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Dessert Circus : Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make At Home (Pbs Series) Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 28, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, January 28, 1998
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From the South of France to the kitchens of New York's legendary Le Cirque restaurant, Jacques Torres has come a long way. Now this acclaimed pastry chef shares the secret of his success--and his puff pastry--in Dessert Circus. Lest you be a timid cook who finds the notion of pastry both overwhelming and terrifying, let Torres reassure you: "Pastry is really very logical. Once you learn the basic building blocks, you can use them to create simple designs or spectacular creations." It is Torres's aim to demystify pastry for the average cook and he does this well.

Starting with a list of basic equipment and ingredients complete with explanations about what to get, how to store the items and when to use them, and continuing through a glossary of commonly used terms, Torres takes the guesswork out of what kind of flour to buy or how to make substitutions. And then there are the desserts themselves: puff pastries, cookies and petit fours, fruits, chocolate, and a section called "Signature Desserts" that contains such sinful delights as Paillasons (similar to a Napoleon only better) or Banana Moon Cakes (inspired by moonshine in a tiny village in the mountains of France). Some of these desserts are complex, but Torres's instructions are clear, easy to follow, and educational without being condescending. Reading Dessert Circus is a little like having a conversation with Torres as the two of you work side by side in the kitchen. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

Jacques Torres explains it all in clear, plain language, like a teacher at your side. He doesn't just tell you what to do, he tells you why you are doing it that way. Dessert Circus is a primer in the basics of dessert chemistry. You will learn about ingredients and how they react when mixed, kneaded, chilled, or heated and be taught the red flags of warning - the signs that something is not going right - and what you might be able to do to save the situation. Each recipe is rated for its level of difficulty and is accompanied by a color photograph of the finished dessert and step-by-step photographs where appropriate. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688156541
  • ASIN: B0000646R2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,135,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Dessert Circus" is the companion cookbook to Jacques Torres' television series, filled with step-by-step instructions and photos to help you recreate all his delicacies at home. After flipping through the book, I had my doubts.
Every recipe I tried was delicious. My favorite recipe has to be his "Chocolate Cornflakes". Delicious and fun to make.
Things I noticed about these recipes: They seem designed for parties and less for home cooking. Yields were large, with servings for 8 seeming to be the magic number. If you want to impress, you'll love this book. There is a fair amount ingredients that may be hard to find.
To recreate many of the recipes listed will require: time, talent, and a little prayer to pull off. This is not to say that the results aren't worth it. Desserts like the impressive "Nougatine Basket with Fruit Sorbets" (three diamonds) can be accomplished, you simply have to take your time and be prepared.
If you've ever looked at an issue of "Chocolatier" or "Pastry: Art & Design" magazines, you have a good idea of what you'll be in for with this cookbook. Cooks looking for a challenge will find plenty of recipes to choose from.
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Format: Hardcover
Dessert Circus by Jacques Torres is the finest dessert and pastry cookbook that I have ever seen. His instructions are clear and concise. The desserts are not only delicious and are elegant enough to serve at the finest formal occasions but are easily adapted for small informal dinners. Many of his techniques (especially for handling whipped cream, meringue, and chocolate) I have never seen in any other book. Chef Torres does something else that I have never seen before, he lists his web site address in his book, where you are invited to ask questions and/or provide feedback. From experience I can tell you he answers you personally. Here you will find one of the worlds top dessert and pastry chefs that is not unreachable at the top of a pedestal. This book combined with his P.B.S. cooking series is an unbeatable combination.
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Format: Hardcover
From a rainbow of sorbets served on a chocolate artists "palette" complete with chocolate "paintbrushes", through to the strawberry and raspberry Fraisier Cake beautifully presented with layers of fresh strawberries, Jacques' highly original desserts win me over each time I open this book, and my guests each time I serve one of his creations.
The directions are clearly written, and every dessert recipe is accompanied with a finished photograph, and quite a few feature step by step pictures aswell. Jacques dedicates the first chapter solely to equipment and ingredients, plus a glossary of all terms used throughout the book. The second chapter covers basic or ingredient recipes, such as the perfect puff pastry and homemade chocolate sauce. He also shows you how to prepare my personal favorite, chocolate sculptures. You can also adapt these sculptures, turning just one of the pieces into an amazing garnish.
I highly recommend this and the second volume by Torres, "Dessert Circus at Home".
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Format: Hardcover
Jacques is an excellent teacher who doesn't seem to try to omit an ingredient or a secret technique as some chefs do. He is eager to share his thoughts on how to make each recipe a success and even includes the decorative touches that make people ooh and ahh. I've tried, and with great success, the desserts involving Jacques' light puff pastry and the tender flaky tart shell recipes and they please both the eye as well as the palate. I entertain frequently, making twelve course Chinese meals and always ending with a French dessert, most of which now come from 'Dessert Circus' or is inspired by it. I especially enjoy watching my guests' delight over the desserts. Thank you, Jacques.
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Format: Hardcover
Fantastic! His teachings of using chocolate are excellent. Looked at many cookbooks and haven't found any that go into such detail over the "little things" you need to know that he does. Some desserts are challenging, but you can make them with practice. He has a show on PBS on Saturdays also.
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Format: Hardcover
I had the wonderful and memorable experience to dine at Le Cirque in the late 1980s for lunch when Jacques Torres was the pastery chef. Our group was quite large, 10 of us, and seated at a large round table.

Desert was not ordered per person but brought out and everyone was treated to something different, as 10 different deserts were brought out. We all had a taste and then rotated the desserts.

When Desert Circus came out I had to order it for nostalga, as it contains most all of the deserts Jacques Torres created during his tenure at Le Cirque. I followed up with Jacques Desert Circut At Home.

This book provded me with wonderful memories of our desert that fall afternoon in New York City. I fondly remember the Chocolate Soup and the Chocolate Stove, Creme Brulee, Chocolate Fondants and Manhattan when it came my turn for a bite.

One recipe I have made for guests is the chocolate soup, which is a real hit at home. I also followed Jacques recipe for candied citrus peel with success and the Raspberry Souffles.

The recipes provide clear information as I have had success with several I have tried.
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