cover image Fantasy Chocolate Desserts

Fantasy Chocolate Desserts

Chronicle Books, Robert Lambert. Chronicle Books, $27.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-555-0

``My complaint against traditional American desserts is that, while they often look tasty in their kitsch bliss of squiggly icing and mile-high meringue, they rarely deliver,'' proclaims pastry chef Lambert. ``If all you experience is sugar, you miss the mystery that dessert can hold and sin without true pleasure.'' A midwesterner, Lambert discovered sin when traveling in France. After working in L.A. as an artist and designer, he bailed out to join the ``Bay Area food revolution.'' Fond of ``architectural fantasies'' and ``edible constructions'' that, in truth, look both kitschy and squiggly, Lambert here unveils a panoply for chocaholics. He introduces recipes for patisserie ``components''cakes, pastries, fillings and frostings, sauces, accents and garnishesbefore assembling these into 23 show-stopping finished products. His signature is the architectonic use of chocolate ganache ``tiles,'' cut, tinted, gilded and/or sculpted in such highly decorative fantasias as ``Lightning Bolt Dacquoise'' and ``Joan Collins' Broken Heart.'' Some desserts appear easy to execute; others are sure to intimidate. All are portrayed in photographs as high-fashion pinups. (Dec.)