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Baking: From My Home to Yours Hardcover – November 1, 2006
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In Baking with Julia (Child, of course) and Desserts by Pierre Hermé, Dorrie Greenspan gave voice to other baking experts while ensuring their recipes worked. Now, in Baking: From My Home to Yours, she steps fully onstage with a collection of 230-plus immediately attractive recipes ranging from breakfast sweets, cakes, and tarts to puddings, custards, ice creams, and crisps. This is homey, eminently doable baking that encompasses the more familiar, like sugar-topped molasses spice cookies, pecan sticky buns, and lemon tart, but also includes the temptingly original, such as Devil’s Food White-Out Cake, Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise, and Toasted Almond Scones. Her cookie selection, which offers the standout Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, is particularly good, as is her brownie group, a mini-chapter featuring a very edible espresso cheesecake variation.
Greenspan knows her stuff, of course, but it's her droll, anecdotal style (readers learn, for example how a chocolate cake got her fired) and her recipe-making expertise that sets the book apart. Precise descriptions of the baked goods--a pound cake, for example, is said to have a "moist, tightly knit crumb"--help readers understand baking anatomy. Equally exact, and reassuring, are her recipe guideposts--she notes, for example, that rubbing butter into the dry ingredients when making a biscuit recipe will result in "pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes, and pieces the size of everything in between." With recipe variations and enticing color photos, the book will inspire--and inform--baking novices and experts alike. --Arthur Boehm
Recipe Excerpts from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Toasted Almond Scones
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Greenspan, coauthor of books with culinary icons such as Julia Child (Baking with Julia), Daniel Boulud and Pierre Hermé, shares her favorite recipes in this tantalizing collection, which covers all the baking bases, from muffins, cookies and brownies to spoon desserts, pies and cobblers. Instructions are clear and easy to follow, and Greenspan uses everyday ingredients readily available to the home chef. Recipes like Perfection Pound Cake and All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie convey a comfortable, almost homey, familiarity that will bring readers back to this collection again and again. In addition, she provides insight into matters many cooks may not often consider, such as leaveners, technique and choosing the right pan. Numerous mouth-watering photos dot the book throughout, making it hard to choose which one to make first. Especially helpful is the Indispensables: Base Recipes section at the end of the book, which includes pointers for making key ingredients such dough, pastry cream, lemon curd and faux crème fraîche. This is baking at its best. Over 100 full-color photos. (Nov.)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a marvelous book (I give it 4.5 stars) - cogently written with great style and clarity. Greenspan walks you through each step as if she were standing with you in the kitchen - and there's not a hint of pretense. So many cookbooks - pastry volumes in particular - have an almost punitive tone: "NEVER do this"; "ALWAYS do that". While the chemistry of baking must be respected, I have never seen the benefits of terrifying the reader or quashing one's creativity. You'll find none of that in this tome (save for the admonishments regarding the purity of butter). Greenspan is friendly, approachable, and forgiving. Her own fearlessness, mistakes, and inventiveness have inevitably led to better results. No knuckle-rapping here! You'll feel as if you're baking with an old friend. If you're a fan of the great Maida Heatter, you'll appreciate Dorie Greenspan.
The recipes are more comfort desserts than elegant showstoppers (although the "Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, based on the famous "Paris-Brest" pastry certainly has the glam factor) - but any of them would be welcome at almost any gathering - from a family picnic to a black-tie celebration. The text fonts are readable, the layout friendly and navigable, and the photographs gorgeous (although some are titled and others are not). The permanent hard cover is identical to the dust cover and can be wiped clean. Many of the recipes contain a handy sidebar entitled "Playing Around", giving alternative presentations and flavor variations, and serving and storing instructions are always included. The page on "Mastering Meringue" will help assure success every time. A "Glossary of Ingredients, Tools, and Techniques" appears at the end of the book that even seasoned bakers will find helpful.
There are a few inconsistencies. The "Table of Contents" is too broad (although the "Index" is easy on the eyes). A book on home baking ought to include at least some basic yeast bread recipes. Outside of "Brioche", "Raisin Bread", "Sticky Buns", and "Kugelhoph", there are none. This is really a "Dessert" book (including recipes for ice cream), not an all-purpose baking book, although there appears to be something for everyone in this collection of more than 300 recipes. No mention is made of the value of Magic-Cake strips, which eliminate the doming problem so often associated with layer cakes. In the instructions for "Lavender Madeleines", Greenspan does not specify whether the tablespoon of edible lavender should be dried or fresh. In her recipe for "Perfect Party Cake", the accompanying Buttercream frosting does not mention the need for the egg whites to reach 160 degrees. Although an explanation is given in the back of the book, redundancy is a plus when food safety is an issue. Overall, this is just nitpicking, however. This is really one nifty book written by a pro who loves to bake - and teach it as well.
