The Art of French Pastry

The Art of French Pastry

Book - 2013
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Winner ofnbsp; the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Cookbook, Dessert & Baking

What does it take to perfect a flawlessnbsp;éclair? A delicate yet buttery croissant? To pipe dozens of macarons? The answer is: an intimate knowledge of the fundamentals of pastry. Innbsp; The Art of French Pastry nbsp;award-winning pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, cofounder of the renowned French Pastry School in Chicago, gives you just that.

By teaching you how to make everything from pâte à choux to pastry cream, Pfeiffer builds on the basics until you have an understanding of the science behind the ingredients used, how they interact with one another, and what your hands have to do to transform them into pastry. This yields glorious results!nbsp;Expect to master these techniques and then indulge in exquisite recipes, such as:
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;napoléons / Mille-Feuilles
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;cream puffs
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;Alsatian cinnamon rolls / chinois
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;lemon cream tart with meringue teardrops
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;elephant ears / palmiers
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;black forest cake
as well as some traditional Alsatian savory treats, including:
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Pretzels
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Kougelhof
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Tarte Flambée
·nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Warm Alsatian Meat Pie
Pastry is all about precision, so Pfeiffer presents us with an amazing wealth of information--lists of necessary equipment, charts on how ingredients react in different environments, and the precise weight of ingredients in grams, with a look at their equivalent in U.S. units--which will help you in all aspects of your cooking.

But in order to properly enjoy your "just desserts," so to speak; you will also learn where these delicacies originated. Jacquy Pfeiffer comes from a long line of pastry chefs and has been making these recipes since he was a child working in his father's bakery in Alsace. Sprinkled with funny, charming memories from a lifetime in pastry, this book will have you fully appreciating the hundreds of years of tradition that shaped these recipes into the classics that we know and love, and can now serve to our friends and families over and over again.

The Art of French Pastry,nbsp; full of gorgeous photography andnbsp;Pfeiffer's accompanying illustrations, is a master class in pastry from a master teacher.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.
ISBN: 9780307959355
Branch Call Number: 641.865 Pfe
Characteristics: xxxi, 395 pages : colour illustrations.
Additional Contributors: Shulman, Martha Rose - Author


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Apr 01, 2018

This book is a combination instruction and recipe book. It is in league with “French Patisserie” by Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts, available at the library. IMO “Patisserie” is the best instruction / recipe book on French pastry and Pfeiffer’s book comes second.

I copied his nut roasting time chart to my computer. Very handy.

Recipes are both helpful and a bit annoying. He has a “before you begin” list of tools and other things to have ready. And it’s nice that he lists ingredient amounts in both cups and metric. But the recipe instructions only refer to the metric. So I was constantly having to turn back to the ingredients page to see how much to use in recipes where an item is used in different sections (like butter in both cake and frosting). Since the book is in English, his largest market is the US so putting US measurement references - or both - in the instruction section would make more sense to me.

Pfeiffer includes only a few cake recipes, but the book “Extraordinary Cakes” by Karen Krasne covers that topic beautifully! This book is available at the library.

Pfeiffer has very helpful tips for proper doneness for most recipes. My favorite side comment: “Underbaked puff pastry is a sacrilege.”

ksoles Mar 15, 2014

Part instruction manual, part personal history and part science lesson, "The Art of French Pastry" puts intricate confections within the reach of the experienced home baker. In his opening chapter, Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer lays out foundation recipes upon which he bases the rest of the creations in his book. He instructs readers on how to work with yeast, a piping bag, sugar, eggs, meringue, chocolate and fruit; then, he launches into five more chapters of stunning, meticulous recipes for eclairs, tarts, cookies, cakes and Alsatian specialties.

But even before Chapter One, Pfeiffer pleads home pastry cooks to throw away their measuring spoons and cups and weigh all ingredients on a digital scale. He displays equal passion for quality ingredients, extolling the virtues of European butter over lower fat American butter. For puff pastry, he recommends King Arthur all-purpose flour with a midrange level of gluten. Only whole milk (preferably organic) will suffice and any unseasonal fruit will ruin the finished product. Picky? Yes. But precision, Pfeiffer argues, results in perfection.

Every recipe begins with an estimate of yield and time commitment along with a section called “Before You Begin,” which lists equipment requirements. Each recipe also has a table of ingredients listed in order of use in addition to notes, tips, and both a reminder to weigh the ingredients and to read everything twice before you begin. And the chef proves correct: once broken down into steps, a four page recipe requiring two days of effort becomes logical, efficient and possible.

Geared towards neither the faint of heart nor the inexperienced, "The Art of French Pastry" provides beautifully organized, systematically written, and well-photographed recipes for those willing to commit. Jacquy Pfeiffer has truly mastered the art of teaching French pastry and his book offers readers the opportunity to become his students.

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