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Favorite Pastry/Baking Books?


mixmaster b
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Wow! What a ton of suggestions! I'll be busy checking these out before purchasing. As an aside, I bought a lazy susan type thing at Ikea last trip, and used it to frost a cake last night for a dinner today. Wow! What fun to spin that cake around! I can't believe I didn't already have one. FWIW - it was a Haleakula Cake (sp?) white cake with pineapple filling and marshmallow frosting. Used up all the egg whites left over from recent ice cream making. Yum. Coconut sprinkled on top. Nice summery cake.

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I just received an Amazon gift certificate for my birthday.  I would like to spend part of it on a pastry/baking book. 

I guess I want something clear, concise, and instructional.

One of my favorites is COCOLAT by Alice Medrich...Lots of pictures -and lots of cakes but more of a pastry book than a cake decorating book per say...

The recipes are good too! It's not a new book so you can probably check it out at your library first.

Edited by Matsu (log)
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  • 4 months later...

I've read many threads lately in which I've seen cookbooks mentioned many times which leads me to think they might be worth checking out, lol. I usually look for specific recipes on the web, but I really enjoy reading cookbooks, getting ideas and sometimes actually trying the recipes! So far, I have RLB's Cake Bible, Nick Malgieri's Chocolate (on loan from a friend), Le Cordon Bleu's Dessert Techniques, Colette Peter's 1st Cake Decorating book (Autographed at ICES convention in NO this year!) and my trusty BH&G red and white cookbook. I also have a few regional cookbooks.

I'm a home baker. I LOVE to bake. My friends and family love for me to bake, lol. And I would like to hone my skills and repertoire to someday turn my love of baking into a career. I would like to get "Baking with Julia", Cook's Illustrated, something by Pierre Herme and Paris Sweets.

Any other good basic ones and maybe specifically which ones from the above list?

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Baking with Julia used to be my go-to general-purpose book until I added Baking Illustrated... which I love. You can't go wrong with either one: Baking Illustrated has perhaps a bit more depth and Julia is a bit more entertaining.

~A

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Baking with Julia used to be my go-to general-purpose book until I added Baking Illustrated... which I love. You can't go wrong with either one: Baking Illustrated has perhaps a bit more depth and Julia is a bit more entertaining.

~A

"Baking with Julia" has exceptional photos too!

SB (also uses the King Arthur Flour 200th Annniversary Cook Book quite often) :smile:

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My favorite would be: Bo Friberg's Profesionnal Pastry Chef, vol 1 and 2 (specially vol 1). Great books. Worth their weight in gold!!!

Hermé's books are also very good. I like the chocolate one better ( I don't remember the exact title) than the other ones. His tarts are really very good and so easy to make!

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The way I buy cookbooks is to check them out from the library. If I renew it the max number of times and then want to check it out again, I order from ecookbooks.com. An order of more than $25.00 (their cookbooks are greatly reduced in price) qualifies for free shipping, which often means I get to order a second cookbook!

I love Baking with Julia. I have, in fact, given it often as a gift. It is a fairly complete cookbook, as as mentioned above thread, Julia is witty and entertaining. She's never steered me wrong.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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The professional books I have are the Bo Friberg and Wayne Gisslen, they're great for reference, for looking up the basics before doing more research or experimentation. The others that have been recommended are all good and I second the vote for them, so now I'll just mention a few that I personnally reach for more frequently than others..

For recreational baking, I love every single one of Maida Heatter's books - and have gone through several copies of Great American Desserts and New Book of Great Desserts. I like RLB's Christmas Cookie Book. I like Mary Crownover's cheesecake book (a lot of the flavors rely on alcohol or juice concentrate but there are a few real keepers in there like the Cranberry Orange cheesecake). Anything Dorie Greenspan writes is worth having. And the Village Baker's Wife (Gayle's Bakery) is a fun book with lots packed in.

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Larousse des Desserts by Pierre Hermé.

Best pastry book. Ever. None of my other books even come close. If I were to move and could only take a single book with me, this would be it.

Downside - took me forever to aquire a copy, and I could only find a french language version (good news however, I'm fluent in french and english). It has hundreds of recipes, thoroughly describes every technique (worth the price just for that), tool, ingredient, layout is great. I would have paid much more money for this info than I did, at 60 dollars I consider this book a steal.

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- Anything by Maida Heatter. She is the goddess of desserts. Every recipe is a treasure. Doesn't have a great TV personality and thus never got a show of her own, but is a national treasure.

- King Arthur's Baking Book and Cookie Book

- Francois Payard's Simply Sensational Desserts

- Bruce Healy/Paul Bugat's Mastering the Art of French Pastry, Art of the Cake

- The desserts in any of the Barefoot Contessa books. Always easy and always delicious

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I'd like to recommend The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle. Nothing like a bible or anything but a good all around cookie book. Almost every recipe I've tried has not let me down. If I need something quick I turn to this book because I know the recipe will turn out right. And she also has some savory recipes as well for breadsticks & crackers that are very good.

Some tips & pointers on ingredients & the best cookies to package for shipping & giving..etc. Just a nice book to have around.

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- Bruce Healy/Paul Bugat's Mastering the Art of French Pastry, Art of the Cake

Sadly, the Art of French Pastry is OP and rather scarce--I recently tried searching for one, and they're kind of pricey. Art of the Cake is readily available (and yes, worth having--excellent clear and detailed descriptions of procedures).

"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...
- King Arthur's Baking Book and Cookie Book

If I could only buy one, should I buy the King Arthur's Baker's Companion or the 200th Anniversary book?

I'm thinking of picking one up, as I see a lot of pointers to the KA book (but those pointers don't always specify which one).

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A new one that I've picked up recently and totally love is the Wine Lover's Dessert Cookbook by Mary Cech. It's great basic book for learning about wine pairings and has wonderful recipes. I never go wrong with her stuff. It's a beautiful book.

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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- Bruce Healy/Paul Bugat's Mastering the Art of French Pastry, Art of the Cake

Sadly, the Art of French Pastry is OP and rather scarce--I recently tried searching for one, and they're kind of pricey. Art of the Cake is readily available (and yes, worth having--excellent clear and detailed descriptions of procedures).

Yeah, I know that's kind of easy for me to toss in there...I've got one, and I was stunned to see what they sell for.

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  • 3 months later...

What pastry books have been influentcial in your pastry/baking career and remain special to you because they contained a recipe you would make again and again?

So far my top picks:

Death By Chocolate-Marcel Desaulniers

Baking With Julia- Dorie Greenspan

The Last Course-Claudia Fleming

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"La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé" -- guess who?

For taking my understanding of the art of pastry to another level, and inspiring me to really take the time to piece together complex desserts. (And go to school).

"Chocolate Obsession" - Michael Recchiuti

In an industry whose major players are rarely willing to divulge any of their secrets, this book is a refreshing change. The amount of information provided is staggering. This is easily one of the most amazing non-professional books ever published.

Formerly known as "Melange"

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