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Chocolate Desserts
cookbook reviewschocolate desserts
Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme Written by Dorie Greenspan
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Reviewed by Beverly Kim

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August 2003
When France's premier pastry chef comes out with a cookbook, one must have it!

Again, Pierre Herme comes out with an excellent cook book with over one hundred recipes devoted to the thing we love most... chocolate! Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme displays his innovative, sophisticated expertise. One will find that every recipe is balanced between textures, sweetness, sourness, and rich chocolate flavors.

The chapters are divided into cakes, cookies, tarts, custards, candies, frozen desserts, and chocolate drinks. No matter what skill level, these chapters included a range of simple, but delicious, desserts to complex, professional level desserts. For example, his "Moist and Nutty" brownies are a delectable version of the all-American favorite that is easy for starters. However, for those who want a little bit more of a challenge, I recommend the chocolate-filled mille-feiulle, which is made out of an "inside-out" caramelized puff pastry and decadent chocolate pastry cream.

His recipes also have a range of the "classics" and those with a modern flair. His Chocolate Eclairs, Gateau Saint-Honore, Cinnamon Savarin au Rhum, chocolate macaroons, chocolate sorbet, chocolate mousse, and Linzer Tart are a few examples of the classics with his personal touch. However, some recipes such as the Nutella Tart, Pistachio Waffles with Chocolate Cream, Chocolate Rice Pudding with Caramelized Rice Krispies, and Warm Chocolate Croquettes in Cold Coconut-Milk Tapioca Soup shows the versatility of Pierre Herme. All the recipes include some history or personal references in an introduction before the recipe, and most have beautiful accompanying photography.

At the end of the book is a glossary of terms, equipment, and ingredients. These notes are a great source of information. Using the best ingredients, such as Plugra butter and Valrohna chocolate, is highly recommended to maximize the flavors. This is more than a coffee table book. This is a book which has recipes that are technically sound and that have real flavor! After reading through this book, one will mistake oneself for being in a real French patisserie!

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