Pierre Hermé Pastries Hardcover – Mar 1 2012
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About the Author
Pierre Hermé is a master pastry chef with his own line of shops in Paris and Tokyo. He has published numerous books, including Desserts by Pierre Hermé and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé.
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Top Customer Reviews
Out of 100 recipes, very few seem universally accessible. Ingredients include pistachio paste and fleur de sel de Guerande and instructions require bakers to work with gelatin, make puff pastry, temper chocolate and use a piping bag. Additionally, many of the specialized molds and pans Hermé uses may prove difficult to source and substitutions would require careful thought. Baking directions may need tinkering as Hermé uses a convection oven.
Apparently, the book contains many translation and measurement conversion errors and the publisher is set to come out with an errata sheet. Not what you want to hear when embarking on a recipe like Agape, which requires the cook to produce gingerbread, meringue “tears,” a coffee miroir, orange marmalade and two kinds of lemon cream. Ultimately, the appeal of this book lies not in its recipes but in its informative prose and stunning photos.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The mistake I found was for the Infinitely Lemon Choux. There is a sweet tart dough listed as the first preparation for the recipe and instructions to put it in the freezer and then 20 minutes later take it out of the freezer and cut into 2.5 inch rounds and then........ nothing. That is the last mention of the dough. It doesnt seem to go with the dessert, it doesnt show up in the photo and there are no instructions at all, following the cut it into rounds, indicating what is to be done with this ingredient.
The sugar for the chocolate cake is a big mistake. The sweet tart dough a small mistake and maybe intended to be a variation on the theme. However, for us to now assume that other than those two items there are no other recipes with editing or recipe testing or proof reading mistakes for what turn out to be expensive and time consuming creations would not seem to be a prudent approach for the "precise" art of pastry nor an appropriate representation for Pierre Herme who is considered by many people to be one of the best pastry chefs in the world.
I contacted them last April requesting an errata sheet. They first had the nerve to tell me to send them errors as I came across them. I indicated that I did not spend over $30 on a cookbook to test out recipes and be their unpaid editor. They indicated they would be issuing an errata sheet in a few months. No errata sheet ever surfaced.
I contacted Abrams again on Sept 25 and they indicated that they are not issuing an errata sheet for the first edition. Rather, they are reprinting the book (due out in November 2012) with all the corrections. I called Amazon and they indicated that I could send the book back to them (they graciously provided the prepaid label) and then reorder the book when it's been reprinted and is back in stock.
Shoddy way to handle the problem on the part of the publisher, but kudos to Amazon for issuing a refund. If you're in the same boat, stuck with the first edition that is unusable as is, contact Amazon or your bookseller and request a refund or a trade in.
Trying to tackle the Dalloyau's Opéra multi layer cake I ran into sloppy editing in the ingredients. For instance: according to the list you end up using 20 grams of coffee powder, whereas it is in fact 10 grams of which you hold back 10 grams after DILUTING it into water to process later. Sloppy indeed, and double the coffee taste.
In the very first paragraph, Hermé stresses to use a fat free and clean bowl and whisk to proceed with "add melted butter to the bowl" The two separate bowls of batter never come together in the description.
The amount of discrepancies in the conversions is mind boggling. I found 9 conversions to be incorrect in the ingredient list for the Opéra. Some of them were off by a considerable percentage.
It might very well be the case that a lot if not all of the recipes will work after re-adjusting and tweaking. Not being able to trust the basics will make it a less enjoyable experience though, and a bit more of a challenge.
Having said that: Even for leafing through it, reading the back stories or lusting on the pictures, this book is worth purchasing.
Conclusion: Sloppy converting set aside, this is a great book. It's a great looker on the coffee table, and baking out of it is a healthy challenge for the experienced home baker but better left for later if you're a novice.
Here's to hoping there aren't many other mistakes. This one I could do without, being that I have many other books by Herme.