From Publishers Weekly
Six years after Stewart's now classic Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook
reinvented canapés, here is an end-of-the-meal sequel. General baking tips start things off, most of which are beginner focused ("Read a recipe all the way through"), along with an illustrated guide to baking equipment. Along with expertise, Stewart is also selling the fantasy of wealth; she keeps a vast collection of pots, pans and implements in her own pantry. At times, readers may wish she would offer more suggestions of substitutions for these tools and gadgets (for instance, nearly all the recipes require a stand-up mixer). All the same, this work is, as promised, an essential guide. The recipes include 42 different cookies and 30 cakes, plus pies, tarts, coffee cakes, scones, biscuits, muffins, crackers, bread, fine pastries and more. They range from Classic Apple Pie to twists on standards, like a Tarte Tatin that involves cooking the apples entirely in the oven (instead of on the stovetop) and international goodies like Torta della Nonna. Instructions and sidebars are exhaustive yet accessible. Naturally, the book is exquisitely designed, with beautiful food styling and the spare, closeup photography that's become a hallmark of Stewart publications. Additionally, Stewart includes instructions for decorative crusts, coconut shavings and pastry twists that make her creations look so appealing. (On sale Nov. 1)
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This new volume may add to global warming as cooks all over the country start up their ovens to produce the extraordinary baked goods that Stewart proposes. Few of Stewart's recipes are completely original. Martha's genius rests in her uncanny ability to see a recipe in a novel way. Thus, her roulade has a filling of blackberry fool. Pineapple upside-down cake replaces the pineapple's core with mango. Caramel sticks cover the multiple chocolate layers of Dobos Torte. Rather than the little slices of banana customary inside ordinary banana cream pie, Stewart employs dramatic lengthwise slices. In addition to quick breads, Stewart offers yeast-raised loaves and buns, including focaccia, English muffins, croissants, and Danish pastries. Stewart's cookie recipes yield products suitable for gift giving. Illustrations throughout offer some guidance to the perplexed baker, but some recipes, such as the sfogliatelle,
almost demand personal, step-by-step treatment. This is not an in-depth treatise on any one particular facet of the baker's art, but what Stewart chooses to deal with, she unfolds with care, grace, aplomb, and total mastery. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved