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The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts [Hardcover]

French Culinary Institute , Judith Choate
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 92.00
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2009
An indispensable addition to any serious home baker’s library, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts covers the many skills an aspiring pastry chef must master. Based on the internationally lauded curriculum developed by master pâtissier Jacques Torres for New York’s French Culinary Institute, the book presents chapters on every classic category of confection: tarts, cream puffs, puff pastry, creams and custards, breads and pastries, cakes, and petits fours. 
Each chapter begins with an overview of the required techniques, followed by dozens of recipes—many the original creations of distinguished FCI graduates. Each recipe even includes a checklist to help you evaluate your success as measured against professional standards of perfection! Distilling ten years of trial and error in teaching students, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts is a comprehensive reference with hundreds of color photographs, a wealth of insider tips, and highly detailed information on tools and ingredients—quite simply the most valuable baking book you can own.

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The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts + The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry
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About the Author

For more than 20 years, The French Culinary Institute in Manhattan has been teaching the fundamentals of Western cuisine through its “Total Immersion” curriculum. With a world-class faculty, including deans Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac, André Soltner, and Jacques Torres, the FCI is among the leading schools of its kind anywhere.

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classique! March 12 2010
Format:Hardcover
I received this book as a Christmas gift,and I was so excited! It is a great book on the fundamentals of classic French Pastry,written by some of the best Pastry Chefs in the World (Jacques Torres,Jacques Pepin and others.) I am presently enrolled in Pastry School and it is helping me in my studies immensely as it is structured like a pastry class and has 'chefs tips' to help out for each recipe. Highly recommended for the budding Pastry Chef or home baker who wants to truly learn the craft of classic French Patisserie! Bon Appetit!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an essential reference Feb. 22 2010
By elizzy
Format:Hardcover
For those who love to bake or make pastry or entertain, this book will deepen your understanding of technique and will help you get to the "next level". A handy but essential reference book, full of wonderful recipes and techniques, which you will return to again and again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some amazing recipes...and some problems April 3 2010
By Kay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've made several of the desserts in this book -- and most of them were amazing. Seriously, amazing. You haven't had a cheese Danish until you've had one straight out of the oven. It was fantastic. Hot brioche, the same. And the tarts, and the cookies...oh my. My roommates and coworkers alike are now hovering every weekend and Monday morning to see what I've made/brought to work. My dessert game has been elevated.

Keep in mind that the ingredients are listed in grams and ounces -- you'll need a kitchen scale. It's easy to get used to, but if you don't have one you can't even begin.

I do have one big complaint. As another reviewer mentioned, there are ERRORS in the recipes. (At the end of the genoise recipe, in the "tips" section, it says that for a 6-inch cake you use x amount of flour and an 8-inch cake, y amount...but shouldn't that be in the ingredients section? And if not there, shouldn't it say, in the ingredients section, "see page z for flour amounts"? I would think so.) An example is the lemon cake recipe. In the body it mentions adding sugar twice, but it's only listed once. I worried I'd get a sickeningly sweet cake if I added too much, so I only put in the amount listed...and got a blah, boring cake. (Though the light-as-a-cloud texture was delightful. Too bad it wasn't tasty, too.) And then sometimes equipment is in the ingredients section...line breaks are off... there are pictures of the execution of recipes that contradict the directions in the recipe... I found it very strange.

