his gateaux are as creative as anything else being done in Australia and compared to the sheer, overwhelming mediocrity of the average bakery I think he deserves the recognition that he gets. You only need to visit a Michel's Patisserie to remind yourself of how poor the average suburban cafe/patisserie is.

There are a few things that bug me, though, so here are some thoughts:

- OK so I admire the precision in the recipes. Everything is in grams. I love this. But the degree of precision suggests the recipes have been scaled down from industrial quantities by a computer. Do I really need to ensure that I add only 69g water? 108g sugar? 338g cream? I suppose the odd numbers make you pay attention. But it makes the recipes seem very serious...

- Some of the more unusual ingredients are not identified clearly. He seems to use specific trade names rather than generic terms. For example he will list "iota" as an ingredient, not "iota carrageenan", "algin" instead of "sodium alginate", "calcic" instead of calcium chloride etc etc. I'm lucky enough to have built up a comprehensive pantry of specialist ingredients so the lack of clarification here bugs me. I shouldn't have to look up an ingredient that I already have in the glossary just to know what he's referring to.

- In some cases this is quite important. For example he simply lists "gellan" instead of specifying gellan F or gellan LT 100. I assume he's referring to the low-acyl gellan-F, because that's the only type sold by Texturas (the distributor that uses the names 'calcic' and 'algin'), but if his recipes are so precise they specify 69grams of water instead of 70 then you'd expect equally precise directions regarding the ingredients needed.

- To use another example, he has a recipe called "Tanzanie" - named after the "Tanzanie" chocolate that he specifies to use. But which Tanzanie? A quick Google search revealed Tanzanie chocolate is made by Cocoa Barry, Pralus and a few others... I'm pretty sure that Cocoa Barry and Pralus are not the same! If the type of chocolate used is so significant that the recipe is named after it, you'd expect clarification on what it actually is.

- Something I would like to see with the more complex recipes is an overall table of ingredients required. Some of the gateaux have many parts to them and you need to manually add up the totals of all the ingredients to make sure you won't run out halfway through baking. As an example, I started making the 'Tanzanie' gateaux I just mentioned. It has 9 individual components, each with its own recipe- although the mirror glaze also uses a separate glaze as a base, bringing the total number of individual recipes to make to an even ten! So if you're in the mood to spend a day baking the Tanzanie then you first need to sit down and add up all the components in ten separate recipes to ensure you have enough of everything. This only really applies to gateaux and I haven't seen any cookbook that does this, so it's a suggestion- not a criticism - but I had to make an emergency detour to pick up some more cream because I hadn't calculated how much I needed at the start...

But despite these comments I can see myself making a lot from this book, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys baking and doesn't mind a challenge. Now I've got a 26cm square slab of Tanzanie gateaux sitting in the fridge and I'm wondering what will happen to my pancreas if I eat it...

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I'm not a great fan of Zumbo, but that certainly needn't mean the book is poor. I've flicked through it a number of times and can see the positives described above.

The artificial precision is one of those disappointing signs of editorial oversight that isn't concerned enough about the user. Similarly the careless use of branded product names.

Our experience in reviewing books on The Gastronomer's Bookshelf has often been that many books with great potential fail the user due to a lack of vision somewhere in the authorship-editorial-design chain. Cookbook publishing is still mostly about getting books out that will sell... the cook/reader gets to gnash their teeth after purchase.

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I must admit, if I have the scales out I don't really care if I'm weighing 250g or 249g - it's just a number to weigh to, so the level of precision doesn't bother me.

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