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Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery [Hardcover]

Nancy Silverton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2000
"The pastries we make are deliciously simple and rustic and never too sweet. Woven into many of them are my favorite flavors: butter, cinnamon, nuts, and fruit. They're familiar, uncomplicated, and satisfying. One taste and you're instantly comforted. Inspired by a sweet memory from childhood, a European classic, or a time-honored bakeshop standard, they are flavors you never tire of. Like my bread, these are pastries you want to eat every day."        --from the Introduction


When celebrated pastry chef and baker Nancy Silverton decided to add sweets to the La Brea Bakery's shelves of artisanal breads, she knew that they couldn't be just any sweets. Instead of baking fastidious and overelaborate desserts, she creates deliciously simple, rustic pastries, full of texture and flavor, that complement perfectly her hearty, country-style breads and have people lining up morning after morning. Now, in Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, Silverton shares her passion and expertise in more than 150 recipes of her most scrumptious favorites--virtually every pastry in the La Brea Bakery's impressive repertoire.
        Silverton distills years of experimentation and innovation into simple and accessible directions. Many of her recipes are surprisingly quick and easy--not to mention incredibly tasty--like her crisps, cobblers, and crumbles, and her ever-popular scones, which run the gamut from Chocolate-Walnut to Ginger to Mushroom-Onion. Her muffins are moist and distinctive, from the healthful Bran to the rich Crotin de Chocolat. She offers an array of quickbreads and quickcakes for all tastes (including Madeleines, Canellés, and Cranberry-Almond Tea Bread), and her tarts bring out the best qualities of the finest ingredients, from the intense, fresh fruit of her Cherry Bundles to her elegant Triple Almond Tart. Beautiful cookies, such as Almond Sunflowers, Nun's Breasts, and Swedish Ginger Wafers, are centerpiece desserts on their own. Silverton also deftly teaches the delicate art of confections--here you'll find Almond Bark, English Toffee, and Lollipops--and demystifies the sometimes intimidating technique of doughnut making.
        The crowning touch is her detailed section on Morn-ing Pastries, where she guides us to mastery of the classic doughs: the quick and rich bobka, the fine-textured traditional brioche, the famous and flexible croissant, and the pièce de résistance: puff pastry.
        An important book from a baking and pastry icon, Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, like Nancy Silver-ton's acclaimed Breads from the La Brea Bakery, is a bible of the craft for bakers everywhere.

A selection of recipes from
Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery

Apple Fritters * Asparagus-Egg Pie with Potato Crust * Black Currant Silk Tart
Blueberry-Almond Muffins * Brownies with Irish Whiskey and Currants * Canellés
Caramel Candy Kisses * Cheese Croissants * Chocolate-Walnut Scones * Cinnamon Custard Tart  ¸  Country Feta Pies * Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake * Croissants * Crotin de Chocolat  ¸  Espresso Wheels * Everyone's Mother's Berry Cobbler * Ginger Scones * Hazelnut-Banana Tart  ¸  Iced Raisin Squares * Jelly Doughnuts * Lemon Turnovers * Madeleines * Moravian Ginger Snaps  ¸  Nectarine-Ginger Crisp * Nun's Breasts * Parma Braids * Pecan Sticky Buns * Ricotta Muffins  ¸  Rosemary Corncakes * Rugelach * Sesame-Pumpkin Seed Brittle  ¸  Sticky Toffee Pudding * Viennese Cream Brioche


Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Villard Books; 1 edition (Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375501932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375501937
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 19.6 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,597,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful recipes for beautiful pastries 3 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book because I loved her previous book on sourdough breads. This one is much more approachable and many of the recipes are simple enough for inexperienced bakers. The book contains more than 150 recipes for cakes, cookies, tarts, fruit desserts, savories, morning pastries, doughnuts and much more. There's something for everyone unless you want something highly decorated. Some of the recipes I tried are Banana Puffs(tart made with puff pastry, banana and caramel), Parma Braids(croissant dough, prosciutto, parmesan), Savory Brioche Pockets(with potato, spinach and cheese)and they turned out almost as beautiful as Nancy's and tasted great. Much as I love this book, it is not perfect. For example, the recipe for Banana-Cocoa Muffins gives the yield as 12 ordinary-sized muffins, but it made more than 12 although I halved the recipe. I suspect there are some more errors like this. It is also a pity most recipes are not accompanied by photos as I found it difficult shaping some of the pastries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like the previous reviewer, I bought this book because I liked Nancy Silverton's sourdough breads so much. This is very different with no bread or sourdough in sight; instead, it provides you with some excellent recipes in the following sections: quick cakes and quickbreads, savouries, crisps and crumbles, cookies, scones, muffins, tarts, morning pastries, doughnuts and confections.

