The Pastry Chef’s Guide is the ultimate handbook for those wanting to master the art of beautiful homemade pâtisserie. With eight years of experience as a pastry chef, Ravneet Gill is a knowledgeable and passionate guide as you venture through a plethora of tried-and-tested recipes. She dispels the fear of baking by unpacking the different components of pâtisserie – everything from meringues to ice cream. By explaining exactly what you’re doing and how it impacts the outcome, Ravneet will empower you with the confidence to put your own sweet creations together. An engaging, no-nonsense read filled with Ravneet’s signature flair and sass, this is the pastry reference book every home baker, chef and aspiring pâtissier should own.
Despite her leaping success in the pastry industry, becoming a pastry chef was never part of Ravneet’s plan. “I always enjoyed it [baking] here and there but was pretty terrible at it. Slowly, I started to bake more and became a bit obsessed”. After completing a psychology degree, Ravneet enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu. She was soon working her way up the ranks in various pastry sections all over London. With such humble beginnings, Ravneet demonstrates that with a little passion, theory and understanding of the basics, anyone can become a better baker.
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What you’ll find inside
After a warm welcome to her readers, Ravneet dives right in with Pastry 101 where she goes into depth about basic ingredients and their role in baking. This covers the baking science of butter, the role of different sugars, what gluten is and how raising agents work. This section is fact-packed and a masterful overview of the magic in the ingredients we use almost every day.
The Pastry Chef’s Guide is split up into eight well-thought-out chapters exploring different components of pastry. These include sugar, custard, chocolate, pastry, biscuits, cakes, puddings and ice cream. Each chapter branches into more specific pâtisserie fundamentals; the chapter on sugar alone covers caramel theory, different types of meringue, marshmallows, pralines and jams. The chapters start with a few basic recipes, but Ravneet adds some inspiration with delicious flavour combinations towards the end. The Peanut Butter, Chocolate & Rum Banana Tart immediately caught my eye, as well as the Raspberry & Elderflower Sorbet and Roasted Almond Panna Cotta.
In contrast to the harsh environment of the pastry industry, Ravneet advocates that kindness and joy are essential for pastry-making. From start to finish, she’s your number 1 narrator and cheerleader. Every chapter and recipe gets its own little introduction, story or explanation..with a pinch of sass and hilarious British colloquialisms. Ravneet shares quirky anecdotes and tips from her industry experience to create a fun, friendly atmosphere in which to learn. Like how ‘parfaits are for when you’re in the shit’ and how McDonald’s inspired her Deep-Fried Apple Pies. Stories of her baking trials and tribulations make it a highly relatable read for those of us who have ventured into the realm of pâtisserie.
In addition to all the recipes, you’ll also pick up new skills and nifty tricks, like how to line a pastry case or scale a classic sponge to different size cake tins. Simple charts and diagrams help to drive home trickier concepts such as chocolate tempering and sugar theory.
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Who is the book for?
The Pastry Chef’s Guide is suitable for bakers at any level who are craving to learn. All measurements are given in a combination of ml, oz and g, making it accessible to universal readers. You’ll learn about French classics, like macaron, galette de rois and choux au craquelin, as well as some more out-the-box treats like Ravneet’s Twice Baked Chocolate Cake and Eggless Marshmallow. More advanced concepts like mirror glazes and various entremet components are also covered. Although the title may get you thinking otherwise, Ravneet also works through humble bakes like Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fruit Crumble Cake and Lemon Cheesecake.
With only two unfolding four-page pictures of her treats, the content and theory in The Pastry Chef’s Guide is the most important aspect of the book. The layout is clear and easy to read with plenty of space alongside each recipe to jot down notes. The book is also the PERFECT size to fit in your bag, ready to whip out whenever you need it.
The Pastry Chef’s Guide brings a refreshing new approach to pâtisserie. The message: it’s fun, easy and should not be feared!
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