With rare exception (edible gold dust, chestnut puree) recipe ingredients are easy-to-find items already in your pantry. Chestnuts and chestnut puree can be had in large metropolitan areas (Whole Foods, Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, Trader Joe's, King Arthur Catalogue) at holiday time and edible gold dust (an optional component) can be mail-ordered through the Internet. One obvious miss: there's no "List of Sources" for equipment and ingredients - unusual for a volume of this heft and depth. Greenspan refers to "bakers' supply shops" but doesn't list them.
Whether you're a beginner or an old-hand in the kitchen, you'll love this volume of goodies. My own cookbook collection is substantial, but there are many books and authors I reject. This baby is a keeper and would make a wonderful and much appreciated shower, wedding, birthday, or Christmas gift.
One caveat: This is a big, heavy book. The trend these days is to manufacture books that can double as doorstops. Baby boomers who are developing arthritis don't seem to be a consideration with today's publishers. Gloss and semi-gloss enamel papers are heavy, too. Beautiful as they are, these Goliaths ought to be saved for the coffee table. I like to actually use my cookbooks - and lugging them around is getting to be a chore.
Dorie Greenspan is my brand new baking buddy!! The way that she speaks to you as you're reading the recipe introduction, you feel as if she's right in the kitchen with you, right next to you, just talking and spending the time showing you a fabulous recipe that will make you feel like a baking diva (or divo)!! I think that it's the secret to her incredible success and since she's written over nine books, you got to figure that she knows what she's doing.
I first learned of Dorie specifically when she worked with Julia Child in making "Baking with Julia"; probably my favorite Julia book. The character of her writing is that of someone who has come to know and love the kitchen as much as yourself. She seems to gravitate to baking and make it as much a love of art as it is a love of creating. No wonder that you feel so comfortable attempting these desserts since Dorie makes them so accessible without feeling the need for intense training or bizarre ingredients.
The book itself is a grand adventure, as is its size; big and sturdy and printed just right with smooth pages holding glossy photographs and temptng treats of what will be; they are large and detailed so you know what to expect.
Her book is broken into:
A Cache of Cookies
Cakes of All Kinds (this was by far the BEST chapter; these are awesome with the "Celebration Cakes" called Devils Food White-out, Perfect Party Cake, Big Carrot Cake, Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake, Black and White Chocolate Cake, Tirmisu Cake, Berry Surprise, Chestnut Cake, Amaretti Torte, Chocolate Armagnac Cake, Ice Cream Torte, Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, Coconut Roasated Pineapple Dacquoise, etc)
Pies and Tarts
Indispensables (basic recipes)
A Dessert Makers Glossary of Ingredients, Tools, and Techniques
I would love to print every recipe in this book but the index alone is over 17 pages of luscious and decadent desserts!! So for an example, I give you "The Perfect Party Cake" on page 250. Holy cow!! Wow!! More adjectives please!! It turned out EXACTLY as she promised and when you are first hit with the visual impact of this cake, you realize how important the right photography style is to any cookbook author. To feel that something that gorgeous can come from your kitchen and to actually be able to make it, does wonders for your zeal for baking. Every luscious layer of fluffy white cake that is followed by a delicate, thin layer of raspberry filling followed by fluffy frosting, you see it begin to take shape and height. You wonder if it really will be as good as it looks. But as you get to the end of the layers and you put on that last layer of frosting, then cover it in snow-flaked fresh coconut, you realize that you are one awesome baker and Dorie will be your new best baking buddy too!! It was a hit for its beauty and taste because when you cut into that first piece and see it in its red and white party glory.....wow!!
Yes, I know............it's just a recipe but is Michelangelo's "David" just a piece of clay to art lovers? Baking makes you want to please the eyes as well as the palate and if you want to do it right, you want to learn from those who are the masters. Dorie is just that, but without all the pretensions and fanfare. She just loves to bake and this book is the epitome of her passion.
Dorie, Julia will always be the Queen Mother of the kitchen, but your pedestal is right by hers!! Thanks!!
I am enjoying the cookbook, however there are some issues, I got this thinking she was a guru in the kitchen....I am learning she has her faults as well, or at least this book.
I have not experienced any of the baking time mishaps other reviewers talked about, I am pretty good about knowing cooking times though. And she does mention that times vary with all sorts of variables. So I always do a smell test.
We shall see how it goes, I plan on making EVERY single recipe!