or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Good Pastry Books

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi I'm wondering if there is a good beginner book that takes the reader by the hand step by step with photos? thanks.

post #2 of 29

If you want a real beginner book, and don't laugh, i recommend the 1950 edition of the betty crocker cookbook.  Not the newer editions because they have lots of shortcuts and prepackaged ingredients.  They made a re-edition recently.  It's not just a baking book but has everything that was standard american fare of the 50s but mainly the baking is what i use it for.  It shows all the techniques with pictures, and the recipes are not sophisticated, but ALWAYS come out the way they're supposed to.  The cakes rise and are moist, the pie crust is flaky and holds together and is easy to roll out, etc etc. 

 

Then  the second couple of books that are extremely well described and explained, not with photos, but even better with black and white pen drawings, are the Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking I and II.  There's just no way to go wrong with her explanations, that are thorough and clear.  You can make french bread or croissants, or reine de saba or quiche and know that it will come out perfectly. 

 

I have several bookshelves of cookbooks, but none that were as foolproof for a beginner as those.  I learned to bake when i was in high school and followed betty crocker - by the time i was 16 i had bought julia child and was making her cakes and pastries and they were coming out well.  More beginner than that you can't get!  (Of course, i did do a very long apprenticeship as a child in the backyard making mudpies every day.  Nothing better to give you a feel for the batter than that!)

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #3 of 29

America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book - lots of tips, hints and pictures.  

 

Contains a bit of the science behind the 'why' am I doing this and a ton of simple substitutions.  

 

None of the recipes contain 'exotic' ingredients, to the point that an experienced baker will find them a bit dull, but great for someone starting out.

 

Well tested and fairly diverse range of recipes.

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #4 of 29

Hi Michael,

Concerning america's test kitchen baking I've used quite a few of their recipes (i have the book) but i think they think too hard on some things, and want to make everything "better" and as a result many of the recipes i find too fussy.  Also sometimes we want a traditional version of something and theirs is not the recipe we were looking for, because it's too rich or something.  (It's not in the book, it was in the magazine, but their recipe for banana bread where they extract the banana juice to get more banana flavor - it's excessive, and really, i have a much simpler banana bread recipe and it's not intense banana flavor, it's more subtle, and i much prefer it.) 

 

The explanations are great, though, and are useful to know.  But so are Julia Child's.  Hers, are, of course, limited to french cooking, except in a couple of other books she did. 

There's also the Cake Bible by Rose beranbaum but i find that also very fussy, and would be offputting for a beginner (2 1/4 cups plus one tablespoon flour - come on) though many of them are exceptional and well tested and easy to do.  

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks also out of curiosity which books would fall in the: "intermediate" category and finally "advanced?" thank you.

post #6 of 29

I don't really know.  I think if the recipe is well-explained it's good for a beginner, if the beginner is ambitious enough to try. Though some recipes require a lot of manual ability that comes with experience and practice.  But i'm sure some of the professionals here have lots of advanced books they can recommend.  I would guess the advanced books would take for granted some of the basics of technique, but maybe i'm wrong. 


Edited by siduri - 3/5/13 at 1:45pm
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #7 of 29

I was about to suggest Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible, especially based on my experience using her Cake Bible--the book Siduri mentioned above as being fussy. I think it is just very thorough--maybe overwhelmingly so for an absolute beginner but her books are great if you really want to learn the whys and hows of what you are doing. I've lusted after her Pastry Book and her Bread Book for awhile now.

 

Not step-by-step photos but her measurements are precise and are given by weight, by volume and in metric. Part of the reason her volume measurements seem fussy is because, like most bakers, she tests and prepares recipes by weight for precision. Translating that to volume measurements does leave you with odd amounts here and there, but the recipes work well because of her precision. Baking is more chemistry than art, unless you're talking bread, which is easy to do by feel once you know what you're doing.

 

Her technique instructions are not illustrated but her descriptions and instructions leave nothing to chance.

 

Beranbaum also has a website where you can ask questions.

post #8 of 29

I know i've had this discussion before, CT, but for a beginner, i think the precision business is very off-putting.  Anyone can bake and can bake well.  The emphasis on precision makes people who have no experience feel that this is like going to chemistry class again, and if you didn;t like chemistry class, you might not like baking.  I hated chemistry.  But i loved sitting on the ground making mud pies, so if you're of the Mud Pie School of Baking, you might want to start with one that is not so Chemistry Class School.  That said, I now make very difficult cakes, pastries, and other stuff, because with confidence and a good recipe, you can make anything!

