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The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion Hardcover – June 7, 2010


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The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion + In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love + Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393059537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393059533
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Yosses, executive pastry chef at the White House, and Clark, a noted New York Times food columnist, showcase elegant, luscious desserts suitable for a variety of occasions from brunch to potlucks to fancy celebrations. Recipes are well-detailed and easy-to-follow, even for the novice, and potentially unfamiliar techniques or temperamental ingredients such as segmenting oranges, varieties of yeast, making great meringue, and how to avoid crystallizing caramel are highlighted. With flat and chewy chocolate chip cookies, blood orange squares, grand old-fashioned blueberry jelly rolls, and orange-scented olive oil cakes with fleur de sel, there is something for every palate. The authors include a section on restaurant desserts that can be made at home that includes warm molten vanilla cakes, butterscotch–dulce de leche pudding in teacups, and Bouley banana chocolate tart. They also include recipes for confectionaries such as cardamom nut butterballs, sandy pecan pralines, and coffee toffee. Each recipe lists special equipment needed, and there's a handy baker's minimum equipment list for those who want to increase their tool arsenal. Enhanced by more than 100 delectable color photos, this book is a must-have for all serious bakers and the only book those with a passing interest in baking will ever need. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“In the world of dessert books, this one is worth buying. Bill’s creations deliver exceptional taste and are written for the home baker.” (Daniel Boulud)

“Starred Review. A must-have for all serious bakers and the only book those with a passing interest in baking will ever need.” (Publishers Weekly)

“For the past thirty years, Bill Yosses has gained a quiet, unsurpassed celebrity among chefs and pastry enthusiasts. The Perfect Finish is the summation of that career, and it’s the most impressive homage to baking I've seen in a long time. It’s beautiful—a testament to his flawless artistry. It’s practical—organized to suit both the spontaneous and the occasion-specific baker. And it’s wise—full of Bill’s unimpeachable skill and knowledge. It’s perfect, really—an accomplishment that would be remarkable, were it not so predictable.” (Dan Barber, Blue Hill)

“Bill Yosses knows how to rise to an occasion. If it is a State Dinner or a simple supper he knows exactly the sweet note it should end on. The Perfect Finish represents Bill’s generosity perfectly and shares with the reader a lifetime repertoire of clever tricks and techniques in the pastry kitchen.” (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse)

The Perfect Finish passes my first test for a cookbook, which is: Does it make me daydream about the dinner party (or brunch) at which I’ll serve these recipes? In this case, the “yes!” came from the retro-fabulous Bouley banana-chocolate tart, which derives its cleverness from fruit caramelized with lime juice. Or maybe it was the creme-fraîche pancakes, the chocolate-caramel tart with sea salt or the chocolate-chunk cookies goosed with Nutella.... Their useful tips...make cooking from this book a reassuring experience, like having a fairy godmother in the kitchen. I hope the Obama girls are taking notes.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“I had the honor and pleasure of working with Bill Yosses many years ago as young chefs at the Polo Restaurant in New York City …needless to say, he has achieved so much since our early days together. His current work The Perfect Finish lives up to his reputation of being in the forefront in the world of pastry today. His interpretation of classic American desserts is timeless in its simplicity and execution.” (Thomas Keller, The French Laundry)

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Customer Reviews

Wish authors would review book and put corrections online somewhere.
NagonMom
Sure enough, the ingredients list 2 large eggs separated but the instructions simply say "add the eggs".
WebShopper
The good news is that this cookbook is good for your average and above average baker.
Peabody Jennifer Johanson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By WebShopper on August 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
So many cookbooks are hurriedly produced and thus contain many errors. It is a disappointment that this book falls into this category. My first attempt, "Red Eye Devil's Food Cake" (pages 183-185) had two errors, one minor in scope [wrong instructions for creating multiple layers from a single layer cake] but one fairly major, listing "2 cups of coffee (8 ounces, 230 grams)" as an ingredient. Well, I had no idea if they really wanted 2 cups of coffee or 1 (it was 2, I had to re-make the cake after going with 1 cup). Then I thought I would try "Fluffy Golden Waffles", page 16. Sure enough, the ingredients list 2 large eggs separated but the instructions simply say "add the eggs". On page 18: 1 cup of cake flour weighs 113 grams; on page 25: 2 cups of cake flour weigh 450 grams! Need 4 large eggs? Page 18, 7 ounces/200 grams; page 183: 6.3 ounces/193 grams; page 57: 8 ounces/220 grams. The mistakes and inconsistencies are abundant. I recommend readers wait a year or more for a 2nd edition which should have the kinks worked out. Oh, and skip the part on page 'x' of the Acknowledgements where the authors sing the praises of "the greatest cookbook editors" and brag of the "meticulous testing" done. I think not.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By The Perfect Finish on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hello Readers of "The Perfect Finish".
Our apologies for the misprints in the book, I hope the following corrections help.
Measurements
1. page 25, 2 cups Cake Flour is 8 oz (not 16oz)
2. page 25. half cup sugar should be 3.5 oz (100grams) (not 6oz, 170 g)
3. page 183, should read "2 cups strong brewed coffee (16 oz , 454 grams)
4. page 186, second line should read "repeat TWO more times to obtain 4 layers from each of the two cakes
5. page 217, ingredients for PEANUT BUTTER WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
should read 2 ¼ cups heavy cream (18 ounces. 513g)

