Eric Kayser's Sweet and Savory Tarts Hardcover – May 8 2007
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About the Author
Éric Kayser is a food consultant and a third generation Parisian baker. His inherited taste for traditional French bread and pastries has resulted in thirty bakeries worldwide. In 2004, Kayser opened Bread Bar, his first shop in the U.S., which will be followed by a second in Los Angeles in summer 2006. His book 100% Pains, published in French, sold over 15,000 copies. Christian Lariat is a photographer who specializes in interior design and cuisine; he contributes regularly to the magazine Art & Décoration.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
HOWEVER, hopefully the US publisher will do a little heavy lifting on corrections for the next printing: my advice would be to make a trial run of each recipe before preparing one of these tarts for public presentation, use your best baking judgment on ingredient amounts, and use the weights listed for more accurate measure. Originally published in French, this English language edition does not credit any translator and I would venture a guess that the translator is not a baker, nor did they consult one. Suggested volume equivalents are often glaringly off (e.g. Pate Brisee), and technique for assembly is often better guided by the superior photographs than by the meager written instructions, which can lead to not-so-spectacular results. For example, the recipe for the apricot pistachio tart instructs the baker to use half of the filling mixture to to spread on top of the apricots...if you do this, you will not see any gorgeous golden glistening apricots in your finished product.
It's a little sad when publishing companies "buy-in" a superior foreign published book with excellent technical credentials, but don't bother to invest the time in verifying the technical translations. People will and ought to buy this book for more than the pretty pictures, but they had better know what they are doing in the kitchen until the publisher gets cracking on the corrections.
PUBLISHER: test bake these recipes and correct them.
NOT recommended for beginner bakers.
This work has beautiful photographs, gloss paper, artistic presentation and a very easy to use layout. Each recipe is alloted a full page photograph and in most cases there are photos of the procedures.
Mr Kayser is not a pastry chef but first and foremost a baker. His tarts reflect this as they are rich, hearty affair with a generous rustique appearance. The simple but hearty presentation makes one's mouth water.
As other reviewers have mentioned, we are dealing with a somewhat dodgy translation here. The Metric weights and their volume equivalents are not the same in way too many recipes. Case in point the chocolate short pastry: It sais 400g of cake flour and the volume is stated as 4.5 cups. 4.5 cups is about 600g or more(!) thus transforming the otherwise balanced recipe to a sandstone!
Also some recipes do not correspond to the photos. On page 66, the artichoke,tapenade and parmesan quiche asks for 400g of pate brisee and in the adjacent photo of the product the pastry is bread dough. On the same recipe the 400g are stated as 1Lb in the volume measures, while 1Lb is exactly 454g. Similarly the apple and raisin tart on page 121 calls for puff pastry, but the photo of the product shows what looks like a shortbread base. I don't know if this is a mistake of the original or of the translation, but considering all the other mistakes I lean towards the latter.
Let this not prevent you from buying the book though. The Metric weights, that by sheer Providence have remained in the book after the translation are accurate and proper. I only use Metric so I don't mind the messed volume measures. It is the best way to make pastry, accurate with consistent results. I would advise all aspiring home bakers/pastry chefs out there to acquire a scale and go Metric.
To the contents now. There are 20 savory tarts and quiches, 25 fruit tarts, 10 chocolate tarts and 5 sweet tarts with variable main ingredients. Add to this the many basic recipes for tart and bread doughs, including puff and croissant doughs and you get a pretty good package for the money.
The basic pastry section states the recipes, the method and in small photographs the products made using each dough along with the page to find them. This can be very useful as each recipe is for three 24cm/9.5 inch square pans, or three 26cm/10 inch round pans. So if you make the whole recipe instead of scaling it down you know where to use the leftover dough.
Mr Kayser does not use too much butter to make his doughs flavorful as other authors do. The flavor comes from the quality of the ingredients and the balanced recipes. I have something to note though concerning the yeasted doughs. They are all done in the space of (at the most) 2 hours by using a lot of yeast. My advice is to half the yeast and place the dough, covered, in the refrigerator for about 8 hours, or overnight. This method makes for excellent flavorful dough.
There are instructions and tips dispersed all over the book and they are helpful and very easy to follow.
In the savory section my personal favorites are:
Smoked trout and fennel tart.
Leek, anchovy and tapenade quiche.
Chanterelle and duck breast tart.
Marinated salmon and mozzarella tart (with pesto).
Artichoke, tapenade and parmesan quiche.
From the fruit section I would single out:
Cherry clafoutis tart.
Mirabelle almond tart.
Normandy apple tart.
Apricot pistachio tart.
In the chocolate section the 'White chocolate and raspberry tart' and the 'chocolate trio tart' stand out and from the sweet section I like the Fig and pecan tart.
I have to note that the book has no index.
Despite the faults of the translation I really do like this book and I am not sorry that I bought it. I ordered it together with 'Mes Tarts' by Christine Ferber and although the latter has the name of the translator prominently depicted on the cover, it still has mistakes in the quantities. Between the two books I prefer Eric Kayser's book.
If an experienced baker, such as I am, cannot reproduce any recipe in the book, why bother?