26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An beautiful reference book for both classic and modern French pastry
Other reviewers have noticed some typos and omissions in this book; clearly there are some, and I hope that the publisher will produce an errata sheet as soon as possible.
Still, in sum, this is just a fantastic work in every other way and I'm not regretting having bought it at all; in fact, I'd recommend that anyone interested in French pastry buy it...
Published 22 months ago by Dylan
77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mistakes that make you wonder?
This is a beautiful book and I also have a number of other Pierre Herme books. However, like the first reviewer, within a few minutes of looking through the book I discovered a mistake in a recipe. The mistake is small and not like the one mentioned in the other review (chocolate cake recipe where the measured amount of sugar is 2+ cups and the weight given is half that...
Published 22 months ago by T. Brown
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mistakes that make you wonder?,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)This is a beautiful book and I also have a number of other Pierre Herme books. However, like the first reviewer, within a few minutes of looking through the book I discovered a mistake in a recipe. The mistake is small and not like the one mentioned in the other review (chocolate cake recipe where the measured amount of sugar is 2+ cups and the weight given is half that amount at 220 g). So which is it 220 g of sugar or twice that amount.
The mistake I found was for the Infinitely Lemon Choux. There is a sweet tart dough listed as the first preparation for the recipe and instructions to put it in the freezer and then 20 minutes later take it out of the freezer and cut into 2.5 inch rounds and then........ nothing. That is the last mention of the dough. It doesnt seem to go with the dessert, it doesnt show up in the photo and there are no instructions at all, following the cut it into rounds, indicating what is to be done with this ingredient.
The sugar for the chocolate cake is a big mistake. The sweet tart dough a small mistake and maybe intended to be a variation on the theme. However, for us to now assume that other than those two items there are no other recipes with editing or recipe testing or proof reading mistakes for what turn out to be expensive and time consuming creations would not seem to be a prudent approach for the "precise" art of pastry nor an appropriate representation for Pierre Herme who is considered by many people to be one of the best pastry chefs in the world.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy editing and a healthy challenge for the experienced home baker,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)A truly beautiful if not a little unhandy book to handle in the kitchen. And that is maybe the core of what is good AND bad about this book. It looks great on the coffee table, with great photography, and insightful back ground info on the recipes, but it disappoints when one is actually trying to bake out of it.
Trying to tackle the Dalloyau's Opéra multi layer cake I ran into sloppy editing in the ingredients. For instance: according to the list you end up using 20 grams of coffee powder, whereas it is in fact 10 grams of which you hold back 10 grams after DILUTING it into water to process later. Sloppy indeed, and double the coffee taste.
In the very first paragraph, Hermé stresses to use a fat free and clean bowl and whisk to proceed with "add melted butter to the bowl" The two separate bowls of batter never come together in the description.
The amount of discrepancies in the conversions is mind boggling. I found 9 conversions to be incorrect in the ingredient list for the Opéra. Some of them were off by a considerable percentage.
It might very well be the case that a lot if not all of the recipes will work after re-adjusting and tweaking. Not being able to trust the basics will make it a less enjoyable experience though, and a bit more of a challenge.
Having said that: Even for leafing through it, reading the back stories or lusting on the pictures, this book is worth purchasing.
Conclusion: Sloppy converting set aside, this is a great book. It's a great looker on the coffee table, and baking out of it is a healthy challenge for the experienced home baker but better left for later if you're a novice.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still going through it, but noticed a mistake already.,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)I have many books by Pierre Herme, in French and English, plus one in Spanish. He is my mentor from afar, as a pastry chef. I have been reading through the recipes, seeing what is there I don't have already (not much, as it has mostly been published before). I didn't get it for new recipes though. I am always looking to glean that little something to make me better. FWIW, the editors have missed a measurement in the Chocolate Cake. They list the sugar as 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp., but state that this is 220g. It actually double that gram weight. 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. is roughly 450-460 grams (depending on the grind of your sugar), which is roughly a pound. This was the first recipe I looked at to see what version of Chocolate Cake this might be. It is similar to all of the molten chocolate cake recipes out there, but fully baked through.
Here's to hoping there aren't many other mistakes. This one I could do without, being that I have many other books by Herme.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Return your copy to Amazon and await the reprint!,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)The book is out of stock for a reason. Abrams, the publisher is reprinting it with the corrections.
I contacted them last April requesting an errata sheet. They first had the nerve to tell me to send them errors as I came across them. I indicated that I did not spend over $30 on a cookbook to test out recipes and be their unpaid editor. They indicated they would be issuing an errata sheet in a few months. No errata sheet ever surfaced.
I contacted Abrams again on Sept 25 and they indicated that they are not issuing an errata sheet for the first edition. Rather, they are reprinting the book (due out in November 2012) with all the corrections. I called Amazon and they indicated that I could send the book back to them (they graciously provided the prepaid label) and then reorder the book when it's been reprinted and is back in stock.
Shoddy way to handle the problem on the part of the publisher, but kudos to Amazon for issuing a refund. If you're in the same boat, stuck with the first edition that is unusable as is, contact Amazon or your bookseller and request a refund or a trade in.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars beautiful but frustratingly innacurate.,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)If you spend good money on a book like this with beautiful pictures, great background info ...you expect the recipes to be correct.
