9 Books to Inspire Professional Pastry Chefs
May 05, 2023
Professional pastry chefs know that the keys to success are their skills, talent and dedication to expanding their knowledge of baking artistry. Being a pastry chef demands a deep understanding of the craft, a willingness to learn and adapt continually, and a commitment to excellence.
With the constant evolution of the industry, it's crucial for pastry cooks to stay current and seek out new ideas and techniques to develop their skills. That's why we have selected a list of essential books that will inspire, guide, and challenge pastry chefs at every level.
Whether you're just starting your career or are a seasoned professional, these nine books for pastry chefs offer invaluable insights and ideas to help you create exceptional desserts and pastries.
Classic Pastry Textbooks
The Pastry Chef's Little Black Book: The Definitive Recipe Collection; For Chefs, By Chefs by Michael Zebrowski & Michael Mignano
The Pastry Chef's Little Black Book is a revolutionary recipe collection created by two respected pastry professionals, Michael Zebrowski and Michael Mignano. This definitive book is a must-have for any pastry chef looking to elevate their skills and create incredible dishes.
The book features a collection of 500 recipes organized into chapters on doughs; fillings; types of cake; frostings & glazes; custards & creams; mousses; cookies; sauces; chocolates & confections; frozen desserts; breakfast, and bread. With clear and concise instructions, this book is accessible to pastry chefs of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced professionals—though it does assume a high level of ease with basic techniques,
What sets Pastry Chef's Little Black Book apart is that it is a collection of tested component recipes that can be employed in the creation of more ambitious finished desserts. For instance, a distinctive dessert may comprise a sponge cake, a mousse, and a gel artfully arranged on a plate with a warm sauce, a frozen element, and a crispy garnish. Even the book itself allows plenty of space for jotting notes while being used in the kitchen and helpfully includes metric and US measurements.
In addition to the recipes, the book also includes tips and tricks for troubleshooting common pastry problems and offers advice on flavor combinations and presentation. It is truly a thorough guide to the art of pastry making.
The Pastry Chef's Little Black Book: Volume II; The Definitive Recipe Collection; For Chefs, By Chefs by Michael Zebrowski & Michael Mignano
The Pastry Chef's Little Black Book, Volume II, is the much-anticipated follow-up to Zebrowski and Mignano’s popular original collection.
Building on the success of the first volume, this second book features 300 entirely new recipes in 13 new categories, including decorative mediums, specialized diets, and jams & compotes, to name just a few. The techniques and tips noted here are written in brief and concise instructions, extensively tested by the authors, making this book useful in a wide range of pastry kitchens, especially those which have put Volume 1 to good use.
French Pastries and Desserts by Lenôtre: 200 Classic Recipes Revised and Updated by a Team of Chefs at Lenôtre Paris with Sylvie Gille-Naves, and a foreword by Alain Lenôtre
French Pastries and Desserts by Lenôtre is a classic and comprehensive recipe collection originally published in 1975. The book has been revised and updated by a team of expert pastry chefs at the famed Ecole Lenôtre Paris.
The book features 200 traditional French pastry recipes that have been perfected over decades of practice and innovation. To these have been added currently popular treats such as tiramisu, making it a useful reference for catering to popular demand.
Appreciations by Sylvie Gille-Naves and Alain Lenôtre—the children of Gaston Lenôtre, the book’s original author—offer a fascinating insight into the history and philosophy of the Lenôtre brand, which has long been synonymous with excellence in pastry making.
Featuring clear instructions on how to make basic batters, creams, syrups, breakfast items, cakes, pies, tarts, soufflés, and petit fours, the recipes are designed to be accessible to pastry chefs of all levels, with detailed explanations of the techniques and ingredients used in each recipe.
One of the unique features of this book is the emphasis on presentation and visual appeal. The Lenôtre chefs are renowned for creating spectacular pastry displays that are as beautiful as they are delicious. French Pastries and Desserts offers many tips and techniques for creating visually striking desserts, accompanied by beautiful updated photographs, making it both an instructional manual and a visual feast.
Specialty Pastry Books
Sourdough Panettone and Viennoiserie by Thomas Teffri-Chambelland
Sourdough Panettone and Viennoiserie by Thomas Teffri-Chambelland is a unique and innovative recipe book that explores the possibilities of sourdough in pastry making. The author, a renowned French baker and culinary instructor, offers a fresh perspective on traditional viennoiserie and panettone recipes by incorporating sourdough as the leavening agent.
The book provides detailed and comprehensive instructions on making a variety of sourdough-based pastries, from classic croissants and brioche to more elaborate creations such as panettone and kouign-amann. The recipes are accompanied by step-by-step photography, making it easy to follow along and visualize the final product.
This book places strong emphasis on using natural and organic ingredients, which aligns with the author's commitment to sustainable and healthy baking practices. It incorporates his own research, offering tips and techniques for working with sourdough and using it to enhance the flavor and texture of pastries, allowing the reader to adapt recipes according to local traditions and ingredients.
Adapt: A Unique Pastry Concept by Richard Hawke
Adapt: A Unique Pastry Concept by Richard Hawke is a thought-provoking and inspiring book that challenges traditional approaches to pastry making.
