Monday, 6 August 2012

Richard Bertinet 'Pastry' - book review

I was sent a copy of Richard Bertinet's latest book 'Pastry', published by Ebury sort of by default, I have had my copy for a few months now and to be honest I have become a bit obsessed with it. This book is one of my favourites of this year, it can regularly be found on my bedside table and every time I read it I find something else (usually a mouth watering sweet recipe admittedly) that grabs my attention. I keep plotting baking afternoons and dream of filling my kitchen with racks of delicious pear frangipan tarts and glazed apple puff pastry tarts...I've got it bad!

The photography in this book is really excellent and the pictures of the creations are mouth watering, there is no other way to describe them. A lot of the photographs are set against a dark background and this must suit this kind of baking as the recipes just look amazing.

Richard Bertinet is originally from Brittany he is a renowned pastry chef and has his own world renowned cookery school in Bath (the Bertinet Kitchen). He bakes fresh goods to supply his own shops and others and some restaurants in the south west. This is his fourth book.

'Pastry' aims to help any home cook make pastry easy and successfully. Home made pastry is never something I have struggled with (we won't mention macarons here as macarons are a different matter altogether, they re a struggle) and I love making my own pastry as its just so worth a little bit of effort. This book gives step by step guides to some of the basics and is all the richer for photographs to depict the narrative. The chapters cover, the pastries, salted, sweet, puff, choux, and finishing touches. In essence the start of the book covers the different types of pastry recipes you will need to make the recipes in the latter part of the book. The tip of making double pastry is one I always follow at home...you can never have too many pies or pastries!

The recipes themselves have a great appeal and there is hardly anything in this book I would not like to bake, or serve to family or friends. From sausage rolls and cornish pasties to baked cheesecake and lemon tarts there is quite a wide savoury and sweet range. A whole section is given to biscuits; the apricot tart and all the fruit tartelets are to die for, and the savoury pies and open tarts (salt pastry) are crying out to be baked and eaten. The finishing touches section touches on glazing (typical french patisserie type) fruit tarts and the fillings or creams you can use such as creme anglaise and similar.

The recipe for the croustillants I made (depicted) is taken from 'Pastry' and these are the easiest thing to make ever, all you need is left over puff pastry (the butter version works very well), icing sugar and flaked almonds, ground pistachios, or ground walnuts for toppings. If you want to make this a really cheap recipe to use up your leftover puff pastry just use poppy seeds or sesame seeds as a topping.

To make the croustillants: just roll the pastry into a sausage shape (with any join downwards) slice off pieces of pastry (about half an inch wide) then turn these pieces over (so you are ruling an oval shape). Dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll the pastry, dusting with more icing sugar as you roll and turn. You want the pastry to be very thin. Once rolled lay the pastry on a lined baking sheet and put on a sprinkle of the chosen toppings (nuts or seeds). Bake for 6-8 minutes in an 200C fan oven. I gave mine another dusting of icing sugar once they were baked. They were so simple and yet so light, sweet and good, we devoured a plateful in minutes! (you can sandwich two of these together with fresh fruit and cream for extra decadence if you prefer). These are so easy to make with left over puff pastry and you could make them with children as they re so easy. Give them a rolling pin and icing sugar and away you go.

Many thanks to Ed from Ebury publishing who sent me this lovely book to review.

12 comments:

  1. Definitely a must-buy - I'd love to take one of his courses too in Bath!

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    1. Its a great book, so many tempting things to make...yes I agree I'd like to learn to bake with him too.

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  2. So pleased you like my favourite Pastry book too! Now you come to Bath and combine seeing me with a day at Bertinet Cookery!

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  3. ooh I passed his shop in Bath last year and looked longingly in the window, but was with friends who are not interested in baking :( You are obviously having fun with the book.

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  4. Wonderful, have been looking at getting the bread book but this one sounds v tempting as well!

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  5. Love, love. LOVE Richard Bertinet. Not yet managed to get my hands on the pastry book but I will be adding it to my list for Santa ... do you think I needed to have been a good girl all year long or only from the time the request is made??? Love the look of this recipe, you did a great job.

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  6. What a great review and a wonderful blog. I have this book and agree with everything you say - it is fabulous. Everything I have tried so far has been a success. My husband is almost addicted to the pasties, for which RB recommends, just on this occasion, using margarine rather than butter, which was a revelation. I have earmarked many more recipes. Highly recommended.

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  7. YOU HAVE A GREAT BLOG, I HAVE ENJOYED ALL I HAVE SEEN. I'LL LOOK FOR THIS R. BERTINET. I'LL BE BACK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. REGARDS FROM CHILE

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  8. A lovely blog with lots of pictures. The pictures of croustillants look amazing, I've never heard of croustillants until I discovered your blog :-) x

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  9. You've just made another sale for Richard Bertinet AND I keep telling myself I shall buy no more books - it looks fantastic and although I haven't met him, he seems very nice. Great review Sue and your croustillants look fabulous.

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    1. Thanks, this is not a book I will ever want to part with, its ace! Sure you will love it too. x

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Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x