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Paris Sweets [Hardcover]

Dorie Greenspan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 27.50
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Book Description

1 Dec 2002
The prize-winning author of Baking with Julia (more than 350,000 copies sold), among other cookbook classics, celebrates the sweet life with recipes and lore from Paris's finest patisseries.

Like most lovers of pastry and Paris, Dorie Greenspan has always marveled at the jewel-like creations displayed in bakery windows throughout the City of Light. Now, in a charmingly illustrated tribute to the capital of sweets, Greenspan presents a splendid assortment of recipes from Paris’s foremost pastry chefs in a book that is as transporting to read as it is easy to use.

From classic recipes, some centuries old, to updated innovations, Paris Sweets provides a sumptuous guide to creating cookies, from the fabled madeleine to simple, ultra-buttery sables; tarts, from the famous Tatin, which began its life as an upside-down error, to a delightful strawberry tart embellished with homemade strawberry marshmallows; and a glorious range of cakes–lemon-drenched "weekend cake," fudge cake, and the show-stopping Opera. Paris Sweets brims with assorted temptations that even a novice can prepare, such as coffee éclairs, rum-soaked babas, and meringue puffs. Evocative portraits of the pastry shops and chefs, as well as information on authentic French ingredients, make this a truly comprehensive tour.

An elegant gift for Francophiles, armchair travelers, bakers of all skill levels, and certainly for oneself, Paris Sweets brings home a taste of enchantment.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc); 1 edition (1 Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767906810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767906814
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 21.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written 14 Dec 2010
By Simon Tavener VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This has been my first encounter with Dorie Greenspan as a food writer - and I hope it won't be the last. She captures the joy and skill involved with traditional (and modern) Parisian patisserie with enormous flair and passion.

Surprisingly there are no photos - just some exquisite line drawings and elegant typography. You just have to imagine what the creations might look like from her descriptions. But the quality of writing is enough to allow you to do this!

Not a cheap book but some lovely recipes that are appropriate for the home-baker. A treat for yourself - even better if someone else will buy it for you as a gift!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vive la France, vive le chocolat! 31 Dec 2013
By Sarah
Dorie Greenspan's delightful, mouthwatering tour of Paris's patisseries in Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops is a gastronomic tour though the tempting varieties of French desserts, including cookies, simple cakes, tarts, pastries, more elaborate cakes, and base recipes.

Illustrated with charming pen-and-ink drawings (no photos of finished desserts, unfortunately), Dorie's fascinating backstories on the numerous Parisian bakeries and their signature recipes make for an enjoyable read. Dorie's familiarity with these cafes really lends her an air of authority when discussing the finer points of pastries and ingredients, as does the fact that she's a resident of Paris and not merely a visitor.

The selection of cookies includes delicate hints of citrus and spices such as anise, ground nuts, and classic cookies such as financiers and madeleines. For fans of chocolate, there are several chocolate cakes (pound cake, chocolate almond cake, Grandmother's creamy chocolate cake) and more unusual selections such as the Alsatian Kouglof (the original inspiration for the Bundt pan) and flan.

