I have had this book for almost a year. I am almost ashamed to say that, as I had not written about it. This book is fabulous start to finish. It is similar to having a conversation with the best-known pastry chefs in America with their pictures, formulas and techniques! Featured are the comments of the Notters, Nick Malgieri, Ann Amernick and Jacquy Pfeiffer listing just a few. Like the other books in this series, you are given a peak into the inner workings of the pastry chefs' mind. I find it wonderful to find who their influences were, how they create the beautiful desserts that adorn the menus of the countries most exclusive dining spots.
I have been handing this book out to folks to get feed back because what I look for in a cookery book is different from a home cook's view. Neo Classic View of Plated Desserts is a kin to a coffee table book in its visual dazzle so it is appropriate for the serious home pastry enthusiast as well as the professional and a great book for the student.
This is number four in a series of books by the authors of companion books called Grand Finales. Tish Boyle is food editor and Tim Moriarty is features editor in two of the most influential American pastry arts magazines, Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design. Chocolatier is geared more towards the home pastry aficionado and Pastry Art and Design is an industry based glossy although both enjoy crossover status.
Would you believe I have placed neon colored post it notes through out this book to mark my favorite passages? I related to Martha Crawfords' insight on the high cost of labor and the fantastic quality timesaving products available ment to keep your labor costs in line while maintaining the superiority of your product. On the subject of Classical Dessert, Chris Broberg of Lespinasse in NY states that "If it hasn't survived, there's probably a reason for it." I could quote Nick Malgerie but I would find myself copying the book instead of commenting.
Besides the introductory chat session at the first third of the book, the last bit is a how to of Sugar Work techniques with systematic photos and descriptions by the world-renowned sugar artist Ewald Notter. Each of these elements alone would make up a great pastry book!
Sandwiched between these two elements are the formulas and photos ment to dazzle and they do! Chapters include spoon desserts and frozen desserts, cakes and tarts while beautiful twists are given to these classics bringing them up to date while retaining their dignity and grace. Please note, I do not always delve into the recipes in a book because my view is that of a road map, if you can read a map you will arrive at the destination. In other words, this is a book heavy in technique and each formula is broken down into several steps, even some steps are broken down into steps! This is one for the enthusiastic Pastry Hound.
The idea behind this volume is to teach an old dog new tricks. Viewing basic classical dessert components and giving them new life. For example, Didier Goller presents his Five-Spice Crà¨me Brulee adorned with chocolate ribbon and sugar work, Kim O'Flaherty of the Four Seasons NYC, Presents a Banana Snickers Napoleon! My favorite was Michael Hu's Quince Apple Dome, a fall winter dessert with elements as simple as streusel topping and complex as caramelized hazelnuts. As far as the presentations you are given a license to create something so far out that, an apple tart can look more like Guggenheim in Spain but contain the components of the classic dessert.
The Grand Finales series is a wonderful reference set detailing the zeitgeist of the Pastry field. A great set for the Pastry Chef, Pastry Chef in training, Catering Chef and serious Home Chef. It is like having twelve great Pastry Chefs looking over your shoulder giving you pointers!