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3.3 out of 5 stars
The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 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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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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
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
on September 5, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified 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
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
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
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was very excited to receive this book as a gift as I have studied with Bill and he is a master pastry chef. That and the fact that the book is written with Melissa Clark, who is also a great and innovative chef should have been a winning combination. Disappointingly, as others have said, the book is poorly edited as the directions are not always correct. The directions for the glaze on the Jam Butter Cakes have nothing to do with the glaze, and mine looked like rounded muffins while the picture looks like a beautiful little cake. I suspect it is the baking powder amount. The brownies, however, are etherial. They are much like a flourless chocolate cake, but so light I was surprised. The key was whipping the eggs until they were mousselike. I recommend this recipe highly. If you are a beginner, you might be frustrated. If you are an advanced baker and can work around some questionable directions, this book will be great. Hopefully, they publisher will reprint a re-edited version.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
We were very excited to try new recipes with this book; however, after following the recipe for Fresh Coconut Cupcakes with Orange and Rum I doubt I will bother trying another item. The cupcake portion itself is fine (although they should not even bother to mention skipping the using a liner option, the cupcakes will stick). When we got to the frosting we noticed it asked for "8 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (8 ounces)". 8 tablespoons of butter is only 1 stick and 4 ounces. Also the frosting is way too buttery tasting, definitely needs more sugar. After reading more reviews of inconsistencies in the book it in clear that this is a trend and I would not recommend this book until they edit it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have had this cookbook for months now. Initially I was thrilled, this clearly was an original creative addition to dessert cooking. It was so original, I had to launch a purchasing campaign, because I do not stock almond flour, almond paste, or orgeat. Ok, ready to cook. The chocolate pudding was very nice, and the technique was lovely. The brownies were also nice. The lemon pound cake supreme was the best I have ever had, and I learned how to supreme a lemon, and saturate a pound cake. This is a wonderful recipe! I couldn't wait to make the chocolate pound cake with glaze, it surely was going to be a hit!! Using a cookbook is like establishing a relationship, and having had several successes, I was gaining confidence in the authors. Sadly to say, the chocolate pound cake was compost, or will be today. Dry, not chocolate flavored (my husband said "chalky") I was baffled. The instructions had an odd glitch (advising putting standing mixer onto cooling rack over rimmed baking sheet, obviously not what they wanted). This had alerted me to the possibility that there may have been corrections printed somewhere that would explain this bad cake. Having read the reviews here, I realize that this lovely work is filled with errors, like land mines, to derail the home baker. Very disappointed, and guess I will have to get the kitchen calculator to cross check ingredients. Bad execution. Wish authors would review book and put corrections online somewhere.
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