The author, a renowned pastry chef and innovator, presents a new philosophy of pastry that emphasizes adaptability and flexibility in recipe development, in this case focusing on gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegan versions of classic pastry recipes.
The book is organized into chapters that explore different aspects of the author's pastry concept, from ingredient selection and flavor pairing to technique and presentation. Each chapter includes recipes demonstrating key concepts and techniques, accompanied by exquisite imagery showcasing the final product.
This book is not just a compilation of recipes. Instead, it provides a comprehensive understanding of how ingredients work and how to substitute them in recipes. The theory section of the book dedicates itself entirely to ingredient understanding. From classic ingredients like gelatin, eggs, and butter to plant-based options like different types of pectins and proteins, Hawke explains the why and how of ingredients and their interactions, allowing for easy substitutions.
With over 200 base recipes, including shortbreads, sponges, choux pastry, creams, fruit-coulis, mousses, glazes, and enrobing, the book provides a guide for creating with-gluten, gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegan versions of these classic recipes. The comparative recipe design helps understand the differences between each option, presenting ingredients in both percentages and grams for better comprehension.
The book's final section showcases Hawke's signature creations, inspiring readers to create unique desserts using basic recipes. The presentation is simple yet elegant, encouraging creativity and innovation in pastry-making.
Fine Chocolates Gold by Jean-Pierre Wybauw
Fine Chocolates Gold by Jean-Pierre Wybauw is a refined and reorganized collection of his earlier four Fine Chocolates books. The author was a master chocolatier with over 30 years of experience. He shares his wealth of knowledge and expertise in this beautifully illustrated book on the art of chocolate making.
The book is divided into chapters that cover different aspects of chocolate making, from the history of chocolate to the selection of ingredients and the techniques used in chocolate production. Wybauw also provides detailed instructions for tempering chocolate and creating a variety of candies and their components. The recipes span 325 pages, from chocolate mint caramels and beer ganache to rhubarb truffles and pistachio marzipan with whiskey.
One of the standout features of this book is the captivating photography, which showcases the beauty and complexity of the author's chocolate creations. Wybauw also provides tips and advice for confectionery sales and marketing, including troubleshooting production issues, estimating and extending shelf life, and even choosing packaging materials that are aesthetically pleasing and practical.
Creative Pastry Books
Bachour Buffets by Antonio Bachour
Bachour Buffets by Antonio Bachour is a visually breathtaking book demonstrating the author's incredible talent for creating beautiful and delicious pastries that have made him an Instagram sensation. The book features over 60 recipes for a wide range of desserts, including cakes, tarts, macarons, and petit fours, all designed to be served in a buffet setting or individually plated.
The recipes in the book are organized by themed buffets, including fruit-based desserts, chocolate creations, croissants & brioche, petit fours, entremets & petit gateaux, and savory pastries. A full-page color process sequence, detailed instructions, and ingredient list accompany each recipe.
One of the standout features of this book is the author's innovative use of flavors and textures. From passion fruit and lychee to hazelnut and caramel, each recipe in Bachour Buffets proposes interesting combinations that are accessible and easy to understand.
Plating Dessert by Lee Eunji
Plating Dessert by Lee Eunji is a beautifully designed book that explores the art of presenting elements in relation to each other. This elegant, detailed work offers the creations of Lee Eunji, now the proprietor of Lysée in NYC and previously the pastry chef at the two Michelin-starred Jungsik.
The book features over 40 dessert recipes with precise instructions for creating 10 remarkable plated desserts that mix Asian and Western flavors.
The recipes in Plating Dessert are organized by season, with each chapter highlighting the flavors and ingredients of a particular time of year. From a summer fruit tart to a winter chocolate cake, each recipe is designed to showcase the season's best.
However, the real highlight of this book is the beautiful photography and detailed instructions for plating each dessert. Lee Eunji is an insightful and skilled plating artisan whose approach is fresh and innovative. Each recipe is represented by multiple images showing different plating techniques and variations on the presentation.
Flowers (English language edition) by Cedric Grolet
Flowers is an English-language edition of a beautiful pastry book by Cedric Grolet, one of the world's most celebrated pastry chefs. The book features stunning photography and detailed sequences for creating exquisite entremets and pastry creations inspired by roses, violets, vanilla orchids, and orange blossoms.
Grolet's innovative approach to pastry is in full bloom in Flowers, with each recipe showcasing his skill and creativity. From delicate millefeuilles to intricately sculpted cakes, each pastry creation is a work of art designed to capture the beauty and essence of a particular flower.
The book is organized by season, each chapter highlighting the best flowers and flavors of the time of year. Grolet's recipes are as flavorful as they are beautiful, with unique combinations of flavors and textures that will leave diners delighted.
Indulge in a world of flavors, textures, and techniques with these nine must-have books—a treasure trove of inspiration and knowledge for pastry chefs. Whether you're an aspiring chef or a seasoned professional, these books offer a feast for the senses, with classic French pastry, innovative concepts, and cutting-edge techniques. These culinary gems are packed with insights, tips, and tricks to help you elevate your pastry game and keep you ahead of the curve. So let these books be your guide to creating exquisite desserts that are a true work of art.
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