CHOCOLATE DESSERTS BY PIERRE HERM

Dorie Greenspan, Author, Pierre Herme, Author, Jean-Louis Bloch-Laine, Photographer . Little, Brown $29.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-35741-8

Celebrated as one of France's greatest (and most prolific) pastry chefs, Hermé delivers a spectacular collection of recipes celebrating most magical ingredients. In their second collaboration (after Desserts by Pierre Hermé), Greenspan, a food writer and author, has carefully translated metric measurements and faithfully interpreted French ingredients for the American home cook. She describes the recipes' cultural and technical aspects and includes comments from Hermé that shed light on the origin or capture the essence of an ingredient. As in their earlier book, the recipes range from simple to complex, but all are signature Hermé with their finely tuned marriage of the "three Ts": taste, temperature and texture. There are some truly special desserts—like the Plaisir Sucré (Sweet Pleasure), five distinct textural layers of milk, hazelnuts, sugar and chocolate, or a concoction after the Italian Granita that includes whiskey and a whimsical topping of Rice Krispies—home versions of the inventions that established Hermé's reputation. From the ethereal moist-centered chocolate "Suzy's" Cake to the Moist Nutty Brownies, cooks will be surprised by the simple methods and ingredients. Classics such as Chocolate Éclairs are impeccably rendered and often freshly interpreted, such as the unusual "inverted" puff pastry in the Chocolate Mille Feuille (Napoleons). The book is full of connoisseur knowledge about cocoa demonstrated by cosmopolitan ideas like the beautifully layered Criollo, named after the rarest and most prized Latin American cocoa bean, but it also contains a section of base recipes and a glossary of ingredients and terms. Amateurs will appreciate the careful instructions; storage tips will help professionals. Beautiful full-page illustrations are a siren call to cooks of all stripes. (Sept. 20)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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