When I think of Parisian desserts, my first vision is an elegant tart, and Paris Sweets doesn't disappoint. Included are several chocolate tarts, one garnished with apricot jam and ripe bananas, a baked apple tart, and an unusual tea-flavored Tarte Tatin from Mariage Freres. Also included are the custardy fruit tarts, originally from Limousin, known as clafoutis, a whole-lemon tart, a fig-and-citrus tart, and unusual variations such as coffee, strawberry and marshmallow, and darjeeling tarts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious book in every way 16 Nov 2013
By Dynomum
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought this for younger daughter, a serious Bake-off fan and Francophile - always trying her hand at complicated bakes. Now I've bought it, not sure I can part with it, though! Love the recipes, the text, the illustrations and everything about the production of this little gem of a book. May be looking for a good diet / running book next ...!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read for the kitchen or armchair 27 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written with easy to follow recipes and wonderful illustrations. You feel as if you have been transported to Paris and it definitely makes you want to go and investigate. I only hope most of the places are still there - this book is a few years old now.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creme de la Creme 1 May 2004
By B. Marold - Published on
Contemplating recipes in this new book from Dorie Greenspan, subtitled `Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops' is much like shopping for antiques in that furniture whose style and construction have survived either decades or centuries of wear and changes in taste is almost invariably of a higher quality than last month's great new thing. You don't even have the disadvantage of having to pay a premium price, as Ms. Greenspan's book list price is lower than many books containing mostly new recipes original with the author and her support team.
Ms. Greenspan is not only reporting recipes from what she believes are the greatest patisseries in Paris, she is telling us from which shops these recipes come, and where these shops are located. Happily, some of these shops even have satellites in New York City. Yum.
All of these recipes are classics. The Madeleine cookie is so important and so well known that Ms. Greenspan gives us three recipes from three different shops. Apparently, there are so many different recipes for Madeleines, she could have assembled a book from them alone.
Cookies are the subject of the first chapter. Following chapters cover cakes, tarts, `pastries and small treats', and `grand gateaux'. The `pastries and small treats' chapter includes such standards as Crème Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Ali-Babas (similar to baba au rhum), Tiger Tea Cakes, Soft Apple Cakes, Whipped Cream-Filled Meringues, Coffee Eclairs, Strawberry and Orange Flower Water Marshmallows, and Hot Chocolate. The `grand gateaux' chapter includes pastries such as Bacchus (raisin filled cake plus ganache and glaze), Opera Cake, Chocolate-Thyme Cake, Chocolate Temptation (ooh la la dessert), Blanc-manger (a very, very old French version of panna cotta), King's Cake (traditional after Christmas), Mille-Feuille (Napoleon), and Gate Saint-Honore. Decedent doesn't even begin to these homages to butter, cream, sugar, and eggs.
The final chapter of `Base Recipes' contains just a few important pantry staples. Even though they look very familiar and are probably in the repertoire of every experienced pastry chef, they deserve a look, as they may be a bit different than what you are used to. The recipe for pate sucree, for example, includes almonds and vanilla, things which are not commonly in American sweet tart dough recipes.
The recipes in this book are the main attraction, but they are not the only charm. There are lots of headnotes, asides, and sidebars on the recipes, the shops and their bakers who contributed the recipes, and the French take on classic ingredients such as butter, salt, vanilla, water, and eggs. A take on fleur de sel worth repeating is Dori's comparing it to extra virgin olive oil, the most desirable first yield from the olive oil harvest. The stories on the shops make me wish I was more in tune with French pastry when I was in Paris many, many years ago. Even the addresses of shops on streets such as the Boulevard Haussman and the place de la Madeleine bring back fond memories of time spent in Paris.
The final charm offered by the book is the collection of watercolors done by Florine Asch which decorate the text, the end pages, and the cover.
I am not at all surprised that the description of the recipes is quite clear and should be not at all difficult for an American amateur baker. Although all European professional bakers measure everything strictly by metric weight, the author has converted everything to the teaspoons and cups and English weight units. Many recipes make sensible use of a food processor for mixing dough. In spite of this all, do not be surprised that many recipes are two or more pages long. The result is more than worth the effort. Each recipe concludes with a supremely considerate note on how to best keep each result and for how long. Each recipe also includes a paragraph labelled `An American in Paris' on variations and options for serving.
Ms. Greenspan's credentials for writing this book are impeccible. This is her eighth book on pastry. Her previous books have included collaborations with Pierre Herme, Daniel Boulud, and the great Julia Child. It is quite appropriate that the book was suggested by the author of `The Paris Cookbook', Ms. Patricia Wells. Much credit to Ms. Wells for instigating this very happy result.
Highly recommended for both recipes and warm evocation of a sweet aspect of Paris.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious book 7 Sep 2006
By Deb Nam-Krane - Published on
The big caveat about this book is that it has no photographs. That has come to be an expectation for today's better cookbooks, and some of the recipes (such as Gateau Saint-Honore) demand them. However, Greenspan's descriptions are so clear and evocative that you not only have a very good idea of what the pastry in question should look like, you are also transported (or so you feel) into the author's emotions and memories associated with the pastries, bakeries and chefs. The whimsical drawings also help, although they are more of place and ingredients than finished products.

While classics such as madelines, Opera Cake and the aforementioned gateau can be found, many of the recipes are updated versions of classics, such as the chocolate pound cake, Earl Grey madelines and Tigres. There are very few "new" recipes, though the ones included (such as the Chocolate Thyme Mousse) sound delicious. Many recipes are also surprisingly simple, such as the Chocolate Grandmother's cake. Plus, her recipes are so straightforward and easy to follow that you feel like you can tackle something like puff pastry and not encounter any difficulties (for the most part!).

I currently have this book out of my library, but I think it's going to require a permanent space on my bookshelf.
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great stories - mediocre recipes 17 Mar 2007
By km - Published on
I, too, love Paris and have spent years there as a student. I was delighted to find anecdotes about all my favorite pastry shops - and some others - and very excited to try the recipes. However, I agree with several other reviewers that not all of the recipes in Greenspan's book are not quite up to par. This comes partly from the fact that there are some desserts that Americans do better - the tea cake, being an excellent example. Greenspan's recipe came out dense and dry and absolutely could not compare to my usual cake. That said, there are several great recipes: the chocolate mousse technique Greenspan offers is very unique, delicious and quick, the madeleines tasty, the tarte tatin good. But I would hesitate to make any of these for a dinner party before trying them myself, seeing the collection is so mixed and many recipes simply not what you'd expect.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!! 18 April 2006
By Chihiro - Published on
I love Paris, and no vacation is every long enough. "Paris Sweets" helps bring back a small part of Paris' charm with detailed observations of the city's patissieres and other such anecdotes. Most importantly, the recipes are clear, concise, and delicious.

Some of the recipes are time-consuming, and others are simple, but all are worth the effort. Although the recipes are what make up the core of this book, it is Dorie Greenspan's passion for pastry and Paris that sends me flipping through the pages again and again.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Desserts from the City of Lights to Your Table 2 Mar 2004
By Kevin Kelley - Published on
If you cannot go to Paris, then buy this book and bring some of Paris to you.
Greenspan (Baking with Julia) has done it again - another book that deciphers and presents some complicated recipes into approachable masterpieces. The recipes work (at least the ones I've tried), and I have foisted them on some of my French friends, some of whom immediately identified it and the shop the recipe came from (Earl Grey Madeleines, from Mariage Frères, for example). That constitutes success.
The book is organized cleverly, with the simpler recipes in the front, and more and more complex recipes as you work your way through. Though Greenspan does not say she is doing this by design, it is clearly the case. After each recipe, she has some tips and suggestions she calls "An American in Paris," in which she tells you things she does to make the recipe more in her own style, as an American living in Paris.
This is not a primer on French pastry, however, and you will learn little about technique; although there are many classic desserts in this book, it is not comprehensive, by any means. But that does not lessen its value.
There are some nice touches at the end of the book, too. Places to buy ingredients that might be hard to find, and of course, addresses and contact information for all the pastry shops that contributed to the book. Get out your Paris street map and start planning your next trip...
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