Jul 15

Pastry Indulgence

After many months of not having a new cookbook to indulge my senses and inspire me to get into the kitchen I decided to go a bit mental and bought THREE in one go. Lately, I have been dying for all things in the realm of French pastry … but I suppose when one thinks of pastry, especially the classic ones, France would not be too far off in the back of ones mind.


As I have said before, I consider myself a beginner in the field of baking and I try to focus on making the classics simply to get the technique right. It is my good fortune to have been given the opportunity to move to Europe 2 yrs ago; Amsterdam to be precise … which basically puts me at France’s doorstep. So far I have been to Paris twice, and to regional France about three times now, and each time I make it a point to visit the local boulangerie for my French pastry fix I mean, how could I not? R always demands a bag of meringues when we’re across the border south … and he doesn’t want the small ones either.



Anyway, I needed a hit of new books, so here is what I picked up :



Michel Roux Pastry : Sweet & Savoury (2008)



First book I placed into my online shopping trolley was this book by culinary legend, Michel Roux. What I liked about this book, first and foremost, was that just inside the cover is written a note that reads : “To all young cooks to encourage them in the art of pastry making.” A very simple yet poingnant sentiment that speaks volumes to me. There are days where I feel the need to draw on words such as these to keep me motivated and to steer me into the kitchen; to inspire me to keep going.


I also bought this book because it’s very educational. Topics covered include pastry techniques, making shortcrust pastries, enriched sweet pastries …. basically its the essentials to baking classic French pastries accompanied with high quality photographs. A wealth of information is in this book from the master himself. The instructions are concise, easy to follow and the pictures are gorgeous. It also pleases me that all the measurements are in metric rather than the imperial system.


 The final reason for buying this book is printed in it’s title ~ Sweet & Savoury. I may adore my fill of pain au chocolat and flan Parisien, but make no mistake, I can never get enough of savoury tarts either. I practically live on quiche whenever I am in Paris, so it would be good to make my own as opposed to buying them in a supermarket. Once you sink your teeth into a French quiche there is no going back to supermarket versions. So, very happy with this purchase; it’s classic, it’s French. Enough said.




Claire Clark : Indulge (2007)



Next book was this one by Claire Clark, featuring a hundred indulgent desserts from tarts, to syllabub, fruit fools to ices. Again there is a wealth of information within its pages about the secret to making the perfect cake or pastry, but in general it reads more like a cookbook than an educational / training tool. The desserts come in a wide variety … some classic, some are modern creations … perfect for spicing up my dinner table during special occasions. Not as many pictures, but the ones in there are still stunning to behold.



Claire Clark : Indulge (2007)




Claire Clark : Indulge (2007)



And last but not least, my most expensive purchase of the three, it’s Pierre Hermé’s Pastries. What a decadent book in its own right … the pictures themselves looks to stunning I could just eat them off the page. This book was a bit of a splurge for me but no regrets. It’s a brilliantly presented hardcover book with recipes for the cakes and many of the sweet treats this master pastry chef is famous for.



This book is divided into four distinct sections: The Doyens of Pâtisserie (French Classics), Pâtisserie with Terroir (Regional Delicacies), Multi-Storied Pâtisserie & La Pâtisserie Moderne. Everything about this book is sublime and I am so happy I got it. I go to bed reading and looking at the pictures … and then I dream of being able to make everything in this book with grace and effortless finesse.



Pierre Hermé : Pastries (2011)



 In love with France … in love with it’s food culture. I think I shall go to bed a very happy person tonight.





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