17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
WARNING, READ BEFORE USING BOOK: (See customer photo). The page preceding the table of contents contains the usual publication information, printed on a photograph for maximum illegibility: copyright, dates, ISBN, etc. At the top of this page under the heading "notes" are 6 paragraphs. The fifth paragraph reads: "Timings are for fan-assisted [convection] ovens. If using a conventional oven, increase the temperature by 30°F. (15°C.). IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CONVENTION OVEN, RAISE ALL BAKING TEMPERATURES BY 30°F.
Michel Roux is, without question, one of the world's best, most accomplished, pastry chefs. He presents "Desserts" as a "fresh look" at the subject with "updated great classics and mouthwatering contemporary recipes, inspired by his travels and designed to suit today's fresher, lighter palate." This is an accurate description of the contents, which span the gamut of desserts (fruit, cremes, souffles, puddings, crepes, ice creams, meringues, pastries, cakes, and chocolates). The recipes have numerous beautiful photographs, including photos illustrating techniques. I have not yet tried the recipes but look forward to doing so. Many look perfect for Spring. Note that in 1997 Roux published another cookbook of the same name, Desserts.
I do think that Amazon's description of this book is inaccurate. It states: "For more complicated techniques, helpful step-by-step photos ensure that even inexperienced home cooks and bakers achieve delicious results." Although a few techniques are illustrated, this cookbook is, by no means, suitable for home cooks and certainly not inexperienced cooks. Michel Roux is no Julia Child.
The recipes assume familiarity with professional techniques. Although volume measurements are given, e.g., cups and tablespoons, metric weights are included and produce far more accurate results. The use of "a scant cup" implies, to me, that Roux never intended the chef/cook to measure rather than weigh ingredients.
Further, recipes use professional ingredients, such as leaf gelatin, seldom used by the home baker, and Roux does not provide suppliers or sources. Note: the Internet is a good resource for buying these uncommon ingredients. A few ingredients, such as clotted cream, probably require substitution by even the professional chef, but the recipes provide no suggestions or advice. As for candied mimosa balls used to decorate the mini croquembouche, I could find only 1 source on the Internet. They are made in Toulouse, France, and sell for $11.00 a quarter ounce!
Big technical problems: the binding and printing. A quality cookbook should not fall apart after a few uses. The publisher has a serious problem with the binding. Also, text should not be written on photos as on page 163. It is illegible.
Overall, if one has the skills and experience to deal with Roux's recipes, I do think that this book presents a delicious array of desserts to please most palates.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I Do the Speed Limit
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
But it mostly features fruit, so don't get a false picture of heavy and totally decadent desserts. (Although there is one recipe in there for a very sinful-looking Chocolate Mousse Cake with Cherries....)
I think that what stands out about this "dessert" cook book is that it is NOT primarily a "baking" cook book, which is fine by me--I've got plenty of brownie recipes, pie cook books, cake cook books, cookie cook books, holiday baking cookbooks. It is also NOT a chocolate cook book, although there are many recipes featuring chocolate.
I don't bother baking much during the warm months, (6-8 months of "warm or hot" where we live) but for some reason, those are the months when the family craves something sweet after dinner. That's also when we entertain more often, and I want to go the extra effort and make a dessert. If I have a choice of dessert, I will pick crème brule, mousse, pannacotta, soufflé, fool, posset, puddings, meringue, sorbets or ice cream over cake, brownies, cookies or candy. So this book is perfect in my mind.
I love to use the fruit of summer, the apples, pears cranberries and persimmons of fall, and the citrus of winter, and the family loves all fruit desserts, ice creams, sorbets, mousse, puddings and other creamy concoctions that don't need an oven. (Okay, we do love our fruit pies, too.) So the point is: This cook book excels in the fruit department; it is crammed with recipes that use fruit as a main ingredient. And I'm very, very happy to have this cook book.
Michael Roux masterfully covers all the basics while emphasizing other-than-the-basic flavors and flavor combinations. As an example there is Crema Catalana from Spain, which is flavored with fennel seed, cinnamon, lemon and orange And the processes for making crème anglaise, sabayon, meringue (both French and Italian), crepes and genoese are explained in detail and in numerous pictures (two pages for each technique, in the appropriate chapter). In addition to what I've already mentioned there are some fried creations, truffles and jellies, sauces, madeleines, macarons, cheesecakes, a gateau, kataifi (Greek pastry), tarts, and not to be left out, a token pie, cake, and a brownie recipe. I say, Wow! with a capital W!
We tried the very simple Citrus Fruit in a Sauternes Jelly over the weekend. I used some left-over ice wine, citrus from our neighbor's yard, and put it in our Bodum double-walled 8 oz. glasses Bodum Pavina 8-Ounce Double Wall Thermo Glass, Buy 4 Get 6 Bonus Set. The presentation was beautiful and the ice wine could not have met a better end. We've also tried the Strawberry Fool (fruit, sugar, balsamic vinegar, cream) and it was also simple and great tasting. There are plenty of variations for many of the recipes, too. For instance, the Fool can be made with apples, rhubarb or apricot. Crème anglaise can be chocolate, coffee, ginger, spiced, minted or pistachio. And yesterday my husband made the lemon posset....Forget the roast chicken on the grill! Let's eat dessert!!! (So we actually compromised....and left out the potato; making a feast of chicken, sautéed carrots and posset!)
At this time of year it's no use trying some of these recipes that call for apricots, peaches, melons, etc., but there are some lovely pineapple and strawberry and plenty of citrus recipes. I am looking forward to trying the fruit ice cubes and the melon and sweet pepper gazpacho. I would have liked to see more ice cream and sorbet recipes.
For next late Fall there are pear and apple recipes and a terrific-looking cranberry, quince and apple crumble. There are so many more recipes that I've marked and am anxious to try.
No wasted space in this cook book--even the book's margins are less than the norm. Vibrant pictures are more than pretty and bright and colorful: They are creative and explanatory. Index is adequate. Text is plenty large enough to read, and when sometimes shown against a brightly-colored background, the text is bolded. Same size and look as his Eggs book, so it works as somewhat of a series. His Eggs cook book is equally sophisticated and covers both all the basics and plenty of new recipes to try.
Several pages ripping from the binding the second time I opened the book. So unusual--only one other book's ever done that before. Heck, I'll use a rubberband if I have to...but I will keep using this book! I see that other reviewers reported the same problem. ADDED 4/6/12: It seems that the binding issue has been rectified.