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The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion Hardcover – June 7, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Yosses, executive pastry chef at the White House, and Clark, a noted New York Times food columnist, showcase elegant, luscious desserts suitable for a variety of occasions from brunch to potlucks to fancy celebrations. Recipes are well-detailed and easy-to-follow, even for the novice, and potentially unfamiliar techniques or temperamental ingredients such as segmenting oranges, varieties of yeast, making great meringue, and how to avoid crystallizing caramel are highlighted. With flat and chewy chocolate chip cookies, blood orange squares, grand old-fashioned blueberry jelly rolls, and orange-scented olive oil cakes with fleur de sel, there is something for every palate. The authors include a section on restaurant desserts that can be made at home that includes warm molten vanilla cakes, butterscotch–dulce de leche pudding in teacups, and Bouley banana chocolate tart. They also include recipes for confectionaries such as cardamom nut butterballs, sandy pecan pralines, and coffee toffee. Each recipe lists special equipment needed, and there's a handy baker's minimum equipment list for those who want to increase their tool arsenal. Enhanced by more than 100 delectable color photos, this book is a must-have for all serious bakers and the only book those with a passing interest in baking will ever need. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

In the world of dessert books, this one is worth buying. Bill s creations deliver exceptional taste and are written for the home baker. --Daniel Boulud"

Starred Review. A must-have for all serious bakers and the only book those with a passing interest in baking will ever need. "

For the past thirty years, Bill Yosses has gained a quiet, unsurpassed celebrity among chefs and pastry enthusiasts. The Perfect Finish is the summation of that career, and it s the most impressive homage to baking I've seen in a long time. It s beautiful a testament to his flawless artistry. It s practical organized to suit both the spontaneous and the occasion-specific baker. And it s wise full of Bill s unimpeachable skill and knowledge. It s perfect, really an accomplishment that would be remarkable, were it not so predictable. --Dan Barber, Blue Hill"

Bill Yosses knows how to rise to an occasion. If it is a State Dinner or a simple supper he knows exactly the sweet note it should end on. The Perfect Finish represents Bill s generosity perfectly and shares with the reader a lifetime repertoire of clever tricks and techniques in the pastry kitchen. --Alice Waters, Chez Panisse"

The Perfect Finish passes my first test for a cookbook, which is: Does it make me daydream about the dinner party (or brunch) at which I ll serve these recipes? In this case, the yes! came from the retro-fabulous Bouley banana-chocolate tart, which derives its cleverness from fruit caramelized with lime juice. Or maybe it was the creme-fraiche pancakes, the chocolate-caramel tart with sea salt or the chocolate-chunk cookies goosed with Nutella.... Their useful tips...make cooking from this book a reassuring experience, like having a fairy godmother in the kitchen. I hope the Obama girls are taking notes. "

I had the honor and pleasure of working with Bill Yosses many years ago as young chefs at the Polo Restaurant in New York City needless to say, he has achieved so much since our early days together. His current work The Perfect Finish lives up to his reputation of being in the forefront in the world of pastry today. His interpretation of classic American desserts is timeless in its simplicity and execution. --Thomas Keller, The French Laundry"
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393059537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393059533
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
So many cookbooks are hurriedly produced and thus contain many errors. It is a disappointment that this book falls into this category. My first attempt, "Red Eye Devil's Food Cake" (pages 183-185) had two errors, one minor in scope [wrong instructions for creating multiple layers from a single layer cake] but one fairly major, listing "2 cups of coffee (8 ounces, 230 grams)" as an ingredient. Well, I had no idea if they really wanted 2 cups of coffee or 1 (it was 2, I had to re-make the cake after going with 1 cup). Then I thought I would try "Fluffy Golden Waffles", page 16. Sure enough, the ingredients list 2 large eggs separated but the instructions simply say "add the eggs". On page 18: 1 cup of cake flour weighs 113 grams; on page 25: 2 cups of cake flour weigh 450 grams! Need 4 large eggs? Page 18, 7 ounces/200 grams; page 183: 6.3 ounces/193 grams; page 57: 8 ounces/220 grams. The mistakes and inconsistencies are abundant. I recommend readers wait a year or more for a 2nd edition which should have the kinks worked out. Oh, and skip the part on page 'x' of the Acknowledgements where the authors sing the praises of "the greatest cookbook editors" and brag of the "meticulous testing" done. I think not.
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Format: Hardcover
Hello Readers of "The Perfect Finish".
Our apologies for the misprints in the book, I hope the following corrections help.
Measurements
1. page 25, 2 cups Cake Flour is 8 oz (not 16oz)
2. page 25. half cup sugar should be 3.5 oz (100grams) (not 6oz, 170 g)
3. page 183, should read "2 cups strong brewed coffee (16 oz , 454 grams)
4. page 186, second line should read "repeat TWO more times to obtain 4 layers from each of the two cakes
5. page 217, ingredients for PEANUT BUTTER WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
should read 2 ¼ cups heavy cream (18 ounces. 513g)

