From Publishers Weekly
Richard's dessert collection--complete with cheerful, perfect-to-make-on-a-Sunday-afternoon recipes such as strawberry cream puffs, cherry clafouti and Linzer tarts--forgoes food photography in lieu of two-color illustrations with a vintage feel, and presents 50 easy-to-follow selections sans highly stylized sidebars and show-stopping chapter openers. The French-born and -trained pastry chef, and Washington, D.C., restaurateur, steers readers toward "pleasure" as opposed to "perfection" when cooking and baking and succeeds in providing "accessible" and "uncomplicated" dessert instructions. Instead of tips, numbered steps, bulleted lists and charts, the author showcases his gift for storytelling and love of pastry and all things sweet in text-heavy pages complete with dialogue. American classics including cherry pie, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies, have their place alongside French favorites such as crepes, meringues, and éclairs in this delightful and timeless title that feels like a small but worthy indulgence. (Dec.)
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Home cooks too often discover that no matter how much effort has gone into preparing a meal, their guests exclaim most over whatever dessert finishes up the evening’s repast. With that in mind, lauded chef Richard has gathered 50 dessert recipes that ambitious cooks may execute in their own home kitchens. Most of Richard’s desserts arise straight out of classic French cuisine. Brioche, génoise, pâte-à-choux, and puff pastry form the starting point for many of Richard’s sweets, but he describes new, less complex ways to achieve success with these standards, and he reduces their richness to conform to contemporary diets. He boldly explores other traditions, producing undeniably American maple parsnip cake and several variations on chocolate chip cookies. His reinvention of pecan pie featuring a crust scented with Madras curry will horrify traditionalists. Essays convey Richard’s rigorous professional training and personal culinary philosophy. --Mark Knoblauch