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The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle Hardcover – October 18, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Zuckerman, pastry chef at New York's famed Chanterelle restaurant, combines aesthetics and science in this appetizing look at the hows and whys of baking. Providing detailed instruction throughout, she guides the cook through the process of creating the dessert while explaining the chemical reactions taking place when ingredients interact. Zuckerman details the intricacies of tart making, offering a variety of standard recipes such as hazelnut, sweet and flaky. Her selections of cakes are enticing, with her Goat Cheesecake Enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle bordering on the sublime. Throughout, she elucidates the basics—e.g., why some cookie recipes require additional baking soda and how an acid aids in the foaming of egg whites. Zuckerman also offers a wealth of cookie recipes and a mouth-watering array of custards, puddings, crèmes and mousses. Soufflé-making techniques are explained so simply that even the baking novice will feel empowered to make an attempt. Zuckerman also devotes sections to ice creams and frozen desserts, roasted fruits and edible garnishes. Highly recommended for all skill levels, this collection is a must-have for anyone who cooks. 70 photos. (Sept.)
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About the Author

Kate Zuckerman is the pastry chef at Chanterelle in New York City. She has also been the pastry chef at Picholine in New York, Biba in Boston, and Firefly in San Francisco. Zuckerman's flavor-focused desserts have been featured in major publications, such as The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and Food & Wine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; 1st edition (October 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821257447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821257449
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
`The Sweet Life' by Chanterelle (top New York City restaurant) pastry chef, Kate Zuckerman brilliantly succeeds in a very difficult cookbook category. A high end restaurant dessert cookbook, on the surface, would seem to have a very small audience, since the audience for making fancy desserts at home is surely even smaller than the audience for making fancy entrees, especially since it may be actually easier to buy high quality patisserie goods from a bakery than it is to buy haute cuisine take-out.

But, our Kate has written an excellently diverse book of both highly detailed recipes for fancy desserts and lucid explanations of the whys and hows and wherefores of some pretty arcane baking and dessert techniques. What is even better, the geek material is presented in such an appealing manner that even the amateur who just happens to want to make a custard or a caramel or a mousse will gain from reading Ms. Zuckerman's sidebars on technique and background.

Offsetting the rare interest in fancy pastry is the fact that pastry technique explanations seem to need the authoritative professional voice even more than fancy savory cooking. While I may have little interest in learning from Nobu how to acquire the knife skills I need to make sushi, I and thousands of others have a more than middling interest in how to make good homemade ice cream. And, as luck should have it, Ms. Zuckerman covers some of the really dramatic facts behind cheap versus expensive ice cream makers. I won't steal her thunder, but I will say that she names and explains how a small, inexpensive ice cream maker actually did a better job than big, expensive models.
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By Kara Roche on November 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely love this cookbook. In one weekend I tried five recipes, and all of them were fantastic! This is not just a compilation of tasty recipes - you can actually learn some tricks of the trade. Kate teaches you why you can achieve so much more depth of flavor by something as simple as browning butter. I have been so tired of recent desserts - please no more rustic fruit tarts and not another molten chocolate cake. This cookbook is filled with new and unique, easy and delicious desserts. I can tell you from experience that the hazelnut shortbread cookies, chocolate caramel pot de creme, and almond apricot tart are all outstanding!
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Format: Hardcover
Getting a cookbook in the mail is like receiving a gift. It is not just a book but an object to display on a coffee table or kitchen counter. It is a gift that gives you a desire to eat, call for a reservation at a fine restaurant or simply stroll the grocery aisles for something delicious. The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman is just that gift.

The contents page is easy to navigate. The mouthwatering pictures make you want to throw your apron on and get cooking. I was hesitant because I am not Martha Stewart--a food lover for sure, but not a true cook. I was scared I couldn't recreate any of the recipes to look like the pictures I was drooling over.

I thought I would try the Chocolate Bete Noir. "Dense and creamy, yet light and elegant, this flourless chocolate cake is remarkably versatile; it serves as the basis of many of my plated chocolate desserts at Chanterelle." I thought how hard could this be. The first step after heating the oven, which I am quite capable of, reads: "Using a paring knife, cut down the center of the vanilla bean and scrape out the tiny black seed into a heavy-bottomed saucepan."

Next!! Chocolate chip cookies are more my speed. The recipe for Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies was easy to follow and they turned out fabulous. I will say "two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet" means two inches apart. Anything less and you have one big cookie.

What I loved about this book was it is educational as well as beautiful. The history of chocolate on page 31 I found very interesting. The Beyond the Basics area with subjects such as "Chocolate and water," and "Cooking caramel successfully" can be a lesson in science as well as cooking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have had this book for a couple of months, but have not had a chance to do any cooking out of it until recently. On my initial read through I was excited to get started. Well, I finally had the chance this weekend.
What I've made:
*Chocolate Bete Noire:
Good flavour, but I had real issues getting these cakes out of the tin - I decided to cook them in a muffin tin (listed as an alternative to making the single cake). It was unclear whether to take them out of the tin after removing from the oven, and due to the texture of the cakes - they were obviously going to fall apart if I tried to get them out immediately - I decided to cool in the tin - I probably lost 1/2 of them on removal - tops came away leaving the bases behind. I have plans to use this crumb mix to make an icecream cake, or I may rebake and use as a crumble topping. As I mentioned, great flavour, just not quite what I wanted.
*Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Great, no issues. Loved them.
*Walnut, Currant and Cinnamon Rugelach:
The cream cheese dough was extremely hard to handle, even after sitting in the refrigerator overnight. There was no way I could roll this out on a floured surface. I had to roll between 2 layers of greaseproof paper and refrigerate several times during this process to get it to size. Happy with the filling, but overall the biscuits were not that great a result for the effort expended & I won't make them again.
*Crispy Malted Bitter Chocolate Meringues:
I was very excited to try these, I really wanted a malteser-flavoured meringue. Possibly the problem could be with one ingredient that may have been lost in translation (I'm in Australia) - the barley malt syrup.
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