Sweet Seasons: Fabulous Restaurant Desserts Made Simple

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9780471387381: Sweet Seasons: Fabulous Restaurant Desserts Made Simple
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"Richard Leach has inspired an entire generation of pastry chefs. He′s widely imitated . . . he has single–handedly changed the way desserts look around the country in a lot of restaurants." ––Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar & Grill "The first time I encountered Richard Leach′s desserts, I became absolutely incoherent. My notes from that meal are garbled and filled with exclamation points."––Ruth Reichl, New York Times "Richard Leach, the pastry chef, should have his hands licensed as deadly weapons, like boxers." ––Bryan Miller, New York Times Food critics, nationwide, have exalted him. Food Arts magazine dubbed him the "Pythagoras of pastry," in recognition of his revolutionary genius as a pastry chef. Master pastry chefs, everywhere, have tried to imitate him and failed. Now, at last, in this beautifully illustrated guide, Richard Leach reveals the secrets behind his fabulous talent to inspire home bakers as he has professional pastry chefs. In Sweet Seasons, Chef Richard Leach shares 400 of his building block recipes that can be combined to create 100 of his favorite, original desserts, organized by the seasons––so bakers can take advantage of the freshest available ingredients––and richly supplemented with 113 color photographs illustrating the plated desserts and their assembly. Each recipe is structured so as to allow readers to prepare all or any part of the dessert, based on level of expertise and availability of ingredients. For example, a summer dessert of Warm Peach Strudel with Sweet Corn Panna Cotta breaks down the recipe into its components (e.g., roasted peaches, vanilla crepes, corn panna cotta, peach sauce, honey tuille garnish, etc.) to allow the reader to "mix and match." Throughout, Chef Leach provides useful substitution tips and plating directions, and includes a complete Resource List, which provides sources for ingredients and equipment. Richard Leach (New York, NY) is Executive Pastry Chef at Park Avenue Cafe. He was named 1997 Pastry Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation and one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Pastry Art and Design.

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Review:

Leach, executive pastry chef at the Park Avenue Café, creates architecturally heady and refined desserts. Organized by season, each recipe in this treasure trove actually contains several sub–recipes: Roasted Pecan Napoleon with Chilled Pecan Terrine is a two–for–one deal, for example, and Caramelized Banana and Milk Chocolate Custard with Banana–Praline Terrine and Banana Fritters has three recipes that can be used separately. Each recipe contains assembly directions that include suggestions for piping sauces and placing garnishes. Unusual ingredients (such as jicama in Frozen Banana Timbale with Jicama, Lime and Mint and Chamomile with Warm Blueberries in a Strudel Shell with Chamomile Sauce) elevate dessert, so it is just as important as the entrée. Professional techniques and equipment are called for here, but home patissiers who are not afraid to experiment may be inspired by the meticulously thoughtful combinations such as Roassted Pineapple Tart with Basil Ice Cream or Fresh Figs with Crisp Corn Pudding and Frozen Fig Torte. There is no guidance on ingredients–where to find tamarind paste, for example, so novices beware: much assembly required. However, the dessert titles alone could stand as poetry, with the added plus that results are delicate and innovative. (Publishers Weekly, September 10, 2001) "..presented in a clear way with useful tips and easy to follow instructions.." (Hospitality, 1 February 2002)

"...home patissiers who are not afraid to experiment may be inspired by the meticulously thoughtful combinations... The dessert titles alone could stand as poetry with the added plus that results are delicate and innovative" (Publishers Weekly, September 10, 2001) "..presented in a clear way with useful tips and easy to follow instructions.." (Hospitality, 1 February 2002)

From the Back Cover:

"Richard Leach has translated his unmistakable style and intriguing artistry into accessible recipes for the home kitchen. Distinctive and daring, his creations truly bring plated desserts to a new level."–Charlie Trotter, Chef and author "I have long admired Richard Leach and his excellent desserts. We are all fortunate that he is now sharing these wonderful recipes with everyone."–Nick Malgieri, Author of Chocolate and Cookies Unlimited "Sweet Seasons has everything you need to produce gasp–worthy restaurant desserts."–Tom Colicchio, Chef/Owner of Craft and Gramercy Tavern "The discipline of pastry and a whole world of great flavors merge triumphantly in Richard Leach′s fantastic new book!"–Andrew MacLauchlan, Author of New Classic Desserts and The Making of a Pastry Chef "Richard Leach is one of the great pastry chefs in America. In this wonderful book, Richard lets home cooks in on the sweet secrets of his success."–Alfred Portale, Executive chef/owner of gotham bar and grill

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