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Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake Hardcover – October 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

San Francisco chef Falkner, a former art school student, thinks of dessert as an art form. For those who don't want to wait over an hour at her famed Hayes Valley restaurant/bakery Citizen Cake for her unique dessert landscapes and stunning parfaits, Falkner has penned home-kitchen versions of her edible masterpieces. Before diving into balsamic-apple reduction, eggless lemon curd and Concord grape tapioca, Falkner primes readers on ingredients and equipment. Though most recipes include minimalist versions, this book is most geared toward seasoned bakers who won't quail at suggested time lines starting a month in advance or five-page instructions for Tiramisushi—cocoa roulade sponge cake with marsala mascarpone filling and mocha-rum dipping sauce, to be consumed via biscotti chopsticks. Amateurs may prefer to spend time at the back of the book with the somewhat more manageable recipes for cupcakes and drinks. Color photographs and anime-style drawings help capture the magic of Falkner's desserts, extravagant and emblematic of her commitment to balance and restraint. (Oct.)
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"Fantastic creations with even more fantastic names are par for the course." --KQED "Bay Area Bites"

"Elizabeth Falkner'¬?s new Demolition Desserts is rare among cookbooks. She avoids the reverent or fake folksy tone so common in the genre and manages to serve up some genuine fun-alonside recipes for the kinds of rocking desserts that put her San Francisco restaurant Citizen Cake on the map." --San Francisco Chronicle

Gift Books for Cooks: "This pastry chef's desserts are not only daring, hilarious, and spectacular to behold, they'¬?re downright delicious." --Bon Appétit

One of the Best Cookbooks of the Year --7 x 7 Magazine

One of the Best Cookbooks of the Year --Angeleno Magazine

"Like Falkner, the book is inventive and transcendent of the norm, breaking down the classics and reconstructing them in a way that makes them fun, appealing, and delicious." --Atlanta Journal Constitution

"San Francisco sweet tooths swoon at the thought of one of Elizabeth Falkner's utterly delicious, wonderfully whimsical creations." --Bon Appétit

"Demolition Desserts is as hip, stylish, and sassy as its author. A little punk, a little rock 'n' roll, a lot delicious, and all so Elizabeth. Every recipe is bold and imaginative, yet each delivers what every sweet should: a big serving of old-fashioned comfort. This book is bound to enlighten, inspire, and delight."  --Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking: From My Home to Yours
"Crazy, smart, and beautiful, this collection of Elizabeth's maniacally delicious food is as provocative intellectually as it is satisfying emotionally. Demolition Desserts represents the best of the new generation of hot chefs who have not forgotten food that tastes timeless and delicious."  --Mario Batali, chef and author
"Reading this book makes me want to try all the recipes, proof of Elizabeth's originality and creativity. Nothing here is for show; everything is about taste and the pleasure that comes from tasting. All of the recipes, whether Shagalicious, Rosebud, S'More A Palooza, or any of the others, tempt me, and the book's humor makes it a joy to read."  --Pierre Hermé, chef and co-author of Desserts by Pierre Hermé
"Elizabeth Falkner is the ultimate sugar mama. This was the best tasting book I ever read."  --Robin Williams
"Curiosity and creativity are what make Elizabeth Falkner such a remarkable pastry chef. Demolition Desserts reveals in clear, unmistakably passionate language how her imagination and skill lead to an almost unending flow of delicious and visually striking treats. This book succeeds superbly at both teaching and inspiring."  --Robert Steinberg, co-founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
"Elizabeth is one of the most creative chefs around. In this dazzling book, she brings her beautiful and delicious desserts home for all to enjoy."  --Traci Des Jardins, chef/owner of Jardinière

