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Spago Desserts [Hardcover]

Mary Bergin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 8 1994
Mary Bergin's fabulous desserts have helped make Spago, winner of the 1994 James Beard Award for the best restaurant of the year, a landmark the world over. Now, in these pages, Bergin tells us her secrets. First, start with basic recipes: Chocolate Chiffon Cake, Buttermilk Cake, Cheesecake, Brioche, Shortcakes, Puff Pastry, and Pie Dough. Then, as Bergin shows us, you can vary these basics to produce such wonders as Austrian Chocolate Cake, Lemon Buttermilk Cake, White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cheesecake, Apricot Rolls, Peach and Berry Cobbler, Apple Pear Tarte Tatin, Fresh Cherry Lattice Tart, and many, many more.

The unique ability of Mary Bergin and Judy Gethers, Wolfgang Puck's longtime collaborator, to break down even the most complex recipes into simple basics makes this book perfect not only for seasoned bakers, but also for enterprising novices. To aid beginners, the authors include an extensive glossary of ingredients, equipment, and techniques, as well as numerous practical illustrations that clarify and complement the written text. The instructions are clear and simple, replete with helpful tips and advice.

In Spago Desserts, you will find everything from Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies to Cherry Clafouti. Great Spago staples, such as the sumptuous Opera Cake, are intermixed with simple pleasures -- Brownies, Spago's Old-fashioned Apple Pie, muffins of all shapes and sizes -- and not-so-simple pleasures, such as Tiramisu, Fresh Berry Napoleon with Caramel Sauce, and Chocolate Truffles with Brandied Apricots. For those who wish to indulge less sinfully, the authors have also included a few superb fat-free recipes, such as Grapefruit Vodka Sorbet and Strawberries in Port Wine.

Bergin and Gethers have worked for years with Wolfgang Puck, Spago's chef and owner, and have mastered the rare blend of classical teaching and innovative spirit that have made Spago in Los Angeles and the new Spago in Las Vegas among the best restaurants in the world. Spago Desserts is a brilliant addition to the Spago line of cookbooks, and, like its predecessors, it is sure to become a modern classic. Now you can make these desserts, whether fat-free or sinfully delicious, at home, exactly as they are prepared in the Spago kitchens.

Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

Bergin is the executive pastry chef at the Las Vegas branch of Wolfgang Puck's acclaimed Spago restaurant. With coauthor Gethers, a food writer, she presents the favorite Spago desserts, from Austrian Chocolate Cake to Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles. The authors have made a real effort to make even their most complicated recipes accessible to the home cook, with thoughtful explanations of various techniques, clear recipe directions, and substitutions or adaptations when necessary. Puck's cookbooks (most recently, Adventures in the Kitchen, LJ 12/91), like his restaurants, are popular, and this one from his pastry chef is likely to be too.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Disregard the trendy origins of these 144 desserts, because underneath the lemon curds, the brioche, and the strawberry bavarian creams lies a very interesting idea: that desserts can be layered, altered, and modified much like articles of clothing. Under the tutelage of pastry chef Bergin, of the Las Vegas branch of Spago restaurant, a chocolate chiffon cake becomes an Austrian chocolate cake, and a brioche is transformed into a sticky bun, apple bread pudding, or a ricotta fig tart. Both novel and traditional desserts appear with upscale variations; rather dry explanations of equipment, cooking terms, techniques, and ingredients are intended to reassure novice bakers that this is all just a piece of cake. Barbara Jacobs

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Finest Dessert Cookbooks Available Nov. 10 2001
By A Customer
The recipes in this cookbook include the standard techniques and repertoire that a good pastry chef (including a good home pastry chef) should have. Very few of these recipes are not greatly rewarding. Though some may require the devotion of a few hours, or even more, the recipes are almost always fairly easy. The chef-writers allow much flexibility in mixing parts of recipes (the outside and the inside, crust and fillings) and include the fundamentals for the basic dessert types, including cake, cheesecake, ice cream, cookies (including biscotti), pies, tarts, muffins, and fruit-based desserts. The recipes are clear, easy to follow, and require rudimentary cooking skills to produce quite amazing results. This book is appropriate for homey, feel-good deserts as well as rather bombastic ones, and each is as delicious as the next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mary's recipes Oct. 11 2001
I just bought this book for my collection, after having tried some of Mary's desserts, a while ago (a long while ago). I earn my living, like Mary Bergin, making desserts and taking some of the blame for accumulated pound around the waist line.
The recipes in this book may not be easy for the home cook/baker, but it should not stop anybody from trying. Your friend and family will elevate you to saithood just for a piece of Mary's Pumpikin Pie or Pecan Pie. And love you even a bit more for the Austrian Chocolate Cake. It may not be Austrian (I am Austrian) but then who cares after having tried it.
I will write again after having tried some more of the recipes, and include my customers comments. See ya Mary.....
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It is true, some of the desserts in this book are overdone and difficult for the home baker. However, there are several that I enjoyed making that weren't that hard. A real standout was the strawberry shortcake. It was the best I have ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of shortcake. The fruit compote that went on the cakes especially was marvelous and very easy to do -- just strawberries, cinnamon sticks (taken out after cooking) and sugar. Baking from scratch is time consuming and can be tricky, because it's really just chemistry that tastes good. However, everything I tried from the book turned out fine. Perhaps those who had problems tried different recipes than I did.
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