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The Dessert Bible Hardcover – October 24, 2000
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The best part of The Dessert Bible is not the recipes--although they are wonderful--it's that Kimball, the founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated, shares his discovery process. You feel as though you are standing right next to him in his kitchen while he puzzles out the best lemon bar recipe. How do you make a bar that's zippy but not too sweet? How far should a Fallen Chocolate Cake fall? Can you substitute nondairy creamer in Crème Anglaise? (A resounding no!) Step by step, Kimball walks you through his experimentations, sharing both the triumphs and the failures. Cornstarch may beautifully thicken your lemon curd but it'll taste metallic. Each recipe is fronted by several paragraphs or pages of Kimball's baking process. He tells you which ingredients he tried and what happened. After each recipe are variations and a section called "What Can Go Wrong?" that points out common mistakes and misconceptions. The Dessert Bible covers cookies; brownies and bars; cakes, frostings, and glazes; brioche and fritters; pies, tarts, and fruit desserts; soufflés, puddings, and custards; frozen desserts; and restaurant desserts to make at home. In addition, several chapters offer tips and techniques on baking, baking sheets and pans, utensils, and kitchen appliances. "If The Dessert Bible provides you with a solid knowledge of dessert making," says Kimball, "you will gain the confidence to think for yourself in the kitchen, balancing a healthy mistrust of recipes (even mine) with enough common sense to rely on your own experience." --Dana Van Nest
From Publishers Weekly
Devil's Food Cake is a classic American dessert that every serious baker should know, but it is also one of the most challenging recipes to authenticate. In his new book, Kimball (The Cook's Bible) thoroughly demystifies this timeless treat and many others, with an occasional history lesson and a food-lover's commitment to quality gastronomy. Those familiar with Cook's Illustrated magazine (of which Kimball is founder, editor and publisher) will recognize his meticulous approach. Test charts neatly display the results of empirical equipment and ingredients tests. Techniques are described in great detail and illustrated masterfully with simple yet precise drawings. The recipes include humble basics like bars and cookies, standards like pies and cakes, and more difficult items such as souffl?s, custards and even famous restaurant-style desserts. Kimball begins by defining the essence of a particular dessert, often citing recipes from other well-known baking authorities. He then carefully deconstructs each of the basic elements, explains alterations and still manages to respect different tastes. The final master recipe combines great teaching skill and a fresh, unpretentious style to deliver a truly authentic pleasure. Seasoned bakers will appreciate his zeal to learn "what makes desserts work, what makes them fail, and why." The detailed knowledge base and solid master recipes in this valuable instructional compendium will inspire many.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Chris Kimball & Co. define what they consider the perfect dish, talk to experts, test dozens of recipe variations and then report back. Like a Consumer Reports for cooking, they name names and tell you what brand or supplier of ingredients and utensils is superior -- and why. And like Harold McGee's classic 'On Food and Cooking', they explain the history, the chemistry, the physics .... whatever interesting facts help explain what goes on in your kitchen. It really enables you to experiment more intelligently. One caveat: if you are a curious cook, give yourself some extra time to read the always informative and entertaining chapters leading up to the recipes.
I own about 60 food and cookbooks. Many are useful for a few recipes and a few are regularly useful, but I would rank The Cook's Bible as one of the top three I own. Recipes are consistently, and authoritatively, first rate -- and delicious.
Subjects include equipment for the kitchen, using a microwave oven, how to use knives, potatoes, steaming vegetables, roasting vegetables, how to build a salad, dried beans, shellfish, pasta, fish and shellfish, frying or roasting a chicken, turkey, stews, stocks and sauces, barbecue, pizza, stir-fry, yeast breads, eggs, cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, souffle, and baked and poached fruits.
Line illustrations and charts augment the text, and there is a comprehensive index.
Highest recommendation for curious cooks.