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Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion Hardcover – November 29, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The resurrection of Desaulniers' classic compilation will delight chocoholics. Glossy pages hold photographs of tempting decadent desserts- perfectly tempered truffles and tiered mousse cakes-that should inspire home bakers to break out the Baker's chocolate bars and get cooking. The first edition, which won The James Beard Award in 1993 for Best Dessert Book, has been expanded to celebrate its 10th anniversary. New recipes like The "Big Dig" complement traditional classics like Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake. Two days work is recommended to create and assemble the Dig's four layers: chocolate blacktop batter cake, triple chocolate barrier, double chocolate pudding and whipped cream topper. Assembled into a chocolate cylinder, the dessert is pure chocolate dementia. Desaulniers is a master at layering flavors and textures; though the recipes are difficult (even the seemingly simple Essential Chocolate Mousses need careful attention), they are worth the effort. The instructions are as rich as the desserts: Desaulniers holds the reader's hand, advising on complex techniques: his notes on what the batter should look like at each step are particularly helpful. And there are notes of humor as well. At the end of the spectacular five-page recipe for Chocolate Wedlock, he advises the pastry chef to "quaff a well-chilled glass of champagne... you deserve it!" (The section "A Touch of Chocolate" contains slightly more restrained recipes, like Red Pear Sorbet and White Chocolate "Ice Cream" with Pralines and Caramel Sabayon.) This is death worth living by.
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About the Author
Marcel Desaulniers is the executive chef and co-owner of the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg. He is the recipient of many culinary accolades, including the title honor by the James Beard Foundation as a Great American Chef. He is on the board of trustees of the Culinary Institute of America.
Top customer reviews
I'm a fan of Desaulniers. I enjoyed his restaurant, The Trellis, when I lived in Virginia, and I've enjoyed his television shows. He's an artist in the kitchen, with chocolate in particular. The recipes in this book that I've made have been scrumptious. Some are a little complex but that's something that I enjoy in a baking project. There are some simpler ones as well.
The book itself is lovely, with large, beautiful photographs and a well-designed layout. I've heard people complain that it's not more hefty. I actually appreciate that it's not a tome. It seems to realize its intentions very well.
The beginning recipes were very doable, and I'm starting in on the harder ones. It's fun to drool over the seven element creation, but much more fun to tackle and easily do (given all the techniques they teach in the book) the most incredibly chocolate cookies I've ever attempted or eaten.