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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She's No Betty Crocker
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...
Published on November 22, 2007 by Miranda

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing chef, but poor recipe writer
Elizabeth Falkner is an amazing chef and makes fabulous desserts, which I have the opportunity of enjoying on a weekly basis, as I live in SF. However, she is NOT a good recipe writer. I work as a pastry chef personally and, although I am self taught and am still lacking in some basic understanding of technique, I think that I can follow and produce a decent end result...
Published on January 30, 2011 by Poor student


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She's No Betty Crocker, November 22, 2007
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done, November 23, 2007
By 
T. Lee (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just beautiful, but practical!, January 17, 2008
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, May 18, 2009
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing chef, but poor recipe writer, January 30, 2011
By 
Poor student (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (Hardcover)
Elizabeth Falkner is an amazing chef and makes fabulous desserts, which I have the opportunity of enjoying on a weekly basis, as I live in SF. However, she is NOT a good recipe writer. I work as a pastry chef personally and, although I am self taught and am still lacking in some basic understanding of technique, I think that I can follow and produce a decent end result on the first try with just about any recipe. I have failed at fifty percent of her recipes on the first and second attempts. End of story. Lidia Bastianich...first try tasts like a recipe passed down through 3 generations. Elizabeth Falkner recipe fails. Elizabeth Pruitt/Tartine Bakery...perfecto...the staff is addicted. Elizabeth Falkner recipe breaks. I give up. It's no fun feeling bad about an end result that you put a lot of work into.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very inspiring book., December 2, 2007
By 
Sara Reich (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (Hardcover)
I got this book as a gift and at first I though the recepies would be a little too complicated for me, but it turns out the are actually not that hard and really really worth making! Each recipe has a "minimalist version" that I do most of time unless I am cooking for guests and want to impress. I don't love chocolate or cupcakes but there are so many otherthings like an amazing rice pudding and shortcake with berries and tarragon and pepper syrup- many surprise combinations that really work well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Wit for Chocolate, May 2, 2008
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This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (Hardcover)
Elizabeth Falkner is a revolutionary pastry chef. She opened her Citizen Cake in San Francisco recently,bringing her unique desserts to the Bay Area and a wider audience. Falkner deconstructs basic recipes, giving them a new form. Creativity is her strength.

In "Demolition Desserts",the desserts are not only delicious to look at--but she has amusing manga-like illustrations from her brother of her punk rock alter ego Caremi Keiki. She throws in different ingredients-like blue cheese, goat cheese,cayenne, and pomegranate. Her chocolate espresso cookies are the easiest recipes in the book. The rest are elaborate, time-consuming,and have advanced equipment. She also brings in fun anecdotes. When giving the recipe for her lemon tart muffins-Lemania-she mentions how Inge,the mother of her partner Sabrina,is a fan of lemon tarts. She gives Tennessee Williams-inspired recipe names like Chocolate Tart named Desire and Suddenly Last Summer. There's the Love-lova,a variation on the Pavlova.

Falkner writes a delicious read! It's sweet!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May not be for the home baker, but inspiring nonetheless., December 19, 2010
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This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book. Sure, I probably won't make 90% of the recipes here, but I loved reading about them and looking at the pictures. Of the ones that I've tried, I think that Falkner has the best chocolate chip cookie recipe that is different enough from every other recipe out there to make a difference. My only complaint is that the recipe was too sweet, but after dialing down the sugar, it worked out fine. Her technique of having the cookie dough rest in the fridge for 30 min before baking seemed to result in a more flavorful cookie, as if the ingredients had the time to get used to each other and bring out their best flavor. So for me, having the book just for that one recipe that has become my chocolate chip cookie standard is well worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High art as baking, July 25, 2009
This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (Hardcover)
Elizabeth Falkner comes to her cookbook writing as an artist. Demolition Deserts refers to her efforts to deconstruct some classic recipes and put them back together in ways we may not expect. There are lots of high concept multi stage recipes to try as well as some simple but very yummy cookies. If you are looking for inspiration to jazz up a jaded desert plate this may be the book for you. I do think that this book is pegged at more experienced cooks with good basic skills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!, December 4, 2010
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This review is from: Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (Hardcover)
Want to expand your dessert horizons? Need inspiration? Then get this book. Great information for the novice right up to those that bake & create every day. It's like going on a dessert vacation!
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Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake by Ann Krueger Spivack (Hardcover - October 1, 2007)
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