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Dessert University

by Roland Mesnier Lauren Chattman John Burgoyne Maren Caruso

As Executive Pastry Chef at the White House for almost twenty-five years, Roland Mesnier has been responsible for creating thousands of elegant, delicious confections and dazzling desserts for hundreds of state dinners and family occasions. An accomplished teacher as well as a master chef, he now shares his expertise with home cooks in Dessert University. This beautifully illustrated volume is a complete course in making the full spectrum of spectacular sweets -- from breakfast pastries, cookies, and pies to fresh-fruit desserts, frozen confections, and cakes. Recipes in each chapter are organized from the simplest to the most complex, and Chef Mesnier walks you through each step, pointing out common mistakes and offering insights on technique gained from his years as a professional. Most of these recipes need few special ingredients and almost no fancy equipment; nearly everything can be purchased at a well-stocked supermarket, department store, or kitchen supply store. Chef Mesnier includes tips on techniques, ingredients, and serving suggestions, and offers home cooks practical advice, such as how to fill and use a pastry bag and the best way to whip egg whites. A resource list is also included, so cooks can find the more unusual ingredients they need to make these delectable creations. Mesnier starts off with his fresh-fruit desserts, including uniquely wonderful recipes such as Bananas in Raspberry Cream, Blueberry Fool, and Poached Peaches with Chestnut Mousse. He moves on to creamy custards, puddings, soufflés, mousses and Bavarians, ice creams, meringues, crêpes, and breakfast treats (including buttery brioche and croissant doughs). Chef Mesnier's cookie and bar recipes will fill your cookie jar with such treats as Chocolate Chip Cookies, Almond Crescents, Orange Butter Cookies, Brownies, and Florentine Squares. There are sweet and savory tarts, and cakes ranging from the simple (Lemon Pound Cake) to the unusual (Peanut Butter and Jelly Roulade Cake) to the sophisticated (Chocolate Champagne Mousse Cake). Ambitious home cooks can even try their hand at making chocolate candy and sugar decorations. A chapter on syrups, sauces, and other dessert components completes the book. More than fifty black-and-white line drawings throughout illustrate Chef Mesnier's instructions for the more complicated recipes, and there are sixteen stunning color photographs of finished desserts. Home cooks and professionals spend hundreds of dollars in formal cooking classes to learn what masters like Roland Mesnier have to teach. In Dessert University, Chef Mesnier has distilled the experience and expertise of an extraordinary career into one accessible, user-friendly volume. Whether you're a novice who has never picked up a rolling pin or an accomplished cook looking to hone and enhance your skills, this is truly a book you cannot do without.

Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes

by Roland Mesnier Lauren Chattman

In his twenty-five years as Executive White House Pastry Chef, Roland Mesnier prided himself on creating a unique dessert for every special occasion, from elaborate State Dinners and formal receptions to smaller family gatherings and birthday celebrations. In Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes, the author of the classic and comprehensive Dessert University shows home cooks how to create desserts that can be beautifully embellished to serve any occasion by using a small set of foolproof cake recipes. Hazelnut Ring Cake, for example, can be served on its own at teatime, as it was in the Reagan White House; or, with the addition of espresso-flavored whipped cream and a crown of caramelized phyllo, can become the memorable culmination of an elegant dinner party. Chocolate Dome Cake (one of the Carters' favorites) can be topped with raspberry glaze, served with Grand Marnier mousse, or spangled with berries. Blueberry Upside-Down Cake with yogurt sauce is a light treat for a long weekend morning; the cherry version, with its lattice of whipped cream, will delight children and adults alike, and the truly grand Peach and Spice Upside-Down Cake with Brioche "Peaches" is a show-stopping confection, elegant enough for the Clintons to serve to the chancellor of Germany and the prime minister of England. Even on the most important ocassions, Chef Mesnier believes that desserts don't have to be filled with butter and cream. Recipes like the wheat-free Carrot Cake, the dairy-free Orange Sherbert Cake with Glazed Oranges, and the low-fat Apricot SoufflÉ Cake with Apricot Grand Marnier Sauce satisfy guests with special dietary concerns but still meet Roland's exacting standards for taste and presentation. The easy-to-follow instructions for these time-tested recipes anticipate pitfalls and offer sensible suggestions for when it is worth to invest in high-end ingredients and equipment and when you can get by without them, and how to peel and slice fruit for the most attractive results. With Chef Mesnier taking you through every step of each carefully constructed recipe, you can be sure that your cakes will be delicious and spectacular every time. Soon you will have mastered the basic recipes and a few of the more advanced techniques, and you will be able to develop a repertoire of your own. like Chef Mesnier, you'll be able to tailor your desserts to the tastes of your guests or the spirit of a celebration. Whether the table is lit by tapers and laid with your best silver or you are serving a few friends Sunday supper in the kitchen, you will be able to create sophisticated mouthwatering desserts that your guests will remember for weeks to come.

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