The La Brea Bakery had humble beginnings, initially offering only rustic bread. But the locals clamored for more, so owner Nancy Silverton--to ever-widening acclaim--introduced everyone's favorite sweets, including cookies, tarts, crisps, and crumbles. The irresistible sights and smells of a good local sweets shop permeate her second cookbook, Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, a follow-up and companion to Breads from the La Brea Bakery. The recipes are designed with the novice baker in mind (baking tools and ingredients are indexed with brief explanations of importance), but the book courts all levels of baking experience. For the more advanced, Silverton shows how to visually accentuate her creations with richly colored fruits and sugars that create varying caramelized effects in delicious ways. Dough recipes include bobka, brioche, and croissants; in the more decadent sweets department are recipes for cookies, tarts, scones, and an entire chapter on doughnuts. Once you get stuck in La Brea you'll have a deliciously hard time getting out. --Teresa Simanton
From Publishers Weekly
Passionate bakers will find Silverton's latest collection of recipes as absorbing as this year's hottest potboiler: "What happens next?" is the question after each page is turned. Here, the answer is one enticing pastry after another: "quickcakes," quick breads, savories, cobblers and crisps, muffins, tarts, doughnuts, confections. Fans of Silverton's La Brea Bakery fare will want to know how she makes her fudge-swirled Almond Poundcake and incomparable Cinnammon Buns; and what's the secret of those famous Bran Muffins? (Pureed Raisins) Hers are "rustic" but elegant creationsAstraightforward, but evocative of browned butter and vanilla, toasted pecans and ricotta. Breakfast Pastries, for example, include Russian Coffeecake, laced with chocolate and sour cream, and lush, brioche Sticky Buns. Although this is a book for the serious cook, its brisk, encouraging tone and intelligently written instructions could help even a novice turn out memorable Chocolate Madeleines, Ginger Scones or Lemon Picnic TartsAwhile experienced cooks can dive into puff pastry or croissant dough, as well. Anyone would be thrilled to sample this combination of pastries, and Silverton's excellent teaching skills make this volume accessible to almost everyone. Photos by Steven Rothfeld. (Sept.)
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