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Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops [Hardcover]

Dorie Greenspan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 12 2002
The prize-winning author of Baking with Julia (more than 350,000 copies sold), among other cookbook classics, celebrates the sweet life with recipes and lore from Paris's finest patisseries.

Like most lovers of pastry and Paris, Dorie Greenspan has always marveled at the jewel-like creations displayed in bakery windows throughout the City of Light. Now, in a charmingly illustrated tribute to the capital of sweets, Greenspan presents a splendid assortment of recipes from Paris’s foremost pastry chefs in a book that is as transporting to read as it is easy to use.

From classic recipes, some centuries old, to updated innovations, Paris Sweets provides a sumptuous guide to creating cookies, from the fabled madeleine to simple, ultra-buttery sables; tarts, from the famous Tatin, which began its life as an upside-down error, to a delightful strawberry tart embellished with homemade strawberry marshmallows; and a glorious range of cakes–lemon-drenched "weekend cake," fudge cake, and the show-stopping Opera. Paris Sweets brims with assorted temptations that even a novice can prepare, such as coffee éclairs, rum-soaked babas, and meringue puffs. Evocative portraits of the pastry shops and chefs, as well as information on authentic French ingredients, make this a truly comprehensive tour.

An elegant gift for Francophiles, armchair travelers, bakers of all skill levels, and certainly for oneself, Paris Sweets brings home a taste of enchantment.

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Dorie Greenspan's most vivid memory of her first trip to Paris doesn't have anything to do with the Eiffel Tower, but rather a heavenly strawberry tartlet. Overwhelmed by its extraordinary flavor, texture, and appearance, Greenspan was "hooked on Paris and hooked on the city's sweets." Paris Sweets is the result of 30 years of searching for the most delectable, delicious, awe-inspiring pastries she could find, and then convincing their creators to part with the recipes.

Scattered throughout this delightful book are whimsical illustrations and beautifully written stories about each of Greenspan's favorite pastry shops and the chefs who created them. Some of their recipes, such as Boulangerie Poilane's sweet, buttery, bite-size cookies called Punishments, are quick and easy enough for even a novice baker. And with Greenspan's clear, step-by-step, detailed instructions, Robert Linxe's Grandmother's Creamy Chocolate Cake, an elegant fudgy decadence, and Poujauran's rich, nutty-flavored Financiers, become child's play. Greenspan manages to demystify even the complicated multilayered Opera Cake from Dalloyau.

From the most perfect Crème Brulee and Coffee Eclairs to the stunning Fresh Strawberry and Marshmallow Tart, made with homemade strawberry marshmallows, Greenspan will have you torn between making Paris Sweets at home and going there yourself. And in case you can do both, she's included all the addresses you need. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Greenspan, the author of Baking with Julia and a frequent contributor to the food pages of the New York Times, here compiles recipes from "les bonnes adresses," collecting secrets for perfect madeleines, macaroons, apple tarts and other classic French desserts. She embellishes her cookbook with anecdotes and histories, explaining that, for example, crème brulee is actually a Spanish invention (known there as crema catalana) and that Saint-Honoré is the patron saint of pastry chefs. Greenspan also includes descriptions of some of her favorite Parisian bakeries, introducing American readers to the pleasures of Laduree and La Maison du Chocolat. The recipes themselves often involve numerous steps and a certain amount of technique; although Greenspan writes with a reassuring tone, most of this cookbook is not for beginners. Even the "simple cakes" require practice to perfect. But even if you don't intend to concoct a twelve-step cake called "Bacchus" ("it could send a hedonist's heart racing into overDrive") any time soon, simply reading Greenspan's transporting cookbook might be the next best thing to dessert.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor choice of recipes Jan. 1 2003
Format:Hardcover
There is much more to French Patisseries than what I found on this book. The choice of recipes is poor, the lack of photos is a turn-off. Some of the recipes are very elaborate for the average reader and a picture of the finished product could have been an extra help. One thing I dislike about some cookbooks and this is one, is describing mouthwatering dishes or desserts, in this case, and not including the recipe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS! Nov. 27 2006
By Merriam
Format:Hardcover
This book is absolutely fabulous! I was looking for some authentic, fool-proof french pastry recipes when I came across this book tucked away on a bookshelf corner. I've tried out a recipe a week so far, and they've all come out really well (just about salvaged my pastry chef reputation- yes this was a godsend!). Although, I was completely surprised to find out that so many chefs are willing to part with their secret recipes. I don't think I would've been that generous!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming June 8 2004
By Sharama
Format:Hardcover
I've read through Paris Sweets and plan to bake my way through it too :-) Dorie Greenspan has a love for her subject and a way with prose that will make you wish you could tour the pastry shops of Paris at her side. I've made the almond cake (aka Montmartre Square; yummy) and the Strawberry Marshmallows (if you try anything in here, try those) and am in love. The Fresh Strawberry and Marshmallow Tart is next on my list, and until then the anecdotes and adorable illustrations keep me glued. Thanks, Dorie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creme de la Creme May 1 2004
Format:Hardcover
Contemplating recipes in this new book from Dorie Greenspan, subtitled 'Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops' is much like shopping for antiques in that furniture whose style and construction have survived either decades or centuries of wear and changes in taste is almost invariably of a higher quality than last month's great new thing. You don't even have the disadvantage of having to pay a premium price, as Ms. Greenspan's book list price is lower than many books containing mostly new recipes original with the author and her support team.
Ms. Greenspan is not only reporting recipes from what she believes are the greatest patisseries in Paris, she is telling us from which shops these recipes come, and where these shops are located. Happily, some of these shops even have satellites in New York City. Yum.
All of these recipes are classics. The Madeleine cookie is so important and so well known that Ms. Greenspan gives us three recipes from three different shops. Apparently, there are so many different recipes for Madeleines, she could have assembled a book from them alone.
Cookies are the subject of the first chapter. Following chapters cover cakes, tarts, 'pastries and small treats', and 'grand gateaux'. The 'pastries and small treats' chapter includes such standards as Crème Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Ali-Babas (similar to baba au rhum), Tiger Tea Cakes, Soft Apple Cakes, Whipped Cream-Filled Meringues, Coffee Eclairs, Strawberry and Orange Flower Water Marshmallows, and Hot Chocolate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Desserts from the City of Lights to Your Table March 1 2004
Format:Hardcover
If you cannot go to Paris, then buy this book and bring some of Paris to you.
Greenspan (Baking with Julia) has done it again - another book that deciphers and presents some complicated recipes into approachable masterpieces. The recipes work (at least the ones I've tried), and I have foisted them on some of my French friends, some of whom immediately identified it and the shop the recipe came from (Earl Grey Madeleines, from Mariage Frères, for example). That constitutes success.
The book is organized cleverly, with the simpler recipes in the front, and more and more complex recipes as you work your way through. Though Greenspan does not say she is doing this by design, it is clearly the case. After each recipe, she has some tips and suggestions she calls "An American in Paris," in which she tells you things she does to make the recipe more in her own style, as an American living in Paris.
This is not a primer on French pastry, however, and you will learn little about technique; although there are many classic desserts in this book, it is not comprehensive, by any means. But that does not lessen its value.
There are some nice touches at the end of the book, too. Places to buy ingredients that might be hard to find, and of course, addresses and contact information for all the pastry shops that contributed to the book. Get out your Paris street map and start planning your next trip...
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