Nick Malgieri, James Beard Award-winning author of How to Bake
, is first and foremost a teacher. He directs the baking program at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education, so he knows the questions before they are asked--a neat trick when you sit down to write a cookbook for a general audience. With A Baker's Tour
Malgieri presents over 100 recipes for breads, cookies, cakes, pies and tarts, puff, savory, and fried pastry, even dim sum from around the world. What might normally be an alarming proposition, baking the unfamiliar in an American kitchen, becomes a journey of discovery in Malgieri's capable hands. He answers the questions before they are asked.
A Baker's Tour is divided into chapters based on the kind of baking, not the country of origin. After brief words on ingredients and equipment that will come in handy, Malgieri opens with Breads followed by Yeast-Risen Cakes, Cookies, Cakes, Pies and Tarts, Savory Pastries, Puff Pastry, Strudel and Filo Dough, and finally Fried Pastries.
You'll find Ligurian Focaccia you can bake in your oven, not a wood-fired brick behomoth, or Naan for the oven or grill for those who don't have a tandoori oven at home. Prune-Filled Buns, kolache, from eastern Europe and Honey Cakes from western Europe shouldn't be overlooked. Norway's Princess Cream Cake demands an exercise regimen all its own. Egypt's Spicy Meat Pie in a Filo Crust with Yogurt Sauce is as captivating as China's Barbecue Pork Buns (cha shao bao).
There's a world of baking between the covers of A Baker's Tour. Your tastebud-driven curiosity is your passport. Let Nick Malgieri be your guide. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Malgieri (Perfect Cakes
, etc.) is a savvy guide to a panoply of breads, pastries, cakes and cookies made beyond America's borders. Though the European traditions of France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland prevail, he reaches as far as Syria, Jamaica, China and Egypt for dishes as familiar as Chinese Pork Buns and as exotic as Habibi Gullas Bakari (spicy meat pie in filo crust). Malgieri is a likable teacher who begins every section with technique fundamentals and opens each of the clear, precise recipes with a slice of history or a personal anecdote. However, this remains a book for experienced bakers armed with their own standing mixers (used in many recipes) who are ready to tackle complex Gallette des Rois (Three Kings Puff Pastry Cake), St. Gallen Kostertarte (chocolate pastry raspberry jam tart) or Sephardic Baklava. Malgieri excels in the cake section, where he revels in the complexities of Cassata alla Siciliana (ricotta-filled cake) and Kardinalschnitten (Austrian Cardinal Slices); his bread section is least satisfying, with intricate instructions for Lavash and Naan that are almost certain to frustrate. But overall, he does a good job of proving that for skilled bakers, it is a small world after all. Color photos. (Oct.)
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