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580087817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580087810
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Miranda on November 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is not for the traditional home baker looking for something to bring to next week's pot luck. It's not really for the home baker, period, though Falkner has made an effort to provide thorough explanations (she succeeds) and minimalist versions of each dessert. That is not to say that only a professional will enjoy Demolition Desserts, it's merely that most home cooks aren't going to find a book of composed/plated desserts terribly useful.
If you are looking to expand your baking/cooking skills or to find inspiration, however, you'll be very, very excited. One of Falkner's main approaches to creating a new dessert is taking an old dessert and re-imagining and rearranging it: A Banana Split with pineapple sashimi and brandied cherries, a Lemon Meringue pie where each element gets to shine separately, "Tiramisushi" with biscotti chopsticks. Her ideas and the wacky, approachable layout of this book will really get the ball rolling if your looking for a new approach to the same-old, same-old. She even gets into some food science - there's are pages exploring sugar and different gums and thickners. The marshmallow recipe even has a variation using xanthum gum.
If you want to ease into this, the first chapter explores Chocolate Chip Cookies and the publisher's website offers the Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies recipe for downloading.
Demolition Desserts is gutsy and inspiring, not for the faint of heart!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By T. Lee on November 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I stayed up reading this book in bed when I bought it. The book has so much personality but very clear information on the subtlety of dessert making. A cursory flip through the book, the reader might see too many fancy dessert projects too ambitious for the home cook. Upon a closer look, the author breaks down a fancy presentation into each component, and everything is "modular" so one can opt to make only one component, say the cheesecake custard that goes into the fancy assembly of "Waking up in a city that never sleeps" and enjoy the custard very satisfyingly happy by itself.

I have already tested several recipes from the book having recently purchased it. I was very impressed with the writing that delivered the information on handling ingredients which goes beyond simply providing the formula. There are simple iconic desserts in the book as well, including the author's version of the classic chocolate chip cookie, which is simply divine.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
True to Ms. Falkner's reputation as a renowned pastry chef, these recipes are neither simple nor quick. However, neither are they unnecessarily complex, and there are some minor shortcuts you can take if you're in a hurry.

For example, one of my favorite recipes from this book is a stunning s'mores brownie recipe. Delightfully, the book includes recipes for homemade marshmallows and graham crackers so that you can go all-out. However, if you're in a hurry and in need of an impressive dessert, believe me, you'll still impress people if you make this recipe using purchased marshmallows and graham crackers. Likewise, you can make your own eggless lemon curd with which to fill buttermilk cupcakes (don't forget the meringue topping!), but if you find yourself short on time, the cupcakes will still wow people if you pick out a high-quality store-bought lemon curd.

Don't take too many shortcuts, though, because it's worth it to go all-out on these recipes when you have the chance. The date cupcakes filled with toffee and topped with a coconut cream cheese frosting will make you think you've died and gone to heaven---probably right before they send you into sugar shock, naturally.

Sure, these are fancy recipes that take real work and occasionally use specialty ingredients. However, there are plenty of instructions included to make sure you can reproduce them beautifully. I haven't found a single mistake in the recipes we've used, and I just love the cartoons (by Ms. Falkner's brother) included in the book---the touch of whimsy is delightful.

If you're the kind of cook who loves to do more than just gaze longingly at fancy food photography, then this is the fun, delicious cookbook you've been longing for.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I find some of the other reviews on this book odd - this is a book review site, if you want to review her restaurants you are in the wrong place! Similarly, the author's television personality, whether genuine or created for that medium, are not relevant to whether this is or is not a good recipe book and worth buying.

Anyway the book itself. The positives: the humour of the cartoon illustrations, the introduction of more obscure ingredients and the imagination of the presentation. Finally, the best aspect of this book is the way that more detailed recipes are set out. This includes a timetable of how far in advance you can prep some of the components - this is a gerat help if you want a wow looking dessert for a party and don't want to have to do the work at the last minute. One negative is the disagreement between the weights and the volumes for some of the ingredients. As someone bought up on weights, and only recently started to use recipes with volumes, it's confusing if the two measures are not even close. Another issue is one of sizing, one recipe gave rise to portions about twice an appropriate size whereas another was about 2/3 the size of a regular portion, but each recipe that I have tried has worked.

Overall this is a good book for anyone looking for some imaginative dessert recipes as well as standard cookie/ cup cake recipes.
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Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
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