Review by Lindsay Rendall
Written by Will Torrent, Patisserie at Home is a book which aims to teach the reader the secrets of the French patisserie so they can create delicious patisserie goodies in their own kitchen.
Will Torrent is an award winning young pastry chef. He started his career with a weeks work experience at The Fat Duck before going on to gain a first class honours degree at the University of London. He then worked with top chefs such as Brian Turner and Gary Rhodes, and also worked for the Dorchester, Claridges, Bachmanns and The Fat Duck. He is now consulting pastry chef to Waitrose.
The first chapter introduces the reader to a number of the basic techniques and recipes from which the amazing creations featured in the book can be built up. These include recipes for a variety of different pastry types including: Pâte Sablée (a rich, sweet shortcrust), Pâte Sucrée, (similar to sablée but using granulated sugar to make a less delicate pastry), Pâte Feuilletée (puff pastry), Pâte à Choux, croissant pastry, and creams such as crème Anglaise and crème Chantilly. As well as the traditional recipes, Will also includes a number of variations for you to try, such a mango and passion fruit, praline and boozy crème patissière.
Having introduced the basics in the first chapter, the following chapters are split by type including: Pâtisserie, Tarts, Petit Fours, Gâteaux and Desserts and finally Bakery and Viennoiserie. All the recipes are clearly explained, along with hints and tips to achieve a professional finish (such as using a template to ensure all your items are piped to a uniform size). The food has all been mouth wateringly photographed throughout the book by Johnathon Gregson (I felt like I’d put on a stone just leafing through the book!).
Whilst there are a number of more complicated recipes in the book, this shouldn’t put people off. The recipes are all clearly explained and easy to follow. I found the ones that I tried were much easier than I’d anticipated, you just need to be organised and make sure you have all the right ingredients ready before you start. There are also a number of quite simple recipes which still give great results such as the Langues du chat - little almond biscuits which can be whipped up in no time at all and would be great for serving with ice cream (or you could just scoff them on their own) - these went down really well with the kids, who enjoyed both making and eating them!
This is a fantastic book with mouthwatering, easy to follow, recipes suitable for a wide range of occasions, from day to day treats to fabulous gâteaux for special occasions. Whilst being a keen home baker, I’d always thought of patisserie style baking as being something best left to the professionals and was not something I’d have attempted before coming across this book. However, following Will’s clear, calm instructions has proved to me this is very much something within my reach and ability. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone.
Patisserie At Home
Ryland Peters and Small