For an art that is as exacting as French pastries are, it's all the more striking that there are so many errors in the book. Most of the final products are AMAZING. But I wish they had paid as much attention to detail in the editing as you need to do to make pastries.
78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental techniques and typos Dec 30 2009
By K. jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I recently purchased this book from my book of the month club. I love to bake and have quite a collection of baking specific books. I pulled out The Fundamental Techniques tonight to review genoise ( french sponge cake)page 328 since I plan on giving this versatile cake a try. Everything is explained clearly and the tips seem great until you get to the ingredients where I noticed flour is missing! It is mentioned in the recipe directions but no quantity is listed anywhere. This is such a fundamental cake and the recipe is carelessly WRONG. This is the only recipe I have looked at and have not baked from the book... now I am regretting my purchase of a VERY expensive book.
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I'd hoped... Dec 1 2009
By Dessert Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts is an amazing book for pastry geeks like me. I'm a home cook, but very experienced with creating gourmet & restaurant-type desserts. I took a trip to Paris and visited some lovely little neighborhood patisseries, and tasted as many french desserts as I could during my short visit. Almost all of them were absolutely amazing, and completely different than what is available locally in my area of the U.S. This big, thick, colorful book shows how to make all of the desserts we tasted and loved on our trip. It has just enough photographs to illustrate key points of the recipes, and many of the recipes have photos of the finished product. One thing that I would have enjoyed is photographs showing some of the desserts plated and ready to serve. There were a few photos of finished desserts where I wanted to see what it looked like when it was cut. Still, I love the book, and there are a lot of things that make it "better than the rest of the crowd". I very much appreciate the "Evaluating Your Success" section for each recipe, and also the "Tips" section that accompanies each recipe.
This is a BIG book, and though I initially read the book all the way through, it's obviously better suited as a reference book, not a read-it-in-bed-as-you-fall-asleep book. It's just too heavy & bulky to read easily as a bedside book! I also liked the inclusion of not one, but *two* ribbon bookmarks to help mark pages for easy reference. Beautiful book, and worth every dime!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Assumptions April 27 2010
By Greg Hassen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received this book and have tried two of the recipes. My experience has been similar to one of the reviews I read. There are typos. Typos that could easily lead one to do things wrong and therefore requires one to read the recipes several times and very carefully, knowing that all is not there that one needs for success.

I am not a professional, but I do have quite a bit of experience.

I tried the Frazier Victoria (FV). This recipe requires Creme Moussiline (CM) which is Creme Patissiere (CP) with butter incorporated after completing the CP. The recipe never specifically explains that a double batch of the CP recipe is needed to properly make the CP (and complete the two cakes the FV recipe makes). I figured this out while assembling the cakes and being able to complete only one cake (and later realizing I had made the CM with twice the butter!)! I went back and checked the yield required for the CM and then saw that the yield for the CP needed to be doubled to obtain the final yield of the CM. Pretty obscure way to do it, but maybe a pro would know this........although, the CM yield is shown in grams and pounds; the CP yield is shown in liters ~ thank you very much!

Although there are a lot of pictures, there are more recipes without than with. Some of those with, don't show the completed pastry (if unfamiliar with that particular one, how do you do it!?!). Also, written instructions do not always sync with the pictures shown.

My impression of the book is that the FCI chefs contributed recipes, but no one ever checked them for the "not" professional Pastry Chef and no one went through the book so they were presented in a consistent, step-by-step manner to increase one's success rate.

If there is a second printing, and I think there should be (and hope there will be), they should take the time to re-work the book and send everyone that bought the first printing new one, at no charge!!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars could be a great book but flaws are significant Oct. 18 2012
By P. Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Like other reviewers I was initially thrilled by the amazing detail and photos as well as the chance to recreate items I have eaten in France. I am a skilled home baker so was not put off by the complexity of many of the recipes. However the first recipe I tried (Charlotte Russe) was quite puzzling since the pictures directly contradicted the written instructions. Example: the recipe calls for a plain Bavarian cream filling but the step-by-step photos shows a fruit Bavarian cream being used. The recipe says invert the cake but the cake shown definitely is never inverted (doing so would have put all the decorations under the cake!) The recipe says cut the ladyfingers in half but the photo shows ladyfingers that are not cut. This is not even a full description of all the inconsistencies in just one recipe. Since I have eaten a Charlotte Russe before making this recipe I knew what I was aiming for, but was frustrated nonetheless and can only imagine how a reader might feel who wasn't sure what the end product was supposed to be like. That said, the photos are very helpful as a general reference for pastry techniques. So much promise to this book that its a real shame it has so many problems.
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