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Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops Hardcover – November 12, 2002

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  • Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops
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Editorial Reviews Review

Dorie Greenspan's most vivid memory of her first trip to Paris doesn't have anything to do with the Eiffel Tower, but rather a heavenly strawberry tartlet. Overwhelmed by its extraordinary flavor, texture, and appearance, Greenspan was "hooked on Paris and hooked on the city's sweets." Paris Sweets is the result of 30 years of searching for the most delectable, delicious, awe-inspiring pastries she could find, and then convincing their creators to part with the recipes.

Scattered throughout this delightful book are whimsical illustrations and beautifully written stories about each of Greenspan's favorite pastry shops and the chefs who created them. Some of their recipes, such as Boulangerie Poilane's sweet, buttery, bite-size cookies called Punishments, are quick and easy enough for even a novice baker. And with Greenspan's clear, step-by-step, detailed instructions, Robert Linxe's Grandmother's Creamy Chocolate Cake, an elegant fudgy decadence, and Poujauran's rich, nutty-flavored Financiers, become child's play. Greenspan manages to demystify even the complicated multilayered Opera Cake from Dalloyau.

From the most perfect Crème Brulee and Coffee Eclairs to the stunning Fresh Strawberry and Marshmallow Tart, made with homemade strawberry marshmallows, Greenspan will have you torn between making Paris Sweets at home and going there yourself. And in case you can do both, she's included all the addresses you need. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Greenspan, the author of Baking with Julia and a frequent contributor to the food pages of the New York Times, here compiles recipes from "les bonnes adresses," collecting secrets for perfect madeleines, macaroons, apple tarts and other classic French desserts. She embellishes her cookbook with anecdotes and histories, explaining that, for example, crème brulee is actually a Spanish invention (known there as crema catalana) and that Saint-Honoré is the patron saint of pastry chefs. Greenspan also includes descriptions of some of her favorite Parisian bakeries, introducing American readers to the pleasures of Laduree and La Maison du Chocolat. The recipes themselves often involve numerous steps and a certain amount of technique; although Greenspan writes with a reassuring tone, most of this cookbook is not for beginners. Even the "simple cakes" require practice to perfect. But even if you don't intend to concoct a twelve-step cake called "Bacchus" ("it could send a hedonist's heart racing into overDrive") any time soon, simply reading Greenspan's transporting cookbook might be the next best thing to dessert.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (November 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767906810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767906814
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Called 'a culinary guru' by The New York Times, Dorie Greenspan is the award-winning author of nine cookbooks, a special correspondent for Bon Appetit magazine and a frequent guest on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Splendid Table. Her cookbooks include the bestseller, Baking with Julia, the book that accompanied Julia Child's PBS series; Desserts by Pierre Herme, which was named Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP); Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme; Paris Sweets, Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops; and, most recently, Baking: From My Home to Yours, which named as one of the top 50 books and one of the top 10 cookbooks of 2006. The book won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2007, the same year Dorie was inducted into the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America.

Dorie's next book, Around the French Table, will be published in 2010.

Dorie lives in New York City; Westbrook, Connecticut; and Paris. You can read about her food adventures in these and other places at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Contemplating recipes in this new book from Dorie Greenspan, subtitled `Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops' is much like shopping for antiques in that furniture whose style and construction have survived either decades or centuries of wear and changes in taste is almost invariably of a higher quality than last month's great new thing. You don't even have the disadvantage of having to pay a premium price, as Ms. Greenspan's book list price is lower than many books containing mostly new recipes original with the author and her support team.
Ms. Greenspan is not only reporting recipes from what she believes are the greatest patisseries in Paris, she is telling us from which shops these recipes come, and where these shops are located. Happily, some of these shops even have satellites in New York City. Yum.
All of these recipes are classics. The Madeleine cookie is so important and so well known that Ms. Greenspan gives us three recipes from three different shops. Apparently, there are so many different recipes for Madeleines, she could have assembled a book from them alone.
Cookies are the subject of the first chapter. Following chapters cover cakes, tarts, `pastries and small treats', and `grand gateaux'. The `pastries and small treats' chapter includes such standards as Crème Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Ali-Babas (similar to baba au rhum), Tiger Tea Cakes, Soft Apple Cakes, Whipped Cream-Filled Meringues, Coffee Eclairs, Strawberry and Orange Flower Water Marshmallows, and Hot Chocolate.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Deb Nam-Krane VINE VOICE on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The big caveat about this book is that it has no photographs. That has come to be an expectation for today's better cookbooks, and some of the recipes (such as Gateau Saint-Honore) demand them. However, Greenspan's descriptions are so clear and evocative that you not only have a very good idea of what the pastry in question should look like, you are also transported (or so you feel) into the author's emotions and memories associated with the pastries, bakeries and chefs. The whimsical drawings also help, although they are more of place and ingredients than finished products.

While classics such as madelines, Opera Cake and the aforementioned gateau can be found, many of the recipes are updated versions of classics, such as the chocolate pound cake, Earl Grey madelines and Tigres. There are very few "new" recipes, though the ones included (such as the Chocolate Thyme Mousse) sound delicious. Many recipes are also surprisingly simple, such as the Chocolate Grandmother's cake. Plus, her recipes are so straightforward and easy to follow that you feel like you can tackle something like puff pastry and not encounter any difficulties (for the most part!).

I currently have this book out of my library, but I think it's going to require a permanent space on my bookshelf.
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51 of 62 people found the following review helpful By km on March 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I, too, love Paris and have spent years there as a student. I was delighted to find anecdotes about all my favorite pastry shops - and some others - and very excited to try the recipes. However, I agree with several other reviewers that not all of the recipes in Greenspan's book are not quite up to par. This comes partly from the fact that there are some desserts that Americans do better - the tea cake, being an excellent example. Greenspan's recipe came out dense and dry and absolutely could not compare to my usual cake. That said, there are several great recipes: the chocolate mousse technique Greenspan offers is very unique, delicious and quick, the madeleines tasty, the tarte tatin good. But I would hesitate to make any of these for a dinner party before trying them myself, seeing the collection is so mixed and many recipes simply not what you'd expect.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Kelley on March 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you cannot go to Paris, then buy this book and bring some of Paris to you.
Greenspan (Baking with Julia) has done it again - another book that deciphers and presents some complicated recipes into approachable masterpieces. The recipes work (at least the ones I've tried), and I have foisted them on some of my French friends, some of whom immediately identified it and the shop the recipe came from (Earl Grey Madeleines, from Mariage Frères, for example). That constitutes success.
The book is organized cleverly, with the simpler recipes in the front, and more and more complex recipes as you work your way through. Though Greenspan does not say she is doing this by design, it is clearly the case. After each recipe, she has some tips and suggestions she calls "An American in Paris," in which she tells you things she does to make the recipe more in her own style, as an American living in Paris.
This is not a primer on French pastry, however, and you will learn little about technique; although there are many classic desserts in this book, it is not comprehensive, by any means. But that does not lessen its value.
There are some nice touches at the end of the book, too. Places to buy ingredients that might be hard to find, and of course, addresses and contact information for all the pastry shops that contributed to the book. Get out your Paris street map and start planning your next trip...
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