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Pure Chocolate: Divine Desserts and Sweets from the Creator of Fran's Chocolates Hardcover – October 26, 2004
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A history of chocolate in Seattle predated the opening of Fran's some 20 years ago. But Fran Bigelow single-handedly altered the entire landscape. She had meant to open a pastry shop and discovered that truffles were among the deep dark concerns of Seattle residents. Her Gold Bar became a gold standard for adult candy bars, in Seattle and then across the nation. Fran Bigelow would never claim the renown she so deserves, but would instead most likely spread the credit around like a chocolate butter glaze on one of her earth shattering cakes. But the proof is in the pudding and the pudding--called Princess Pudding--can be found on page 140 of Pure Chocolate, Fran Bigleow's distillation of all she knows. She holds nothing back. She shares freely, confidently.
"If you are patient and understand its unique properties," Bigelow says in her introduction, Everything You Need to Know About Chocolate, "chocolate will repay you with the most perfect pleasure." Can you imagine? Perfect pleasure? Bigelow unlocks the secrets, one after another. She cautions all along, however, that patience is essential. "If you're one of those folks who thinks life is too short to stuff cherry tomatoes," Bigelow intones, "you may not have the patience for tempering chocolate." She establishes up front the basic rules of working with chocolate, then proceeds to act like best friend and coach in each and every recipe. The experienced baker and chocolatier may jump right in. For the new comer, Fran suggests those recipes that are easiest to master and act as building blocks for more complex procedures. Your results, in other words, are guaranteed.
In 10 chapters Bigelow moves from cookies and brownies (you may think you know brownies; you may want to reconsider), through tortes, tarts, cakes, cheesecakes, puddings, and custards. Pure Chocolate is worth its weight if only for the chapter on ice cream and sorbet. There are glorious sauces and delicious chocolate drinks. And finally, the chapter on truffles that begins with the introduction to tempering chocolate, one of the great mysteries on the kitchen.
Seattle learned 20 years ago that all it thought it knew about chocolate had to be relearned over and over again with return after return to Fran's. That this fabulous experience has been packed in between two covers and sent home to the diligent cook, well, that's Fran Bigelow right there, sharing all she knows. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Artisanal chocolatier and baker Bigelow, who owns Fran's Chocolates in Seattle, knows her bean, and it shows in this generous, appealing collection of chocolate recipes. Many of her signature treats boast finishing touches that add a bit of glamour: Her L'Orange, a fruit and nut torte, is topped with Chocolate Butter Glaze and is "pebbly with almonds"; an entire chapter of "Silken Dessert Sauces" such as Chocolate Espresso Sauce offers quick finishes with oomph. Bigelow has a professional's eye, seen in White Chocolate Coconut Cream Bars that show off pretty stripes from the side, and Triple Chocolate Pyramid, constructed by cutting a rectangular cake into two triangles, then stacking them against each other, but she's sympathetic to the home cook, too, immediately offering a list of easy recipes that'll deliver "a quick chocolate hit." After a clear explanation of tempering chocolate, Bigelow whips off a list of Quick Treats with Tempered Chocolate, like Dipped Cherries and Nut Clusters. While all these confections are inventive—Dylan's Birthday Cake hides a chocolate filling made tangy with crème fraîche; Brie White Chocolate Cheesecake proposes an intriguing combination—none are silly or gaudy. General information on such topics as working with chocolate and holding a chocolate tasting are equally commonsense, never condescending. 40 photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
These recipes had been tried and true - meant that these recipes have been tested from Fran herself, and recipes are for the home baker.
If you want to work with chocolate, and give yourself another challenge in baking - then this is one of the books to have. So far, I have tried:
White Chocolate Coconut Bars - a delightful chocolate dessert without any eggs for binding the shortbread crust. It's all chocolate and cake flour. this one I put some macadamia nuts in the coconut filling. It gives a nice buttery nuttiness and texture to this chocolate layered bar. This is a great chocolate dessert. I recommend you using 64%to 72% dark chocolate for the dark chocolate ganache on top.
Boule d' Amande - "chocolate balls" or Dark Chocolate truffles coated with roasted almonds - this is a crowd pleaser and everyone who tried this was amazed, and got some extras. Another choco treat to make for the holidays.
Dark chocolate truffles - this is first recipe that I tried in this book - and these were divine. I gave some to my co-workers and they were amazed by it. Now this is one of the treats to make during the holidays.
La Reverie - this is a delicate torte made with almonds and lady fingers. After I baked it on the weekend, and served it with cinnamon hazelnut coffee to my family and guests. They said,"Ang sarap and it complements very well with the coffee that I served."(It's delicious and it complements well with the coffee). I thought of this recipe was kind of hard; however, I noticed that it is almost like the a tiramisu but with some mixing like a meringue or torte. One of the challenges that I encountered was putting the ganache on the cake and trying my hands on the cake decorating. But with time, patience, effort and determination. When you tasted this cake, your hard work and the delight from your guests will satisfy that this recipe is worth making it.
I am going to continue to try other recipes from the torte, tart and other sections too in the future.
She gives you her recipes on cookies, brownies, torts, birthday and holiday creations, cheesecake, puddings, custards, and even chocolate drinks. She has a complete chapter on great recipes for truffles and other chocolates.
I really recommend this book, for the techniques and recipes. I love it.
Fran bigelow knows her stuff........there are no two ways about it. She did not become a powerhouse by accident. She has worked hard for all the success that has come her way, and she has passed her love for this venue of gastronomic pleasure on to you, if you choose to take it.
Without getting too chemistry-like in her teaching, she tells you all about chocolate and how it wants to be handled. You can try to do it on yor own, but face it, chocolate can be very tempermental, and if you don't know the subtle complexities of its makeup, you will loose time and money. She will guide you if you just take the time to learn from one of the Masters.
The book contents are:
Everything you need to know about chocolate
Amazing cookies and brownies
Tortes, with and without flour (for celiacs & gluten-sensitive)
Celebration cakes and holiday specialties
Sumptuous cheesecakes, puddings, and custards
Silken dessert sauces
Five beverages and a snack
Truffles and other fine chocolates
Just for the sake of an example of what anyone can do, I tried the cake on page 107 called "La Reverie". Holy cow!! You would of thought that I had studied at the Cordon Bleu; it was fabulous and soooo not hard to make. Plus you will make so many new friends that you never knew you had.
She's the best and that's because she is a great teacher and the recipes don't require a degree in chemistry, architecure, or design. Go ahead and try it..........