 

The thing with the betty crocker cookbook (1950's edition) is that it was, i once read, based on a test kitchen that PRESUMED that people would NOT measure accurately, and would use whatever ingredients were at hand (large eggs even if  medium were specified, all purpose flour even if cake flour was specified, beating too much or too little, measuring flour in a large cup and shaking it to level it off, rather than scoop and scrape) and made recipes that would tolerate that discrepancy and come out ok anyway.  They made all the usual mistakes and saw how the recipe came out, and tried to make recipes that would tolerate those mistakes.  Then, really ANYONE can bake.  NO one has ever turned up their nose at any of the cakes or pies i've made from it. 

 

So it's a great book for a beginner.  Sure you can get a better result with more butter or less liquid, or a different proportion, if you use it perfectly, but if you make a little mistake your cake will flop, the piecrust will melt into pieces and your bread may be dry. 

 

Thinking about it, a great book (for someone with some experience, and who doesn;t need detailed descriptions)  is Barbara Maher;s now out of print book Cakes (not her newer, glitzier one where i guess she couldn't use the same recipes because of copyright questions, which has great pictures but less great recipes).  It has an amazing selection of cakes and pastries.  Her Dobostorte is amazing (and does require some more advanced skill, baking the pancake-thin layers individually) and the filling is amazing, and her sachertorte is the best i've ever eaten (even in austria) and her carrot cake and tarte tatin are my standard and there are many more, many central european cakes that we don't generally find the recipes for. 

 

Oh and another good beginner's book is TIME/LIFE The Good Cook series - there's a great Cakes book and another Desert book and has a section on basic techniques that is wonderful.  All the time/life books i tried are good for beginners, their Cooking of the World series, for example, has every recipe spelled out in detail (too much and too tediously, frankly, if you already know how to cook.  but great for a beginner).  When still really a beginner, i made their strawberry tart with pate brisee crust, bavarian cream filling and strawberries on top and it came out perfectly.  But to give you an idea, if you know how to grease and flour a pan you donl;t need every single recipe to say "with a pastry brush , brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch layer-cake pan with the teaspoon of softened butter.  Add 1 tablespoon of flour and tip the pan to distribute it evenly.  Then invert the pan and rap it sharply to dislodge the excess flour."  So that is tedious even for a beginner.  I mean, really, soften the teaspoon of butter??!!  But both series have wonderful recipes.  In the Cakes cookbook, i learned to make boiled fondant, and it's a whole other taste and texture from the one made with powdered sugar in the Cake bible.  You definitely DON'T  want to just peel this one off and discard it to get to the cake!  Unfortunately these are also out of print i believe but i;ve seen them used. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTerry View Post

I was about to suggest Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible,...

 

Her technique instructions are not illustrated but her descriptions and instructions leave nothing to chance.

 

Beranbaum also has a website where you can ask questions.

 

Does her P&P Bible include recipes for pate brisee aka tarte crust as I'm having a bit of difficulty with that dough?  I'd really like to nail home pate brisee and perhaps learn to make croissants.  A short list of other suggestions might be helpful. 

 

Siduri:  does the Time-Life book on French Provencal Cooking give a good recipe for pate brisee as well;  it looks as if they have a dynamite recipe for bavarian cream like you mention elsewhere.
 


Edited by kokopuffs - 3/6/13 at 2:43am

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #10 of 29

Learning the hows and whys a recipe works or doesn't is important to a successful results when learning to bake. While I agree with Siduri that the old Betty Crocker cookbook is a terrific starting point, there are some other books on pastry and baking that give the novice a little more info about how to make a fabulous dessert.

 

Check out any of Maida Heatter's books. There's a lot of explanation, but without those small skills of how to measure accurately, how to prevent cakes from sticking to pans etc, even simple recipes can be disastrous for a newbie. Maida's writing is like having your Granny right by your side, coaching you through the whole process.

