Good: This book is written at a high level. If you think the books that Dorie Greenspan writes are easy (for example), then this book is your level. Bau gives interesting perspective on making pastry - for example that cakes are hard to handle, and need to have more "safe" recipes", Plated desserts can be more imaginative, storage properties of candies, and so on. There are beautiful photos on every page. The section on making chocolate candies is the best I have seen in this type of book. There are a lot of chocolate candy recipes, including raspberry, praline, white chocolate/coconut, tea/orange, gianduja/orange caramel, and so on. Bau has a lot of info on keeping chocolate in temper, keeping ganache smooth, and so on. This is the book's strongest section.
Bad: If you do not already know how to make pastry, you are toast. For example, this is the recipe for Creme anglaise: "Boil together the milk and cream. Next, and taking the usual precausions, pour over the yolks, previously combined with the sugar. Do not whip. Cook until the preparation coats the spoon, at 84-86 C. Strain and use at once". Many of the cake recipes do not give a baking time! He assumes you already know. All of the recipes are scaled to ~3-4 cakes, so you have to scale down. All of the recipes gives amounts in grams, so you have to know the conversion in your head (ie 200g sugar=1 cup). Some of the ingredients are hard to get (Praline is hard to get, cocoa paste is impossible).Read more ›