The very first cake I made was the opera slice.
The mistakes in the recipe and instructions are just incredible.
Amounts incorrect. Processes incorrect. By the time I'd realised while blindly following the recipe, (silly me) Id wasted god knows how many eggs.
I found the correct quantities and instructions by then googling the opera cake and making a comparison.
Now Im unsure whether to follow any of the recipes or research them elsewhere before attempting it.
Whats the point of the cookbook if you cant trust the recipes.
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An beautiful reference book for both classic and modern French pastry,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)Other reviewers have noticed some typos and omissions in this book; clearly there are some, and I hope that the publisher will produce an errata sheet as soon as possible.
Still, in sum, this is just a fantastic work in every other way and I'm not regretting having bought it at all; in fact, I'd recommend that anyone interested in French pastry buy it immediately. I was thinking of docking the book one star for these problems, but in retrospect, I decided that this book is so outstanding on other dimensions, that I still think its worth five stars to its intended audience.
To give you some background about me, I went to cooking school in France and have been a fan of Pierre Herme's for years. I have a number of his French language books as well.
There are simply very few English language publications that go through the entire oeuvre of French pastry and give carefully refined and well thought out versions of every one of the classics. This book does that, and it does it very well. It's just really nice having a definitive recipe for basic things like chocolate eclairs and vanilla mille feuilles. But, I just love the way he's structured it. For each 'classic,' there's also Pierre Herme's modern interpretation of the recipe, with new flavors and methods.
I have no doubt that these are the precise and actual recipes used by Herme himself. It does not appear that anything has been left out or 'dumbed down' for the US audience. Sometimes this means that you may have go to a professional ingredient supplier to get certain items, but these days with the internet, this is not really a problem.
All of the recipes are laid out with metric, weight measurements. As some have mentioned, the conversions to volume measures might be off in certain cases. If I were making one of these recipes, I would rely on the weight measurements and ignore the volumes. I think anyone tackling professional recipes like these probably owns a scale.
Ultimately, this is a professional book, or for people with a very intense interest in pastry. These are time consuming but extremely interesting recipes which pass on many 'tips of the trade' that are missing from most American publications. It is also a beautiful coffee table book for those who don't plan to make any of the recipes (and those people won't care about the occasional typo.)
About the only thing I wish this book had were some line drawing diagrams that show how the elements of each recipe actually get put together. Many of the more complex desserts have 6-8 different elements, and seeing visually how they come together would make it much easier to produce the recipe.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For professionals,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)Being a very keen amateur pastrycook for a number of years I was attracted to the idea of all the classics in one volume. The book is well set out with gorgeous photography, however a lot of the photos are of the authors visions of alternative ideas on classics.Whilst the classic recipe is there , the alternative versions are often incredibly complicated and require ingredients which would be difficult if not impossible to source. They also involve large amounts of time and making of the various flavours and ingredients before the item could be reproduced .Although it is a lovely book it is really for a professional kitchen with staff and an unlimited budget.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So after testing a number of the recipes....,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)there are a few "mistakes" in the text, but this is nearly irrelevant to the pleasure that one can take from this book. It looks like a great coffee table book with fantastic photographs of the resulting pastries. These are so good that the book qualifies as food porn.
If you have bought this book to try the recipes then you will not be disappointed, but you will need to take care and read the recipes closely. I have now cooked ten of the recipes which are divided between the classic version of the pastry and a modern twist. A number of the other reviewers have already mentioned the discrepency between the weight and volume measure in the chocolate cake recipe and the jump in the instructions for the recipe for joconde biscuit in the recipe for Opera. There is also a similar jump in the instruction for the green tea fruit cake. The weight for butter in the lemon cream is also inconsistent with the volume given.
Do these matter? It is not a book for a novice and anyone with more experience would understand what was required in the missing instructions. I know that my subsequent attempts at some of these pastries will improve because I will adjust the amounts/ cooking process/ techniques for my personal preferences and the quality of the ingredients that are available in the US (e.g. different water content in butter, corn starch in icing sugar compared to Europe).
I would give this book 4 stars for its instructions, but 5 stars for imagination and its ability to inspire. Overall I have given it 5 stars because I have enjoyed cooking the recipes and seeing the results.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm speechless!,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Revised Edition) (Hardcover)This book is too good to be true! Really outstanding!
I was afraid to buy it due to previous reviews I have read, so I waited patiently for the revised edition. Now that it was revised, the book is perfect! A must have! The recipes are complete and the pictures are breathtaking! Can't wait to do all this wonderful desserts! P. H. is indeed the great master of patisserie!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The amazing Master of French Pastry!,
This review is from: Pierre Hermé Pastries (Hardcover)I have almost everything published by Herme in English and in French. Pierre is a master of lightening classic recipes and developing combinations that are true signatures to his genius. His recipes can be intimidating, but get organized and then bake like a Frenchman!
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Pierre Hermé Pastries by Pierre Hermé (Hardcover - March 1, 2012)
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