Yet another excellent book by the never aging master. PASTRY is all one would expect from a pastry chef of Michel Roux's calibre. High quality paper and photos, excellent recipes, imaginative combinations, modern decorations and clear instructions.
There are photos of all basic procedures and of most of the products.
The European edition that I have has Metric measurements and the American edition has both volume (cups and spoons) and Metric.
The book is divided by sections according to the pastry used in each preparation. It starts with a 'pastry techniques' section and the chapters are:
Enriched sweet pastries (pate sucree, pate sablee)
Raised pie pastry
Every chapter starts with the method of preparing the starring pastry and goes on with the assembled products.
I have to note here that rarely can one find in books instructions(especially with photos) on how to make filo by hand.
The shortcrust/flan pastry section starts with savory products before moving on to sweet preparations. The selection of recipes is delectable and my personal favorites are: Asparagus and red pepper flan, semi confit cherry tomato tart, croustade of seasonal vegetables, lightly curried seafood flan and the cherry clafoutis. In this section you get also filled pastries like cornish pastries and beef and cheese empanadas.
The enriched sweet pastries chapter has an excellent recipe for sablee pastry and biscuits with a buttery, melt in the mouth quality.In this section is Mr Roux's Lemon tart (baked), that has been my favourite ever since I first made and tasted it as a student in Pastry school in the early nineties. Also present is the famous Chocolate and Raspberry tart, a heavenly combination that has to be tasted to be believed. The Cheesecake and the Sables with blueberry mousse also stand out.
The Puff pastry section like the Shortcrust one has many savory recipes from which I single out the Herbed monkfish in puff crust, rhe Sole and wild mushroom bouches, Chicken pies and the Beef and ale pies. From the sweet ones I like the classics, Pithiviers and tart Tatin.
I have no favorite recipes from the raised pie section.I like them all! All preparations are meals unto themselves, keep for long periods if refrigerated and take kindly to transportation, so they are ideal for picnics. Forget Spam and corned beef for a while and try making your own Pork pies and Chicken with chicken liver pate.
The Brioche section includes plain and filled brioche dough with both savory and sweet preparations. I like the fillet of beef in a pastry crust, the Brioches polonaises and the Baba au Rhum.
Michel Roux's croissant recipe is very delicate so when preparing it make sure that your room temperature and your workbench are cool. The preparations are the classics so try your hand at your own homemade pain au chocolat and danish pastries.
The Choux pastry chapter has a variety of classic and modern products. I like the roasted peaches on choux crowns and the mushroom filled gougeres.
The pizza section has some classics including pizza margherita and Calzone. This is not really the definitive book on pizzas but the selection is good.
Finally, the filo section includes the refreshing Filo croustades with figs, almonds and fromage blanc, apple strudel, baklava and the vegetable and goat cheese flan.
The final chapter has the basics like syrups and custards.
Michel Roux's book lives up to its title and the fame of its author. It is better than Catherine Atkinson's book with the same title and Eric Kaizer's book on tarts that deals more or less with the same subject.
And at this low price this hardcover book is a bargain.