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The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern Hardcover – October 16, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (October 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037550429X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375504297
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"First and foremost, everything I make has to taste absolutely delicious," says Claudia Fleming in her introduction to The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. Words to live by, especially when you're the pastry chef at one of New York City's most popular restaurants. Fleming cleverly describes and explains her creations in intelligent introductions to every recipe. She easily justifies her unusual flavor combinations, such as Roasted Apricots with Chamomile and Lavender-Lemon Pound Cake, and carefully walks us through important steps like gently cooking the strawberries and rose wine for her Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rosé Gelée.

Recipes are divided by their star ingredient, and read like a farmers' market shopping list: apples, pears, and quinces; figs, melons, and grapes; herbs and flowers; cheese, milk, and cream. "Composed Desserts" make up the last chapter, and each is paired with a dessert wine. While every one of Fleming's recipes produces a delectable dessert on its own, the combinations she proposes in this chapter are truly memorable. A lighthearted composition like Waffles with Maple-Glazed Bananas and Maple Flan brings a favorite breakfast treat into the dining room for dessert. It's creamy and sweet, crispy and warm, cold and tangy--all at the same time. A number of Fleming's signature desserts are here, too: Coconut Tapioca with Coconut Sorbet, Passion Fruit-Pineapple Sorbet, Passion Fruit Caramel, and Cilantro Syrup (a Gramercy favorite). There are also plenty of recipes for the cookie jar, including the wonderfully soft and chewy Chocolate Brownie Cookies, elegant enough to serve with coffee for dessert. Treats like Milk Chocolate Malted Ice Cream, Mascarpone Cream Cannoli, and Lime-Gingersnap Parfait will have you singing Fleming's praises as loudly as her fans do at Gramercy Tavern. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Claudia Fleming pastry chef at New York's swank Gramercy Tavern is a dessert visionary who has earned a James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef and two Best Dessert Awards from Pastry Art and Design. Some of her restaurant recipes will be a challenge even for the most practiced home bakers, but they are well worth the effort. The book includes 175 recipes, organized by main ingredients. There are chapters on fruits (recipes include Blueberry-Cornmeal Cakes and Tamarind-Glazed Mango Napoleons), vegetables (Truffled Rice Pudding, Chilled Rhubarb Soup) and sweet essences (Earl Grey Ice Cream), as well as the usual suspects like chocolate (Chocolate Espresso Terrine) and dairy products (Goat-Cheese Cheesecake). Fleming also displays a light touch with such unusual herb-inflected desserts as Bay Leaf Flan. The restaurant's wine director, Paul Greico, has contributed thoughtful wine suggestions for each category. Recipes for the individual items are provided separately, but in an appendix Fleming groups them as they appear on the restaurant's menu and explains their assembly process (e.g., Rose Meringues with Summer Berries, Raspberry Sorbet, and Goat Yogurt-Rose Mousse consists of three recipes, but a composition of all three would be a single dessert at Gramercy Tavern). It's easy to see why these recipes whimsical without being silly, daring without ever losing their focus on flavor have won Fleming a reputation as one of today's most talented pastry chefs. 85 color photos. Agent, David Black. (Oct.)Forecast: With a first printing of 30,000 and a seven-city author tour (with demonstrations), this cookbook's commercial prospects are good. Gramercy Tavern's name should help too; since its 1994 opening, it has consistently made Zagat's top five most popular New York restaurants.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

This cookbook is great & the recipes are easy enough to follow!
Amazon Customer
My favorite are cornmeal-nut biscotti the espresso-orange panna cotta and the chocolate caramel tarts.
