Patisserie at Home by Will Torrent
|Patisserie at Home by Will Torrent|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Stunning desserts in a beautifully presented book. Don't even look if you're on a diet.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: April 2013|
|Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small|
|External links: Author's website|
I've always been in awe of people who can make great desserts - the ones which taste amazing AND look stunning on the plate. I have used The Roux Brothers on Patisserie by Michel and Albert Roux (that's Michel Roux senior, by the way and not his son) but I found the book almost pernickety in some of its requirements and I've long wished for a book which was rather more relaxed and aimed at the home cook rather than someone who aspired to be a professional chef. Patisserie at Home seemed to fit the bill.
A general point about the book first. As with every book I've seen from Ryland Peters & Small the production values are high - strong covers, clear fonts, high-quality paper and the sort of photography (by Jonathan Gregson, this time) which makes you feel that you could pick a morsel off the page and eat it. (The recipe for classic millefeuille is printed over a background of a cloth which has small flakes of pastry on it. I've lost count of the number of times I've used the side of my hand to remove the crumbs before turning the page!) The cover price is not unreasonable when compared to similar offerings from other publishers and the books are class at a reasonable price.
The book works to a simple, sensible plan. You start with some basic techniques - the making of different pastries, cremes, frangipanes, ganaches and buttercream. There are some finishing touches - usually for decoration and advice on tempering chocolate. You can treat this as a course to work through or as as reference point to refer back to from later recipes. The recipes are then classified as Patisserie, Tarts, Petits Fours, Gateaux and Desserts and finally Bakery and Vienoiserie. It's comprehensive and there really is something for every occasion, from cake to have with tea through to the showpiece dessert for the big occasion.
I recently read Cheesecake by Hannah Miles and every page I read gave me the feeling of I can do this. Miles is a natural teacher. Will Torrent, unfortunately, is not there yet. Pate feuilletee, or puff pastry, in common parlance, is described as quite hard to make, but try it at least once! I read that as 'you'll find this too difficult so you might be better popping to the supermarket'. Macaroons can break people, as they can so easily go wrong, but they have become so popular in the last few years that you just have to give them a go. There were one or two other areas where the wording made me wary of trying the recipe: I'm not so naive as to think that desserts of this standard are going to be easy to make, but I want to feel that I am going to be able to do it. I know - I've accused the Roux Brothers of being pernickety and then done the same thing myself and - in fairness - I would rather use this book than the Roux offering.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For simpler cakes you might like to try Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes or Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl by Xanthe Milton They wouldn't do on Masterchef though.
You can read more book reviews or buy Patisserie at Home by Will Torrent at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Patisserie at Home by Will Torrent at Amazon.com.
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