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The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe Hardcover – October 1, 2004

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The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe + The Pastry Queen Christmas: Big-hearted Holiday Entertaining, Texas Style + Pastry Queen Parties: Entertaining Friends and Family, Texas Style
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580085628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580085625
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This cookbook offers recipes for dozens of classic treats like oatmeal cookies, carrot cake and pecan pie—but often with novel twists: pineapple and coconut swirl through the carrot cake, the pecan pie takes the form of a brownie and the oatmeal cookies are fashioned into "crisps." Still, most of the recipes are pleasingly old-fashioned and sweet enough to send an unsuspecting baker into diabetic shock. The Grasshopper Pie calls for an entire cup of sugar, plus marshmallow crème and hot fudge sauce, and the Bananas Foster Shortcakes deliver sugary banana flavor amped up to maximum volume. The author is the proprietress of The Rather Sweet Bakery and Café in Texas, and she offers several signature Lone Star state desserts: a rich Fredericksburg Peach Cream Cheese Tart, crunchy Texas Pralines and Texas Big Hairs Lemon-Lime Meringue Tarts, with meringue piled as high as a Houston debutante’s coif. The cookbook also offers a few non-dessert selections, mostly soups, salads, quesadillas and the like. Though these dishes are tasty—it’s hard to object to Prosciutto Tostadas with Shrimp and Parsley or a warm, pleasing Wild Mushroom Soup—it’s the sugary-sweet and fun-to-bake Texas-style desserts that make this rather sweet, and rather expensive, cookbook worth the splurge.
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"Every baker, from country folk to city slicker, will find something deliriously delightful to bake in this book. Hail to the Pastry Queen—Rebecca Rather!"
—David Lebovitz, author of The Great Book of Chocolate
"Rebecca Rather personifies the great American bootstrap, built on grit and tenacity upon which communities are enriched and enlivened (and happily well fed). Anyone who bakes from this book will want to meet the Pastry Queen in person."
—Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice
"Texans at their best are honest, friendly, helpful, and engagingly unpretentious. Oh, and pretty darned good cooks. Rebecca Rather, Hill Country reine de patisserie, is all of these things, as will be immediately apparent to anyone who dives into this delicious book—a rich, good-looking, sweet and savory masterpiece, full of baking lore, kitchen tips, charming stories, and (above all) irresistibly indulgent recipes."
—Colman Andrews, Editor-in-Chief, Saveur

More About the Author

REBECCA RATHER has worked as a caterer and baker for 15 years, first for a couple of upscale Houston catering companies and then as the executive pastry chef for a group of high-end Houston restaurants. Then, while overseeing research and development for the Austin-based Schlotzky's Corporation, she studied with renowned artisan baker Daniel Leader. Rather opened her own bakery, Rather Sweet Bakery, first in Austin in 1999. In 2000, she moved the bakery to a larger yet more intimate setting about an hour west of Austin. Rather and her recipes have been featured in Texas Monthly, Ladies' Home Journal, Food & Wine, Saveur, Southern Living, and Chocolatier. She and her daughter, Frances, live in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 96 customer reviews
The book has beautiful pictures too and nice stories.
M. Hendrix
I would love to say I have made them all, but every one I have tried so far, my family really enjoyed so I keep making the same things over again.
The recipes are well-written and instructions are easy to follow.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Dan K. McCoy on November 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is incredible. Since it has arrived, I have made three recipes and they all have been awesome. The recipes are easy to read and understand, and are organized so that no steps are omitted. I especially appreciate notations indicating that mistakes can be made in this step and what to do if it occurs. The Triple Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best I've ever made or tasted. And the Omelette Kolache recipe is worth the price of the book if you ever have to make breakfast for a buffet. Overall if you are new to pastry and want a word class book with fairly simple and uncomplicated recipes - this is it. What Rather's recipes miss from traditional pastry books that resemble art work, she makes up in wholesome goodness and taste that will make this a kitchen page turner. Great job!
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Texan lady makes good with her passion for baking and doing other good cooking Texas style. Such passion becomes infectious evidently from the following she has developed for your bakery and recipes.

This passion continues to ooze out in this delightful cookbook from TenSpeed Press. I've come to realize and trust that if TenSpeed published it, it will have great photos on nice layout with exceptional and exciting food.

This volume continues in that fine train. Rebecca is really into it, and continues to refine and develop new exciting recipes, some her take on old favorites such as King Ranch Casserole and Big Hair Lemon-Lime Meringue Tarts.

This over 150 recipe offering has mostly baked goods, but as her bakery began offering lunch and dinner fare, they are included here as well: Caesar Salad Pizza; All Sold-Out Chicken Pot Pies; Savory Crab and Shrimp Casserole; Nuevo Texas Waldorf Salad.

Savor the baked delights here for us: Triple Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies (three types chocolate);Chef Mark's Southern Comfort Apple Pie; Buttermilk Pecan Pie; Frangelico-Hazelnut Fruit Tart.

There is so much fun Tex-Mex-Germanfood done beautifully for us home cooks to try. The recipes don't call for wild, hard-to-find ingredients nor are any of the techniques that complicated or intimidating. Just wonderful food with clear instructions and suggestions.

Fine, worthy addition to one's collection.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gardener Girl on December 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Having eaten at Rather Sweet many times over the years, I was excited to get this book last year so that I could showcase some of Rebecca's wonderful desserts at dinner parties.

While I was sad to see that some of my favorites were not in the book (she makes the best egg salad I've ever had, and the wonderfully fluffy focaccia on which she serves her sandwiches is out of this world), there are so many wonderful recipes that it really doesn't matter.

I made the White-on-White Buttermilk Cake with Jack Daniel's Buttercream for my husband's birthday. I've never been a fan of white cake, but this one is divine. One suggestion I would make is to decrease the amount of butter in the buttercream -- it seemed to be a bit over the top.

The Tuxedo Cake is incredible. The rich, dark chocolate cake is a wonderful compliment to the simple whipped cream frosting. Not to mention, the cake is beautiful -- it stands at about 10 inches tall when made with the three layers.

Thanks to the other reviewers for pointing out the recipes they've tried and loved -- there are so many wonderful recipes that it's helpful to have a little push on which one to try next.

While I haven't tried the recipes for the Triple Threat Chocolate cookies, any of the muffins, or the Texas Pecan Pie Bars, I've had them in the bakery, and they are all wonderful. My mom was a huge fan of the pecan pie bars, and Rebecca astutely uses brown sugar (as did my grandmother) instead of corn syrup which adds extra flavor and allows the bars to set up nicely.

My all-time favorite item is the Mexican Chocolate Fudge-Pecan Cake.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Susan G. Dunlap on September 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've collected cookbooks for years -- serious cookbooks. As in, IACP Cookbook Award winners. And many of these cookbooks I have loved, but none as much as I love "The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery and Cafe' ".

Cookbooks tend to become a favorite based on their teaching the why behind tools, ingredients and techniques, as well as a "heads and shoulders above the rest" recipe or two.

_Every_ recipe in this cookbook, however, is above and beyond others I've collected. They range in difficulty, but levels of mastery are perfect when a cook is going from familiarity, to proficiency, to mastery. A cook can navigate through all these stages and stick with the same cookbook.

Guests just rave over the recipes, too. There's a balance between those requiring more exotic ingredients (defined as those that I don't already have in stock, such as apple-smoked bacon) to those always kept on hand.

Heaven forbid a housefire, but after my children and my pets, I'd grab this cookbook.
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