cover image Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes

Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes

Joanne Chang. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40 (464p) ISBN 978-0-544-83648-8

Chang, a Harvard graduate with a degree in math and economics, grew up in a dessert-free home but has recovered nicely by founding Boston’s Flour bakeries and writing this delectable collection. Recipes are organized into chapters, some with slightly cryptic titles (“I Made This for You”), and most are on the sweet side, naturally; a few savory dishes include biscuits stuffed with bacon, eggs, and cheese, and a bread chapter includes the likes of monkey bread loaded with garlic, shredded fontina, and dried thyme. There are ingenious creations, including a cross between kouign-amann (a Breton cake) and a sticky bun. Chang covers the international bases with panettone, Japanese milk bread, and Australian lamingtons (squares of butter cake). Headnotes are chatty and often funny: when Chang hosted a Swedish baking show, she was excited to display the Swedish language she’d learned as a high school exchange student but could call up only the word for strawberry. Instructions are impeccable, but occasionally she casts too wide a net, with items such as a vegan take on packaged Hostess cupcakes and gluten-free takes on lemon chia seed muffins and focaccia. Home cooks will find lots of go-to dishes in this ultimately solid baking book. (Nov.)