 

While Rose Levy Berenbaum's PPB can be tedious in her measurements and instructions, I think Rose heard that criticism and found a new way to structure all that information to be more appealing and user friendly to the novice. I had the pleasure of working with her in promoting Rose's Heavenly Cakes and they were all fabulous and easy to follow. The Whoopie Pies are to die for! If you ever have the chance to meet Rose or hear her speak, jump at the opportunity. She's an absolute riot and knows all the gossip on every food celebrity! She's not afraid to share it either.smiles.gif

 

Also, get Shirley Corriher's BakeWise on your shelf. Right Now!!!! The desserts, from old fashioned European style desserts to southern American classics, each and every one of them work wonderfully. Shirley also explains in simple terms why recipes work and small things you can do to take them from wonderful to fabulous.

 

As a beginner, you might also look for Beth Lipton's You Made That Dessert?! Beth is a food editor for a number of magazines published by Time, Inc. Her recipes are accessible, delicious and easy to make. It's a fun starting point for new bakers  and all the recipes have a distinctly modern twist.


Edited by foodnfoto - 3/6/13 at 7:04am

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #11 of 29

Thanks for the info and I'm looking to nail pate brisee and bavarian cream (thanks Sidure for this one).

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

This thread has some very good info. I'm not so sure I want to start out with Betty Crocker, since a big part of baking is about precision and very accurate weighing, I would rather get a book that starts with the ABC's of doing this then followed with real world applications. Thanks

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post

Thanks for the info and I'm looking to nail pate brisee and bavarian cream (thanks Sidure for this one).

Here's the recipe from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio:

                    
* Exported from MasterCook *

                      3-2-1 Pie Crust (Pâte Brisée)

Recipe By     :Pete V. McCracken, as adapted from "Ratio-The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking" by Michael Ruhlman
Serving Size  : 8     Preparation Time :0:00
Categories    : Dough                           Pies
                Savory                          Sweet
                Tarts or Quiches

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  12            ounces  flour
  4             ounces  butter -- cold
  4             ounces  lard -- cold
  2             ounces  ice water -- maybe as much as 4 ounces
  1              pinch  salt -- about 1/2 teaspoon

Combine flour and fats in a mixing bowl and rub fats with fingers until you have small beads of fat and plenty of pea sized chunks.

Add ice water gradually and a good pinch of salt and mix gently, just until combined DO NOT OVER MIX!

shape into two equal disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until ready to roll out

Source:
  ""Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman, page 25", formatted by Pete V. McCracken, 657 Village Green St., Porterville, CA 93257 (559) 784-6192 PersonalChef@cwdi.org"
Copyright:
 
Yield:
  "1 pie shell and lid"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 384 Calories; 26g Fat (61.4% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 45mg Cholesterol; 135mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 5 Fat.


Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0
 

For technique details, see Julia Childs, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, page 139

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #14 of 29

Right, Pete, I've seen that before.  Thanks.  Now here's my problem.  I'm blind baking pate brisee (short crust and NOT flakey pie crust).  If such a crust is overbaked, baked blindly for let's say 45 or more minutes, will the fat seep out of the tin leaving the crust very tough and hard?  That's a problem I've had with blind baking and not using any weight to prevent the crust from billowing out.  Should the blind bake time be kept short, for 20-30 minutes at most????

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #15 of 29

I've had excellent results blind baking by:

  • Lining the tart shell with buttered foil, buttered side down
  • Docking thru the foil, I use a dinner fork
  • Weighting the foil with dry beans, rice, or pie weights
  • Baking for 8-10 minutes in a 400°F (205°C) oven until set
  • Removing the foil and weights
  • Baking an additional 2-3 minutes for partially baked or 8-10 minutes for a fully baked, lightly browned shell
  • Remove from tart ring or mold and cool on a rack to firm up and avoid soggy shell

 

An egg wash immediately after removing the foil seals the shell and enhances browning.

 

Oh, BTW, I prefer using  tart rings on a sheet pan rather than pie or tart pans, the rings slip off easily and the shells are easy to transfer to racks for cooling and the cooled shells are easy to store and keep for several days.

 

Now, please understand, I'm not a pastry specialist or expert, but the above works for me. talker.gif

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #16 of 29

Kokopuffs-

 

I'm not sure if the book includes a recipe for pate brisee and I don't own a copy.

 

Yet.

