NEW! Google Custom Search


3 new pastry books(not baking books).

Gerard's picture

Just recieved 3 books.

Charlie Trotters desserts.

Desserts circus.(jacques Torres)

Philipe Durrands "signature desserts".

Trotters desserts are not pastry,they look idiotic , un-artistic, convoluted and
pretentious. Don't even THINK of wasting your money on this book.

Dessert Circus by Jacques Torres , geared mostly toward home quantity is a good
read, unpretentious and instructive. You WOULD want to actually EAT his
See Steves review at

Designer desserts is a puzzling book, I don't know why a french patissier would
bother to try American style plated dessert, theres a lot of technique clearly
demonstrated but a lot of the plating is poorly done, a stand alone pastry on one side
of the big plate with a splattering of sauce on the other side of the plate. It just
doesn't work.
A smaller plate would do wonders.

I spent $100 for the 3 and the only klunker is Trotters.
Has anyone else seen it?

MEAN_CHEF's picture

I only have Torres' book. I find it very informative. I browsed thru Trotters book at the store and quickly put it back. I have never liked his cooking either. He's kind of a kook.

PMace_'s picture

I've got Bo Frieberg's "Professional Pastry Chef" which will take me at least the rest of this lifetime to get through. I've been looking at Torres, especially for his chocolate work which if the book follows his PBS series is great.

Do you have Frieberg? If so, is it worth having both?

MEAN_CHEF's picture

I have Frieberg and never use it. It provides some good academic info which is useful, but the recipes are not very good.
A lot depends on what you are trying to do. If you are making european cakes, tarts, pies, cookies, pastries, bread etc. all require a good foundation in the academics but not the same recipe books.

A good example is pie and tart dough. Every book has a different variant and I have experimented with them all. I now ,for example, use a pate sucree recipe adapted from Nancy Silverton. I like it, it works, I stay with it.

I have a roll and bread recipe, which I use for catering. It's quick ,easy and tastes great. Suits my needs well. At home I experiment with others just for fun and when I stumble across a better recipe, I might change.

I believe that when you get a recipe that you like, make it over and over again until you can do it in your sleep. So much of baking is technique, not recipe ingredients.

You can give 20 people a perfect genoise recipe with complete instructions and I would bet that no more than 1 or 2 come out well. Technique.

Ol'_Pro's picture

Gerard, I haven't seen the Trotter dessert book but I have his first book. In his preface he writes, "Had he written about food, the eighteen century British philosopher Jeremy Bentham might have dismissed some of today's cuisine as 'nonsense on stilts'. Then he fills his book with nonsense on TALL stilts.

I bought this book as a collectors item to show my great-grandchildren how silly-ass and pretentious food has become in some circles. Apparantly people are buying it, though since Trotter's restaurants are successful and he keeps coming up with new books that appear to be selling.

Sorry about the language but that's the only way I can describe this foolishness.

By the way I have Bo Fribergs book and although I seldom have occasion to use it because I seldom cook in large quantities anymore, I do like it as an idea book.

Gerard's picture

Ole Pro,

Thats kinda why I bought the book too, I was told by a french pastry chef in Montreal the book was horrible' so just had to see it.
Obviously the food critics in Chicago are not up to speed.

Fribergs book has a lot of klunkers for basic formulas, the worst being his pastry cream which uses twice the normal amount of sugar, tastes like pudding from a can and is impossible to make napoleons with. Still, its a good cross reference but I don't trust his taste.

Are you sure you wouldn't like to come out of retirement, I can use some good hands on the table a few hrs a day.

Old pro's never die, they just dry out.

Cheers, Gerard

Rebecca's picture

I don't have any you've mentioned but just got Dessert Circus At Home (Torres). It looks like its got simpler presentations (& preparation, I think) than D. Circus (I checked that one out of the library a while ago). Great pictures; I bought it because my kids like to help cook & they like to cook what they see in photos. Recipes for marshmallows, graham crackers, & lollipops are in the "Kid's Play" chapter. A very interesting collection of recipes. Also, it was half-price from Jessica's Biscuit. Has anyone else tried this one?

Gerard's picture


Like movies , the first thing directors, studios and publishers want is sequels.
Dessert circus at home is probably a good primer if you don't do much baking and hopefully will spark interest in taking the next step.

But anyone surfing these boards is probably more well informed than the typical Joe, either by purposefull interest or osmosis. You get info here whether you want it or not, theres a sufficient core of knowledgeable people here who keep info accurate for you to rest assured its all correct.
Theres very little in the restaurant version of Torres' book that would present a problem.

Rebecca's picture

Gerard, I could definitely see where the first D. Circus would be more rewarding for people who cook & bake a lot and for those that are into desserts. Right now we're not able to spend much time baking but, hopefully, I'll be one of those who will want to take the next step as you say. Glad to hear the first book is reliable.

Annabelle's picture

Mean Chef!

I have Nancy Silveton's Desserts book - is her vanilla buttercream any good - is it better than the classic method - I would appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

MEAN_CHEF's picture

Haven't made it. I use italian meringue buttercream in my business. I would never put it on anything that I was going to eat though. Way too sweet.