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Butter Sugar Flour Eggs: Whimsical Irresistible Desserts Hardcover – September 28, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Some people look in a pastry case and see sinful excess; others see delectable taste treats. The authors of Butter Sugar Flour Eggs see ingredients. They have named their book "after the first and most important elements of any dessert recipe.... Butter brings flavor and richness; Sugar lends sweetness and melting textures; Flour provides substance; and Eggs bring it all together. Afterward the flavorings take over: Chocolate, Citrus, Fruit, Nuts, Cheese, and Spice complete the dessert making pantry." Most desserts, the authors allow, have one strong characteristic flavor, or one strong characteristic texture that sings louder than anything else. It's how the authors have ordered the recipes in Butter Sugar Flour Eggs, a clever idea.

So, in Butter, you'll find the likes of Millionaire's Shortbread, while in Sugar, you'll find Brown Sugar Shortbread. In Eggs you'll be tempted by Mango Flan on Chocolate, but in Flour it's more likely going to be Chocolate Chip Pancakes. And that's just to get you started. Because there are chapters for all the basic flavorings, too (Oranges Simmered in Red Wine, Brooklyn Blackout Cake, Nectarine Beignets, Roasted Pecan Ice Cream, Montrachet Cheesecake, Moist Ginger Cake with Orange Icing). And then because holidays tend to pull out all the stops, there's a separate chapter for them as well. Ever get in trouble for playing with your dessert? With Butter Sugar Flour Eggs Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, and Julia Moskin give you permission to do just that. --Schuyler Ingle

From Library Journal

Almost an embarrassment of riches for dessert lovers, here are new books from four talented bakers. Gand and her husband, Rick Tramonto, are the pastry chef and chef, respectively, of their two popular Chicago restaurants, Brasserie T and Tru. Their first book, American Brasserie, included some of Gand's delicious desserts, and now they offer a generous collection of almost 175 recipes, from Millionaire's Shortbread to Sweet-Hot White Pepper Ice Cream. The writing style is slightly precious (e.g., "Butter is a true aristocratAand a modest one"), but the recipe instructions are clear and the headnotes informative. For all baking collections. Medrich, the well-known author of Cocolat and Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, now presents 50 delicious recipes for favorite cookies and brownies, many of them shown in mouth-watering full-page color photographs. There's a good introduction, and each chapter opens with "Here's What I Learned," a brief but informative collection of clever tips. Many of the recipes are classics, and all of them seem irresistible. An essential purchase. Purdy's A Piece of Cake and As Easy as Pie have become classics, and her two recent low-fat cookbooks, including Let Them Eat Cake, have been very popular. Her new book features recipes for all sorts of homey desserts and other baked goods, from Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding to Blue Ribbon Cherry Pie to Sour Cream Spice Cake. The recipe instructions are detailed and thorough, and there are many thoughtful technique tips and other useful hints, as well as variations. For all baking collections. Wilson is a baker and food writer, and her specialty is wedding cakes, the topic of her first cookbook (The Wedding Cake Book). Unlike her extravagant wedding cakes, a number of the desserts in her new book are fairly simple, although many of them feature a "Bake It to the Limit" version, an optional final step for a more elaborate presentation or variation. (The cake recipes, perhaps not surprisingly, are far more complicated than the other desserts.) With recipes for sweets like Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart and Sour Cherry Bars, this is recommended for most baking collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; First Edition edition (September 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609604201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609604205
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
No one in the world of baking understands the '4 basic food groups' - butter, sugar, flour and eggs - like Gale Gand. After a lifetime of collecting dessert cookbooks, this one now has the place of honor, IN the kitchen, not ON the shelf!
The recipes are thoughtful and easy to follow and the results delicious and fun...an unbeatable combination.
AND, can we talk about he BLACKOUT CAKE! It appears that Gale has cracked the code and figured out the secrets of this legendery New York icon. For that alone, buy the book!
This book is a must-have and a must-give.
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Format: Hardcover
My husband and I ended up buying a copy of this book for each other for Christmas. It was a good thing we had two copies in the house for a while because neither of us wanted to put it down. Tiramisu is my all-time favorite dessert and I have tried many recipes and variations--both at home and dining out. I made the Tiramisu in this book for a New Year's Eve party and it was BY FAR the most incredibly wonderful piece of tiramisu I have ever had. It was time consuming, but well worth the effort! The other recipes look equally wonderful and I can't wait to try them!
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Format: Hardcover
This is easily the best dessert cookbook we've ever run across. With everything from traditional long-standing favorites to "nouveau" modern day treats - all of which are easy to follow and very approachable, even for a beginner. Great anecdotes accompany each recipe, which detail the history or creation of the dessert, or provide helpful tips on the preparation. Excellent book - a must for any dessert lover.
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By irkg on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've had some great desserts made from this book -- which is why I bought it -- but I should have looked inside more thoroughly first. The editing is really sloppy.