 

I'm seriously considering buying a cheap, used copy off of Amazon. I will definitely let you know.

post #17 of 29

Mr Decoy--

 

Do you really want just pastry? As in tarts, pies, pastries, etc. or are you looking for help with cakes and cookies and sweet breads as well?

I was being really literal when I suggested the Beranbaum book. 

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

Terry,

 

Pastry and standard dessert bakery, all of it. Thanks

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdecoy1 View Post

Terry,

 

Pastry and standard dessert bakery, all of it. Thanks

 

Tarte crust and therefore PATE BRISEE PATE BRISEE PATE BRISEE PATE BRISEE.  And now, what are you referring to, Mr. Decoy?  I just want pate brisee.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

KOKO, 

 

Different conversation.

post #21 of 29

delete delete delete


Edited by kokopuffs - 3/7/13 at 3:56am

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #22 of 29

Koko, the pate brisee with the tarte recipe (bavarian cream etc) was actually from time life provincial french cooking.  I use both that one and the julia child version for brisee, but making it here i've had to adapt the recipe to the italian flour, and so my proportions are different. 

 

I never had the problem of the butter melting through, though.  I never put weights in a blind baked crust but put parchment paper, crunkled up around the edges, and inside it a sheet of foil also crunkled up so it sort of presses the sides.  If the bottom puffs up, i then later (after ten minutes) prick it only where necessary and then deflate with the flat tines of the fork.  then finish baking without the paper.  The reason i do this?  i never was able to get the d**n weights out without breaking the side crust!  I also make a nice fluting around the edge that slightly goes over the edge so it won;t shrink down. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

Koko, the pate brisee with the tarte recipe (bavarian cream etc) was actually from time life provincial french cooking.  I use both that one and the julia child version for brisee, but making it here i've had to adapt the recipe to the italian flour, and so my proportions are different. 

 

I never had the problem of the butter melting through, though.  I never put weights in a blind baked crust but put parchment paper, crunkled up around the edges, and inside it a sheet of foil also crunkled up so it sort of presses the sides.  If the bottom puffs up, i then later (after ten minutes) prick it only where necessary and then deflate with the flat tines of the fork.  then finish baking without the paper.  The reason i do this?  i never was able to get the d**n weights out without breaking the side crust!  I also make a nice fluting around the edge that slightly goes over the edge so it won;t shrink down. 

 

I'm not clear on this one.  I want an established pate brisee recipe.  Where and I'm about ready to go to my German Time-Life cookbook for the crust?????????????????????????

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post

 

I'm not clear on this one.  I want an established pate brisee recipe.  Where and I'm about ready to go to my German Time-Life cookbook for the crust?????????????????????????

You don't like either Michael's or Julia's? confused.gif

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #25 of 29

post deleted


Edited by kokopuffs - 3/7/13 at 4:08am

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #26 of 29

In Paula Peck's book The Art of Fine Baking, her brisee recipe calls for two raw yolks and three hard cooked yolks in addition to the butter.  What is the purpose of these three hard-cooked yolks?  Why hard-cooked yolks?  Here's the entire recipe:

 

2C sifter flour

3 TBS sugar (I assume confectioners sugar)

3/4C butter (1 1/2 sticks otherwise 6 oz)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp grated lemon rind

3 hard cooked egg yolks, mashed

2 raw egg yolks

 

Talk about a rich recipe.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 

Back to my question about books, I've noticed on Amazon reviews for most all Patisserie books no matter how acclaimed they are somebody always says: "measurements are so far off  nothing came out right" this most often has to be user error right? 

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdecoy1 View Post

Back to my question about books, I've noticed on Amazon reviews for most all Patisserie books no matter how acclaimed they are somebody always says: "measurements are so far off  nothing came out right" this most often has to be user error right? 

 

No matter the item's review that you read, there will always be a 'lemon review'.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Back to my question about books, I've noticed on Amazon reviews for most all Patisserie books no matter how acclaimed they are somebody always says: "measurements are so far off  nothing came out right" this most often has to be user error right? 

It's always a good idea to read about how the author approached their measurements. This is usually found in a cookbook's introductory chapter. Most cooks go straight to the recipe without bothering to read this vital piece of information and thus, get a bad result and complain about it in a review of the book. 

Measuring is particularly important in pastry where a couple tablespoons of flour, more or less, can make the difference between a tough cake or dough or a tender one. 

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking