As Executive Pastry Chef at the White House for 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, which features more than 300 spectacular recipes.
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.
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).
More than fifty black-and-white line drawings throughout illustrate Chef Mesnier's instructions for the more complicated recipes. 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.
Thanks to Mesnier's tremendous dessert reference, everyday home cooks can now whip up the very sweets the author has been serving to the First Family and White House visitors for the past 25 years. French-born Mesnier, who was hired by Rosalyn Carter in 1979, is honorary president of the World Cup of Pastry, but his culinary know-how stretches far beyond the intricacies of croissants and brioche. After all, he's been working in America and serving international heads of state for a quarter century, so he's well versed in classics like Cheesecake, Baked Alaska, Brownies, All-American Apple Pie, Oatmeal Cookies and Rum Raisin Ice Cream. His cookbook isn't to be taken lightly, however; there aren't a ton of speed-saving shortcuts, nor are there revised, easier versions of detailed dishes. That said, the recipes, for the most part, call for basic supermarket ingredients, with the occasional trip to the greenmarket for fresh fruit. (In fact, Mesnier is a huge fan of fruit desserts, and he offers a wide variety of options for low-calorie sweets that don't sacrifice flavor for calories, like Mango Tropico Souffl .) With advice on techniques and short but revealing asides on Mesnier's interesting career, the book is at once an indispensable guide to preparing desserts and fascinating armchair reading.