By Richard Bertinet
Ebury Press, £20
I was lucky enough a few years ago to experience an artisan bread course in London, run by the award-winning artisan baker Richard Bertinet, who runs a cookery school in Bath. His charm, knowledge and skills were clear for all to see. I became a fan of all his books - Dough, Crust, and Cook - and so on hearing he would be writing his fourth book, Pastry, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.
The book is one that everyone - be they a professional pastry chef or keen home baker - can try something from. Bertinet's style and confidence immediately puts the reader at ease. "Anyone can make fantastic pastry, and I will show you how," he encourages.
Step-by-step guides on making the basic pastries - salted, sweet, puff and choux - are a joy, as is the beautiful photography.
Not only does the book confront the potential problems that people have with pastry, but also provides inspiration on how to use the pastry in its different forms. The book, printed on thick, waxy paper, is not at all clinical or pretentious.
There are some lovely recipes, such as rhubarb and whitecurrant tarts and raspberry and pistachio tarts, made with elements described earlier in the book, including pistachio pastry, almond cream and crème pâtisserie. The classic millefeuille, that so wonderfully graces the front cover, is a simple recipe, with a straightforward explanation, which hopefully will encourage everyone to try it.
What I like about Pastry is the way Bertinet has joined the dots between savoury and sweet pastries. Books on pastry can sometimes be all about the sweet recipes, but this is balanced between the two main types.
This book is perfect for inspiration and knowledge building and, best of all, really encourages the reader to make one of its delicacies.
By Will Torrent, pastry consultant, Waitrose
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