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Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes Hardcover – October 28, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“The crowds know something. Dominique Ansel Bakery is a wonderland.” (Pete Wells The New York Times)

About the Author

Dominique Ansel is the chef and owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. In 2013, Dominique was named one of Business Insider’s “Most Innovative people Under 40.” That same year, the Daily Mail UK called him the “most feted pastry chef in the world.” Recently, he became of one Crain’s “40 Under 40.” His bakery has gone on to win every single coveted award, including Time Out New York’s “Best New Bakery,” and holds Zagat’s highest ranking in the category.

Prior to starting his own business, Dominique spent seven years at the venerable French bakery Fauchon, and six years at Daniel, Daniel Boulud’s flagship French restaurant. As the executive pastry chef at Daniel, Dominique was part of the team that led the restaurant to receive its first four-star New York Times rating, three Michelin stars, and James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year Award” in 2010. In 2014, Dominique won the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Pastry Chef Award” for his own bakery.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476764190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476764191
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Kat on October 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book that tells you a bit about the background and personal philosophy of Dominique Ansel, then shares just 31 recipes, including ones for the Cronut(TM) and Kouign Amann.

The book opens with a foreword by Daniel Boulud, a brief introduction, then there are seven short essays on Dominique's approach to pastry and his journey up until now:
1. Time is an Ingredient
2. Beyond the Comfort Zone
3. Don't Listen
4. What's in a Name
5. Create and Re-Create
6. Everything but the Flavor
7. Never Run Out of Ideas.

I've always felt a little bit badly about not liking madeleines, but in the first "chapter", Ansel explains why I find them dry and not that exciting. It's so nice to know that madeleines truly are meant to be eaten fresh, within five minutes from the oven. Now I have a reason to try baking them myself!

In chapter 7, Ansel discusses why he decided to make the lime tart customizable for the customer, and how he designed a groove in the tart to let customers participate in having exactly the sweet/salty/sour lime tart they wanted.

His recipes are split into three sections: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Every recipe is accompanied by a photo of the final product, and every photograph is stunning. It's bizarre, but in the kindle version, the gluten-free label appears with almost every recipe in the beginning section. Some recipes are actually GF, but others call for all-purpose flour.

The beginner section contains:
Hot chocolate (GF)
Chocolate pecan cookies (GF)
Mini madeleines - kindle version labels as GF, but the recipe calls for all-purpose flour.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Robert Brown on October 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Just picked this up. Really like it. Great essays and insights in the first 50 or so pages. Then three sets of recipes organized by beginner, intermediate, advanced. The beginner section isn't too bad and the intermediate section would probably pose some real challenges but nothing too insane. The advanced section is incredible. Some of those recipes go on for pages but I'd say everything is doable given you have the equipment, time, and a way to source the ingredients.

The last small part is some basic techniques. This has pictures too to show the process of laminating a dough, etc. which i found useful as I don't know a ton about baking.

I'd pick it up if you are even mildly interested in baking and Ansel's recipes. He is an absolute genius and this has to have some of the most creative dishes (pastries, etc.) I've ever seen. I wasn't as familiar with his stuff so some of it really blew my mind.

How does it compare to Bouchon Bakery?

On quick glance and off the top of my head, The Bouchon Bakery cookbook is much more thorough in terms of variety of recipes and standard pastries, etc. Dominique's book is very specific to his own unique creations and very intense. I'd say the hardest recipe in Bouchon Bakery is maybe as hard as the fifth hardest recipe in Dominique's book. By hard I mean a lot of things like steps, duration to complete the recipe, and how difficult it might be to execute it.

But I haven't cooked a ton out of the Bouchon Bakery either so not sure how accurate that may be. The biggest difference is Bouchon Bakery really has every standard french baking recipe in it. Breads, sweets, all of the above. Dominique's book has mostly sweet things of his own design that he sells at his shop.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By BeerV on November 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Awesome book. I wish he had more secrets. The At-Home Cronut Pastry is amazing. The instructions are easy to understand and execute. Final products are delicious. Thank you Chef Dominique for sharing your secrets.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C. on October 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The American soul is born from the accumulated cultural nudges of millions of immigrants. It is the soul of a merchant, striving to make it big through hard work and a bit of luck, chipping away at realizing the American Dream. Here we have a Frenchman who made the trip, made it big, and then with the Dream realized... refused to cash in out of commitment to principle and personal integrity. Like a culinary Alexis de Tocqueville, he studied us at a quiet distance in the kitchen of Daniel and in so doing was able to see exactly into our American soul. Rooted in French tradition, he listened to the inspiration found in flavors of our thanksgiving, the inscrutable (to the French) cookie, Peeps, Snickers bars, breakfast cereal among many others. He is not just a pastry chef, but a philosopher, for whom the act of baking becomes a magic trick, an exploration of time and memory, a creative end in itself not minimized by the speculative valuation of the merchant.
How do I know this? Well, I've stood on his sidewalk waiting in line, munching on his apologetic freshly baked madeleine finally understanding why Proust was so transported. I have tasted the Cronut, with enthusiasm, and I have tasted its imitation, I have been to Fauchon (where he was forged) and I have read his book.
Like most of the cookbooks that are coming out these days, the book is by weight roughly half essays and pictures, as much about the vision and experiences of the chef as about recipes. If you go to his shop, you get to pick a number of varied little bites and tastes, so too with this book. It is not written in long form but rather a series of mostly one page ruminations on certain desserts and the themes and creative process that led to them.
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