Most of the yeast recipes are way off. The standard conversion for fresh yeast to active dry yeast is 2:1 -- 1 oz. of fresh equals 1/2 oz. of active dry, 2 oz. of fresh equal 1 oz. of active dry, and so on. But look at cinnamon apple bumpy bread; for 3 cups of flour, it shows the substitute for 1-1/2 oz. of fresh yeast to be 3 oz. of active dry yeast -- that's 12 packets, or 9 tablespoons. The lemon custard-filled sugar brioche shows the conversion for 1 oz. of fresh yeast to be 2 oz. of active dry -- 8 packets, or 6 tablespoons. Most of the recipes call for four times as much active dry yeast as they should. But not all of them. The conversion for the sugar-crusted Breton butter cake is correct. The hot cross buns don't use fresh yeast, but match 2 oz. of active dry -- again, 8 packets -- with 3-1/2 cups of flour. Scary.

I've been baking with yeast for over 40 years, so these major errors popped right off the page for me, but a beginning baker would be left in tears.

There are also errors in the keying of photographs to recipes. I looked in vain for a photo of Brooklyn blackout cake on page 142 -- which is where the recipe says it will be -- but found Gale's famous truffles instead. The blackout cake was on page 149. This is a minor problem -- no one would mistake one for the other, but it makes me wonder where the errors are in the other recipes. Are they major or minor? Are there lots of them or just a few? Did I simply defy the odds and find errors in the first few recipes I happened to look at? Understand, I wasn't looking for errors. It's almost as if they were looking for me.

I feel as if I have to give each recipe a sanity check now, something I shouldn't have to do with a good cookbook.

Buy it, but buy it with your eyes open.
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By A Customer on September 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I baked my first pie using this apple pie recipe. Gale's great instructions took the fear out of pie crust and it was so easy! The crust came out so buttery and flaky without using any solid vegetable shortening. Besides giving thorough instructions, there is useful information on ingredients and baking equipment that other books omit. It's great for any baker experienced or not.
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Format: Hardcover
This book fails to live up to its promise.

I know that people don't like negative reviews, but I want to post this to warn other readers/cooks.

I always like it when cookbook reviewers spell out specific recipes tried (what worked, what didn't, favorites), because it shows that they have actually used the book for cooking and not just as eye candy. So here goes:

I made the Black and Whites (classic New York cookies), but they didn't have the soft texture of what I think of as real Black and Whites. They were glorified, rather hard-textured sugar cookies. Fine, but not exciting. Epicurious.com's Black and Whites recipes is tastier and some might say, more authentic.

Yesterday, I made the Marzipan Torte, and while the taste was okay, the texture was too dense and there were moist streaks where the structure of the cake had collapsed.

I made no ingredient substitutions in either recipe.

I'm giving this book 2 stars where I wanted to give it 1 star, because I have only tried 2 recipes, and in the case of the torte, it may have been my error. If I were to go at it again, I would use superfine sugar in the torte, and I'd make sure that the marzipan/sugar combination was in even finer crumbs before beating it in, and use a larger pan than was specified. However, I fault the recipe for not being more clear about the texture, minutes of beating time, and the ingredients (does it make a difference if one uses canned marzipan or tube marzipan? Superfine or regular granulated sugar?). A more precise recipe would spell this out.
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