Rachel Hoffman
I've made up one of my own using these recipes and it turned out wonderful.
rodboomboom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually write reviews but I have to in this case because Fleming's book has exceeded my expectations. I got it as a Christmas gift, and have since made about half a dozen of the recipes for a dessert party I had for my birthday last month. They were all superb, and while some were a little more complicated than others, all were definitely worth it. The party was a huge success, mostly due to Fleming's desserts, which disappeared before any of the others I made. From this book I made the panna cottas (almost too easy), chocolate caramel tarts (they were a lot of work but such a hit), caremelized pineapple (easy), maple flan (turned out perfect), chocolate brownie cookies (a cinch), and goat cheesecake with candied kumquats (very easy, gorgeous). I recommend this book to anyone who loves making desserts and isn't a complete beginner.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love this restaurant & have always loved the desserts. I was skeptical about buying the book because most restaurant cookbooks I have purchased never have my favorite recipes from the restaurant. This one has them all & then some!!! My favorite is the warm chocolate ganache cake!!! This cookbook is great & the recipes are easy enough to follow!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I have been a fan of Claudia Fleming's ever since I first ate at Gramercy Tavern. Her desserts are absolutely astounding. Even if you never eat there, you will be able to approach the experience if you cook from this book.
The book has the high quality I expected. It is beautiful enough to sit on your coffee table, with gorgeous photography and print. But you really will cook from it and enjoy the results, because the recipes are precise, well-written and obviously are aimed for someone who's going to be cooking at home.
The person who would most enjoy this book compared to other dessert books is probably the knowledgable dessert/pastry cook who's way beyond chocolate chip cookies, but Fleming conveys her enthusiasm for desserts of all kinds.
Some other special touches: the recipes are organized by flavor ("tropical fruits"; "stone fruits"; "cheese, milk, and cream"; ) not by "cakes", "cookies" etc. There are wine pairing suggestions. And there's a section on "composed" desserts made up of recipes earlier in the book.
Open your mind and your tastebuds to a special book from a special pastry chef!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is so inventive and intoxicating. The recipes are unlike ones you see in other cookbooks. This is truly a prize pastry chef's peek into the recipes that made her famous and lauded. This is a definite buy for someone who is somewhat skilled in the pastry department or for someone who wants to learn the next level of desserts, beyond chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Wow! I have never eaten at Gramercy Tavern, but have been reading about Claudia Fleming for years in food magazines. And I've always thought her recipes looked yummy, but this book tops everything else! It is amazing, really creative. Her combinations are so clever, like mixing lemon verbena and raspberries in a meringue cake or roasting pears with chestnut honey. I own a lot of other dessert books, but this is easily going to be my favorite. I have poured over every page and each recipe looks better than the last. Chocolate malted custards?! YUM! I've only made the cashew chocolate chip cookies so far but they are perfect. I'll make the buttermilk panna cotta next. The photos are beautiful too, and the recipes themselves are easy to follow and have fun serving suggestions. I just love this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Foy on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a professional Italian pastry chef; this book is the one I use the most at work. I take recipes here and there and figure out if there is a way to make them Italian. This book is very valuable to me because every recipe works perfectly. In a restaurant, we don't have time to re-make something that doesn't come out correctly. I never have to worry about the recipes being off or having to adjust anything to make them come out right. The greatest thing about the book is that she wrote it in the order of the seasons, which comes in very handy for me. She explains everything in such an eloquent yet simple manner... I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes to make their own desserts. I have read a ton of dessert cookbooks and this one has impressed me the most. The buttermilk panna cotta is fantastic, along with the goat cheese mascarpone cheesecake.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was so totally amazed by this book! I like to read and peruse cookbooks as a hobby and I definitely didn't expect this one to be anything above the ordinary. So many celebrity pastry chefs do their own books these days and for the most part, you can't really use the books because the recipes are so complicated and unrealistic. The author of this book did make the same indulgence but she only put it in the last chapter (a short one at that). It certaintly wasn't the focus of the book. This book shows recipes that could actually be prepared and had beautful photographs as well. There are dessert ideas I would of never thought of and I swear, I will never think of vegetables in the same way again. Truly, an outstanding book!
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