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Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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About the Author
After years in the advertising business, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito decided to leave their day jobs and open a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Baked opened in January 2005 to instant rave reviews. The authors have been featured on Oprah, the Food Network, Martha Stewart’s daytime show, and the Today show. The bakery has been reviewed in countless magazines, both local and nationwide. Lewis and Poliafito live in New York City.
Tina Rupp is a New Yorkbased photographer who specializes in photographing food and children. Her work can be found regularly in Food & Wine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and Parenting magazines.
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If you decide you're going to cook through this book, I commend you! Just make sure you have people interested in "testing" it out as well. You do not want to keep a full batch of whatever you're making home alone. These recipes are oftentimes dense with delicious and although it would be criminal to keep them to yourself, I'm sure your waistline will thank you for your generosity. More so than any other cookbook I have yet to get into, make sure to read the recipes before thinking of making something. I like to think I keep a fair amount of chocolate and butter on hand but this book will clean you right out, and few things are as annoying as needing to run to the store in the middle of a recipe. One complaint I have about the listed ingredients however is their reliance on high-end chocolate. Aside from being difficult to procure sometimes, not everyone is willing to pay $15 a pound for chocolate. I find that as long as you're not using really poor quality stuff, everything still comes out great. Don't be put off by having to buy Nestle chips, or Baker's brand baking chocolate.
Speaking of recipes, I have yet to find one that isn't a hit. The steps are clear and easy to follow. If there is something that can be a little tricky, they are usually aware of this and provide tips to get the most out of the dessert. I have a finicky oven so these little notes are always appreciated.
I can't help but feel like the subtitle "New Frontiers in Baking" is inaccurate. While reading this I haven't found any new or novel techniques, although there are indeed some nice ideas for storage or party favors. If you're familiar with this book's namesake in NYC or the mentalities of the authors, you know they actively seek to bring back classic American desserts, to rediscover them in a sense. Although not in the book, I live near Amish country in PA and I have never seen a Shoo Fly pie in any restaurant where I live. It is as though it has never been a piece of our regional collective memory, and yet I would not be surprised at all to find it at the Baked store or in a future book. Where I live (again, I know) we are inundated with Italian restaurants. Now I know people love them some hearty pasta and sauce, but I find it loathsome that so-called "American food" is relegated to diners and chains. I hope this book can inspire a new breed of chefs who care about developing an American cuisine rather than just falling back on the standards of chocolate cake, ice cream, cheesecake, and fruit pie.
I was enamored of all the clever ideas and pretty pictures. So, instead of picking a favorite recipe to make I thought I would go through it systematically and try each recipe. I started to take notes on each page with what worked/didn't work.
Some of this projects seemed QUITE time consuming and resulted in a SO-SO reward. (Sweet and Salty Cake)
Others seemed like they were also time consuming YET, worth every dirty bowl, pot and spoon because of its utter deliciousness. (Lemon Drop Cake)
And the gems...simple, relaxed and FANTASTIC! (Banana Cupcakes)
The Lemon Pound Cake is gorgeous. The White Out Cake is --umm, OK. Not as white as I hoped.
These are just notes off the top of my head. I must say it is fun to cook my way through, ala, Julie&Julia style. I do appreciate all the helpful side hints the authors share about their creations. I feel a connection because I can tell they loved everyone of their offerings.
I can't wait to finish this book and move onto Baked Explorations.