Methods and Direction;
6. page 150, directions "FOR THE CAKE" step 3 last sentence, "set on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet" is meant for step 5 when you are glazing the finished cake.
7 page 26, step 5 should read "Whisk together sugar, lemon juice and zest" not "egg white and milk" .
8. page 183, Red Eye Devils Food Cake just above the recipe should read:
"MAKES 1 (9 -INCH ) 8 LAYER CAKE TO SERVE 10".
9. Page 193 and 194 Small Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake; the 4 large eggs are whole not separated

Thank you,
Bill
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the kind that makes experienced bakers salivate. The recipes listed are creative and refreshingly different. Nearly every page made me want leap up and start preparing that recipe immediately.

Imagine my disappointment when I began baking and discovered that the book is riddled with typos. The number of cups of cream called for in the ingredients list in the Devil Dogs recipe, for example, is significantly short of the number of cups called for over the course of the recipe; buy the amount listed, and you will find yourself running short in the middle of a tricky step. The photo of the Orange Glazed Olive Oil cake shows a dense, moist cake akin to a fallen souffle. The 4 eggs, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda called for, though, results in a fluffy pound cake. I suspect the actual recipe required the eggs alone.

Take a look at the table of contents, with its wildly creative ideas. Then go off and make up your own recipes; you have about as much chance of success as you do trying to follow the instructions given in this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book has wonderful inspiring recipes/photographs however the book is inaccurate in the method and ingredients for several of the recipes. Wish I had waited for a revised publication.......
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Format: Hardcover
We were very excited to try new recipes with this book; however, after following the recipe for Fresh Coconut Cupcakes with Orange and Rum I doubt I will bother trying another item. The cupcake portion itself is fine (although they should not even bother to mention skipping the using a liner option, the cupcakes will stick). When we got to the frosting we noticed it asked for "8 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (8 ounces)". 8 tablespoons of butter is only 1 stick and 4 ounces. Also the frosting is way too buttery tasting, definitely needs more sugar. After reading more reviews of inconsistencies in the book it in clear that this is a trend and I would not recommend this book until they edit it.
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Format: Hardcover
After going through The Perfect Finish, I could barely decide which delicious-sounding recipe to try first, and went with the Small Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake. The directions weren't clear: after listing 4 eggs, separated, in the ingredients, the directions said to "beat eggs." Huh? which part? Since I'd made chiffon cakes before, I knew it was the whites, but some cooks might not. Then it never gave instructions for the yolks! The recipes needed one more pass through the editors.
Beautiful as the photos are, I much prefer cookbooks that put the photos in the middle of the book, so that the list of ingredients and the directions are visible at the same time. In The Perfect Finish, you're flipping pages constantly to refer back to the ingredient list.
If I make anything else out of the book, I'll: 1. double-check the instructions before starting and 2. photocopy the recipe so that I can see all the pertinent information at once instead of it being displaced by a photo.
P.S. the cake was yummy and my family loved it.
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