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.