The Professional Pastry Chef Fundamentals

The Professional Pastry Chef Fundamentals

Thanks to the teamwork of several people at John Wiley & Sons––publisher Rob Garber, who went out on a limb for me more than once to support this volume; my editor Susan Wyler, who treated the manuscript as if it were her own; Andrea Johnson, who never tired of my constant changes and additions; and the art and production departments, which offered great creative ideas and made the concept a reality––this edition has a brand new look and a contemporary, modular design.

The recipes in each chapter are organized in a way that will make them easier to use whether you are a student, teacher, professional chef or amateur-cooking enthusiast. Among the many new design features are Chef’s Tips and informational sidebars. These, along with the recipe introductions, point out potential challenges, give specific hints and advice, convey general information about the ingredients used, discuss the history of the dish, or offer an alternative presentation or usage.

Subrecipes have been moved to follow a main recipe whenever possible to make them easier to access. This new edition also contains innovative ideas for impressive plate presentations and incorporates techniques that utilize the tools that are needed to produce the latest novel creations. In the six years since the third edition was published, a multitude of new equipment has emerged in the baking and pastry field.

Flexipan forms, made from special silicone-based compounds, are used more and more in place of tinned steel for baking everything from cake bases, to teacakes, madeleines and individual pastries. These pans are also used to mold custards, parfaits and other chilled or frozen creations. While the initial cost is higher than for metal forms, the expense is more than offset by the tremendous advantages they offer.

The forms do not require greasing before use, they are easy to keep clean, the baked or frozen products are a cinch to unmold and, perhaps most importantly, these pans produce items that are perfectly consistent in appearance. Many other tools that were once made from metal are now made from composites that are heatproof, rustproof, and resistant to bacteria.

Silpats (silicone baking mats), decorating stencils, plastic strips (acetate or polyurethane), transfer sheets for use with both chocolate and sponges, decorating combs used to create patterned sponge sheets, and, to some degree, dough sheeters, are no longer considered specialized equipment used only in large operations, but are now a must in any establishment that wants to keep up with the latest industry trends.

These tools and others like them are discussed and utilized throughout both volumes. Another big change in the pastry field over the past two decades is the ever increasing availability of reasonably priced imported produce, such as tropical fruits, and excellent quality “halfway” products like frozen fruit purees, gianduja, florentina mix, praline paste, chocolate truffle shells, and candy fillings.

Other examples of new products that make our lives easier and allow today’s pastry chefs much more creativity are food-grade coolant in an aerosol spray, specifically designed for rapid cooling and setting of melted chocolate and hot sugar when making decorations, and powdered gold leaf, also in aerosol form, to make precise application much easier.

A greater number of the recipes in this edition include alternative versions that produce a smaller yield, aptly titled “Small-Batch.” This was done in an effort to make the book accessible to a wider range of readers and to both large and small professional operations. Recipes that do not include a small batch ingredient list are still easy to scale up or down as needed. Because none of the cake, tart, and pie recipes yield more than two, it is equally convenient for anyone to either multiply this amount as needed, depending on the occasion and/or demands, or for the home chef to divide the ingredients in half to make, for example, one birthday cake.

As before, all of the recipes that produce individual servings, namely the plated desserts, custards, puddings, mousses, charlottes, and Bavarians, yield either eight, twelve, or sixteen servings, which again makes it easy to divide the ingredients to serve four, six, or eight. The third edition of The Professional Pastry Chef was, I am pleased to say, a huge success for many reasons: the main one being that all the recipes work, period.

This, of course, is the point of any cookbook, but unfortunately it is not always the case. Professional chefs especially, who work in an environment where not only are the cost and waste of ingredients significant, but time is of the essence, must have workable formulas they can rely on. Readers will be pleased to note that all of the recipes and procedures in my books have been tested by literally thousands of students in my classes and have been improved on over the course of many years.

In the Chef’s Tips and the recipe instructions, I point out typical pitfalls and explain why certain steps must be completed in a particular order or manner. I also offer suggestions for using more than one type of form or mold when applicable, knowing that not only does every operation not have the same equipment, but also that these items are not always readily available when needed. In several instances, instructions, complete with illustrations, are given for making your own forms and molds

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