- Publisher: Artisan; 1st edition (Sept. 1 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579652085
- ISBN-13: 978-1579652081
- Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 5.1 x 23.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,028,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
In The Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion Hardcover – Sep 1 2001
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In the Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion
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For one thing, I find most of the recipes way too sweet. I am no ascetic, yet the amount of sugar (and butter) called for in many recipes makes me see stars. The author has a warm, folksy, manner, but errs by saying too much about nothing: do we really need to wade through information such as pointing out that "all peaches have a large stone at their heart?"
This is a useful book I will keep happily on my dessert shelf, but I don't think it has a wide enough range of recipes to be one's only resource. Nick Malgieri's "How to Bake" fulfills this function better, in my opinion. As far as nitty-gritty facts about ingredients, baking procedures, substitutions, equivalencies, etc., in my kitchen Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Cake Bible" remains the untouched zenith of all baking reference books. I'd have to say 4 stars may be a generous rating, but I'll give the book the benefit of the doubt.
Her book is much more than a wonderful resource for deserts: it's, mainly, a general baking resource, listing ingredients & talking about each one: how to use, what to substitute with what, what to combine with what etc. The book is full to the brim with information & tips, for the beginning & the experienced baker. As a bonus, the writing delighted me, & I think it will probably make all my other desert books redundunt!! (apart from Nigella Lawson's "Domestic Goddess" which I think has a similar style). It's always great to have a cookbook that you can use not just to throw together quick meals but also to savour, to indulge yourself with, to read & reread...
The layout and design is done well though I would have liked to have had a complete recipe index/list and not simply general chapter headings e.g., cakes and tea cakes which then breaks into the individual recipe listings. The only other niggle I can think of is not providing a recipe for producing one's one almond paste and marzipan, but that is a minor detail.
Highly recommended for those who want a reliable, quick reference that has some very good recipes and a good eye for detail.
The technique section of this has many errors. She says "Coconut fat is one of the only non-animal sources of saturated fat and cholesterol..", but actually cholesterol is only found in animal products. She recommends against using superfine or baker's sugar when creaming, but "Cook's Illustrated" found no differences when tested.
The best recipe in the book is a chocolate cake, and she got that recipe from her Mom! Reading through these recipes I did not find one that I had the ingredients for, or that I was inspired enough to get the ingredients to make it!
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