Methods and Direction;
6. page 150, directions "FOR THE CAKE" step 3 last sentence, "set on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet" is meant for step 5 when you are glazing the finished cake.
7 page 26, step 5 should read "Whisk together sugar, lemon juice and zest" not "egg white and milk" .
8. page 183, Red Eye Devils Food Cake just above the recipe should read:
"MAKES 1 (9 -INCH ) 8 LAYER CAKE TO SERVE 10".
9. Page 193 and 194 Small Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake; the 4 large eggs are whole not separated

Thank you,
Bill
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeth on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is the kind that makes experienced bakers salivate. The recipes listed are creative and refreshingly different. Nearly every page made me want leap up and start preparing that recipe immediately.

Imagine my disappointment when I began baking and discovered that the book is riddled with typos. The number of cups of cream called for in the ingredients list in the Devil Dogs recipe, for example, is significantly short of the number of cups called for over the course of the recipe; buy the amount listed, and you will find yourself running short in the middle of a tricky step. The photo of the Orange Glazed Olive Oil cake shows a dense, moist cake akin to a fallen souffle. The 4 eggs, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda called for, though, results in a fluffy pound cake. I suspect the actual recipe required the eggs alone.

Take a look at the table of contents, with its wildly creative ideas. Then go off and make up your own recipes; you have about as much chance of success as you do trying to follow the instructions given in this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robyn E Spence on September 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book has wonderful inspiring recipes/photographs however the book is inaccurate in the method and ingredients for several of the recipes. Wish I had waited for a revised publication.......
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Beach on August 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
After going through The Perfect Finish, I could barely decide which delicious-sounding recipe to try first, and went with the Small Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake. The directions weren't clear: after listing 4 eggs, separated, in the ingredients, the directions said to "beat eggs." Huh? which part? Since I'd made chiffon cakes before, I knew it was the whites, but some cooks might not. Then it never gave instructions for the yolks! The recipes needed one more pass through the editors.
Beautiful as the photos are, I much prefer cookbooks that put the photos in the middle of the book, so that the list of ingredients and the directions are visible at the same time. In The Perfect Finish, you're flipping pages constantly to refer back to the ingredient list.
If I make anything else out of the book, I'll: 1. double-check the instructions before starting and 2. photocopy the recipe so that I can see all the pertinent information at once instead of it being displaced by a photo.
P.S. the cake was yummy and my family loved it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Johnson on January 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Lovely book but . . .
Orange Supreme Muffins should not bake for 45 minutes as stated. Try 20 minutes instead. Glad I was scoping this one out at the library before purchase. Sad, shameful execution.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peabody Jennifer Johanson on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was particularly interested in this one because it was written by the pastry chef for the White House. It seems that as of late all the cookbooks seem to be from some TV celebrity (I use that term loosely), so it was nice to get something written by a pastry chef.
Now my one concern though is that when it is done by a pastry chef, it can often become very technical. Those kind of cookbooks tend to scare off the average home cook by using big fancy words. Boo on big fancy words I say. The good news is that this cookbook is good for your average and above average baker. It gives the ingredients in both standard measure like the states people love as well as in metric, which everyone else (especially those of us who weigh their ingredients) love. There are plenty of recipes that I want to make from this book. The Walnut Layer Cake with Apple-Caramel Filling and Calvados Cream Cheese Icing will so be made come this Fall. The Candied Bacon Peach Cobbler will also be made once the peaches are how I like them. But what caught my eye this time around was the Fresh Coconut Cupcakes with Orange and Rum. I made them slightly different but they were wonderful.
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