Peckish Sister from Central, FL
This is a great book for learning pastry technique. However, it is not a cookbook for you if you like to whip something together in 20 minutes. It is important to read, read and read again. Reading the recipe, the background on that type of pastry and all of the additional information like Pointers for Success and Understanding can be critical for successfully completing a recipe. It will lead you to success and prevent mistakes. I suggest stocking up on Post-Its. Several times I started with the food processor method and ended up finishing the dough by hand as I skipped places in the book. Many recipes will take all day with repeated chilling times. So plan ahead to be sure you have all the ingredients and enough time. The directions are excellent, but again, only if you read them thoroughly. I love that she tells you how to make the dough using different machines or by hand; that is often the first thing that I will change in a recipe. I also love the option of measuring by volume or weight, for me it really helps with fruit and vegetables. I love the wonderful surprises in this book. Who would have expected meatloaf? I have so much left to learn and experience from this book and am really looking forward to trying to master the different types of pastries. My family has also enjoyed this baking experience and it makes a great project for the whole family. You may want to think twice about baking something to take to an event that your family does not attend; after watching you labor over something delicious all day, they may not let you out of the house with it. I also think it helps to make a recipe more than once, as everything seems to go smoother with familiarity with the recipe and practice. The pictures and diagrams are also inspirational. I really look forward to cooking through her other cookbooks.
Whiskeyed from Saskatoon, SK
This is the book that taught me how to make a pie crust. Most of my previous attempts ended in failure. I was looking to learn how to make a crust that held together long enough to get it into the pie plate ... anything else was a bonus.
I have learned much more than that. This book is graced with Rose's exellent details that help ensure good results. Everything I've ever made from this book is good to excellent. In all fairness, I think pastries are more difficult to learn/teach than other baked goods; making this book remarkable. The pastries are perfectly balanced in terms of flavour, texture, and sweetness.
The only issue I have had stemmed from baking pies from frozen and found they were a bit over done when following the directions from the book....but have since resolved this on the authors' website.
Aside from the above issue, I cannot stress enough how well tested the recipes are in this book. Many pastry recipes from other sources suggest a variation in the amount of water/liquid to be added -- I rarely need to adjust the liquid with Rose's pastry recipes -- I use a scale and it is almost always perfect as written. When possible, objective details are provided (heat to 170F -- for example) -- a huge asset.
This is a great book for the novice (you can make a great crust by following these directs) or the experienced baker who wishes to make more involved pastries. One caveat: there are often many steps to the recipes, but you are rewarded with excellent pastries.
(edited 17th November 2011) report
andrew from Vancouver Island, BC
This is a marvellous book. It's a master class in baking, and for someone like me who picked it up when I was just starting out with pastry, it was absolutely perfect. She provides an enormous amount of detail and patient step-by-step instructions. She comes across as friendly and professional at the same time; a welcome kitchen companion.
I'm still exploring the book, but every crust I've made has turned out perfectly, and received compliments galore. And her apple pie is just perfect...
loretta from , NY
Rose Levy Beranbaum is my favorite cookbook author.She taught me to bake cakes with her Cake Bible and this book is like taking a course in pastry making.As is her usual style, she gives you all the information to understand what to do and why you should do it. If all you want are recipes that are quick and simple this book is not for you, but if you want to learn to bake the best pastry,enjoy.
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