Vallery Lomas won the first season of The Great American Baking Show, and given the expertise on display in this, her first book, it's easy to see why.
Lomas, who grew up in Louisiana, attended college and law school in California, lived briefly in France, then came to New York where where she practiced law and sold macarons, moves easily between comfortingly homey desserts and sophisticated classics such as clafoutis, madeleines, and caneles.
But what really holds our attention are the recipes where Lomas's personal creativity shines through: blackberry oatmeal breakfast cake; pecan bundt cake; Zulu babka (named for the New Orleans krewe and flavored with coconut and chocolate); and some seriously tempting forays into doughnut-making.
Family stories are threaded through the book, connecting Lomas to the bakers who came before her, from biscuit-making Great-Grandma Lillie and Cousin Jateaux with his strawberry fields, to Aunt Hester and her quest for perfect dinner rolls.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.