I have made a fair number of the muffins, quick breads and tarts and have enjoyed the majority of them. Try the sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce - this is the best dessert/pudding I have EVER baked. The book is worth buying for this one recipe alone. It also turned out to be the very first recipe I made from the book and set very high expectations. Unfortunately the book did not live up to them; and while the recipes did result in some lovely, tasty goodies such as the banana-cocoa muffins, the onion tart on puff pastry, or the hazelnut-banana tart, a number of the things I tried were just mediocre (like the country feta pies) or downright unpleasant (like the bran muffins. And yes, it must have been sheer stupidity on my part to imagine that bran muffins can possibly taste of anything other than cardboard shavings. But the problem with Nancy Silverton is that she has a very self-eulogising, self-satisfied, arrogant tone when introducing the recipes. It is also very convincing. So when she said that the "muffin maven herself" has said that her bran muffins are "the best she's ever had" I believed her and was sorely disappointed). This tone persists throughtout the book - most of her recipes start with her criticising other inferior specimens she's eaten and then of course blowing her own trumpet and saying how hers is far superior.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you love ginger and almonds... 22 Oct 2000
By Jadepearl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book loves certain ingredients, gingers and almonds in particular. If you do not like these two flavors overly much than you might want to hesitate buying the book right away. For those of you who do love those flavors than this book is for you. Graced with ginger cakes, ginger cookies and a variety of almond delights mixed with luscious fruit recipes you will be pleased. Not as technically exhaustive as _Breads of the LaBrea Bakery_ this is a nice collection of recipes with some baking tips thrown in. The Breads book was exhaustive in its detail and devotion to the making of bread whereas, this book is a nice collection that is much less daunting. All the recipes can be done the same day and are not as painstaking as a multi-day day artisan bread process using starters or special equipment.On the design -- the design is done in pretty font style with a little introduction by Ms. Silverton, list of ingredients and then instructions. BE SURE to read the instructions all the way through before starting. The instructions are done in long paragraph style and you can easily lose your place if you are not careful. The recipes are fun and quite delicious -- try the ginger lemon muffins or the almond chocolate tart. The sugar levels are not too high, but nothing has been stinted in butter, heavy whipping cream or any of those ingredients that makes baking fun. The ingredients are pretty attainable at any supermarket though I was surprised that she did not give a recipe for almond paste which is an ingredient that she uses in more than one recipe. She does, however, provide a vendor in almond paste. Recipes include the use of home made puff pastry, cobblers, rumbles, scones, tarts, cakes and sweets. These are great treats and her book may make you start investing in more specialized items like cake rings but they are not necessary to enjoy this book.Highly recommended.
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Cookbook that deserved a Great Editor 8 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This would have been a delightful cookbook, but the careful eye of an editor was needed. None of the recipes I have used have been free of errors. By way of example, the author indicates that the recipe for the yummy Banana-Cocoa Muffins yields 12 muffins. Actually, there is sufficient batter for 30 good-sized muffins - but only enough garnish for 12! If followed carefully, the recipe for cannele - which should produce tender little French cakes - produces rock-hard pellets. Most of the time, an accomplished cook can work with the many many mistakes - a novice will have a great deal of trouble using this book.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to follow directions 22 July 2002
By Neil Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I recently purchased Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery and while I'm very excited and intrigued by many of the recipes and flavor combinations, I have a few issues with some of the directions given. for example, I tried the recipe for "Viennese Cream Brioche" - a circle of rich brioche filled with creme fraiche. For one thing the directions say to divide the dough into 12 parts and roll into five-inch rounds, then place the rounds on a baking sheet to rise. Obviously 12 five-inch rounds will not fit on a standard home cookie sheet, so you will have to use at least two pans and bake in shifts. OK, I can deal with this oversight, but when baked the filling did not "set" as the recipe indicated. In fact it separated into a greasy mess and never set up. Very frustrating and waste of good brioche dough.
Some of these issues could be cleared up with a few extra photos or diagrams. Another example: in a recipe for a "Princess Ring" you are instructed to roll croissant dough around a filling and then form it into a ring, then "along the inside of the ring, about 2 inches from where the 2 ends meet, make a cut 2 inches deep, cutting 3/4 of the way through to the outside edge. Make 5 more cuts evenly spaced along the inside of the ring". I re-read this direction many times and still can't figure out what I'm supposed to do or what the finished pastry should look like. I'm an experienced baker who doesn't need a photo of a scone or muffin to know what one looks like, and I certainly wasn't expecting a glossy coffee table show piece, but a couple line drawings or photos of key steps would have really helped this book.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless Recipes 9 Mar 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have baked my way through this fabulous cookbook for the last couple of years and have yet to come across a better cookbook for baking. Actually, I have to respectfully disagree with the reviewer who recommends Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie & Pastry Bible over Pastries from the La Brea Bakery. Though I love Beranbaum's Cake Bible, I have found the recipes in The Pie & Pastry Bible to be fussy and rarely turn out as promised.
I consider myself a fairly experienced baker, but have always been intimidated by pastry. Yet I have tried several pastries from this cookbook and all have turned out beautifully (including the Pumpkin Pie, which is indeed the best I have ever had and got rave reviews from my Thanksgiving guests). The directions are clear and easy to follow and the sections on muffins, quickbreads, and scones will keep the novice baker busy for a while until she or he gets up the courage to try the croissants and tarts. Pity not the poor bride who gets this for a wedding gift --maybe her husband will give it a try while she's at work.
One word of caution --get ready to spend some money on kitchen equipment if you get addicted to Nancy Silverton's fabulous recipes. Some of them require cake rings and molds most home bakers don't have on hand. However, lest you be discouraged by that warning, I also have to say that many of the recipes require basic pans and tools.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars immensely satisfying 12 Nov 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book distinguishes itself by offering perfected, sophisticated recipes for rustic and gratifying sweets. Everything offered here has been thoroughly thought through-there is no haphazard combination of ingredients, instead it seeks subtle tastes and refined texture. It is an immensely valuable addition to my kitchen. I have made several items from the book since buying it (and they are many many more to go, this book doesn't skimp on the number recipes), and I would say that after years of baking, many of the recipes here are the best I've ever come across. I was introduced to Ms Silverton on the PBS series, Baking with Julia, where she made not only awesome brioche, but then used the dough for other treats, like her divine sticky buns. More recently I enjoyed seeing her in Gourmet magazine where she made French croissants seem doable. I can since attest that they are indeed-and from there I bought her new Pastries. For all its many qualities, to me to the most notable is that it brings me several yeast-risen pastries that resonate with my eastern European roots, and are immensely satisfying, to bake, share and eat.
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