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December 06, 2011

The Art of French Baking

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

In the midst of all the frantic holiday shopping, I see the light at the end of the tunnel: the last week of the year, warm and cozy at home with loved ones drinking hot cocoa and baking in the kitchen. And what will I be baking? With the help of The Art of French Baking, hopefully a little of everything, from cakes to soufflés, éclairs, tarts and macarons. Both chestnut cake and chestnut tart are appropriately on my list. This is the first English translation of Ginette Mathiot’s beloved best-selling classic in France, Je Sais Faire la Pâtisserie. The book breaks things down with glossaries, essential ingredients, equipment and techniques. The first part of the book includes recipes for basic building blocks like pastry doughs, sauces and frostings. These are useful references for the later chapters’ recipes — from small cakes to choux pastries. With over 350 recipes in this cookbook, it’s an essential companion for any occasion. For your holiday party, consider making some Gruyere matchsticks and chocolate éclairs with the recipes in the boxes to the right.

Happy holidays!