Sherry Yard, the executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck's restaurants, has cast her Desserts by The Yard as a culinary autobiography, organizing its recipes in chapters like "Brooklyn Inspirations" and "London Interlude." This novel approach may frustrate readers seeking, say, cakes all in one place, but helps make the book the fresh and compelling success it is.
The recipes do the rest. Yard has included a wide range of sweets that either polish old favorites--see her Black-and-White Cookies (from Brooklyn days) and Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping (a London creation)--or that invent in ways both enticing and doable. Formulas like Buttermilk Cheesecake; Rhubarb, Apple, and Fennel Crumble; or Concord Grape Soufflés give some idea of her imaginative range, which is, however, always tethered to practicality and good taste. New and seasoned cooks alike will also appreciate her technical niceties (for example, to help soufflés rise, smear butter upwards when greasing mold sides), as well as Sherri's Secrets (for pithless citrus segments, dip them first in cold water then scrape with the back of a knife). With a tempting-in-itself section on basics like Creamy Caramel Sauce, and dozens of color photos, this is a special baking book in every way. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Brooklyn-born Yard worked her way up to reign as Hollywood and Beverly Hills queen of sweet. Executive pastry chef of Puck's Spago empire, she annually creates 1,700 or so perfect desserts for the Governors Ball following the Oscars, such as mousse-filled chocolate boxes on power-painted red carpets the year Julia Roberts won for Erin Brockovich. But Yard hasn't forgotten the rapturous tastes of her childhood; along with celeb-studded, look-at-me tales of her lofty successes, she offers tender memories and recipes for such favorites as Italian bakery Rainbow Cookies. Yard actually delivers what every cookbook promises: news for the professional and foolproof secrets for the avid amateur. From her finger-stirred sugar–water–corn syrup caramel to her assembly-line masterpieces, every ingredient is necessary and every direction makes sense. Fruit desserts, her special passion, transport the reader to Eden. Comprehensive, well-organized and meaningfully illustrated, Yard's book may be the new dessert bible. Color photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
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