“The pastries we make are deliciously simple and rustic and never too sweet. Woven into many of them are my favorite flavors: butter, cinnamon, nuts, and fruit. They’re familiar, uncomplicated, and satisfying. One taste and you’re instantly comforted. Inspired by a sweet memory from childhood, a European classic, or a time-honored bakeshop standard, they are flavors you never tire of. Like my bread, these are pastries you want to eat every day.”—from the Introduction
When celebrated pastry chef and baker Nancy Silverton decided to add sweets to the La Brea Bakery’s shelves of artisanal breads, she knew that they couldn't be just any sweets. Instead of baking fastidious and overelaborate desserts, she creates deliciously simple, rustic pastries, full of texture and flavor, that complement perfectly her hearty, country-style breads and have people lining up morning after morning. Now, in Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, Silverton shares her passion and expertise in more than 150 recipes of her most scrumptious favorites—virtually every pastry in the La Brea Bakery’s impressive repertoire.
Silverton distills years of experimentation and innovation into simple and accessible directions. Many of her recipes are surprisingly quick and easy—not to mention incredibly tasty—like her crisps, cobblers, and crumbles, and her ever-popular scones, which run the gamut from Chocolate-Walnut to Ginger to Mushroom-Onion. Her muffins are moist and distinctive, from the healthful Bran to the rich Crotin de Chocolat. She offers an array of quickbreads and quickcakes for all tastes (including Madeleines, Canellés, and Cranberry-Almond Tea Bread), and her tarts bring out the best qualities of the finest ingredients, from the intense, fresh fruit of her Cherry Bundles to her elegant Triple Almond Tart. Beautiful cookies, such as Almond Sunflowers, Nun’s Breasts, and Swedish Ginger Wafers, are centerpiece desserts on their own. Silverton also deftly teaches the delicate art of confections—here you'll find Almond Bark, English Toffee, and Lollipops—and demystifies the sometimes intimidating technique of doughnut making.
The crowning touch is her detailed section on Morning Pastries, where she guides us to mastery of the classic doughs: the quick and rich bobka, the fine-textured traditional brioche, the famous and flexible croissant, and the pièce de résistance: puff pastry.
An important book from a baking and pastry icon, Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, like Nancy Silverton’s acclaimed Breads from the La Brea Bakery, is a bible of the craft for bakers everywhere.
Passionate bakers will find Silverton's latest collection of recipes as absorbing as this year's hottest potboiler: "What happens next?" is the question after each page is turned. Here, the answer is one enticing pastry after another: "quickcakes," quick breads, savories, cobblers and crisps, muffins, tarts, doughnuts, confections. Fans of Silverton's La Brea Bakery fare will want to know how she makes her fudge-swirled Almond Poundcake and incomparable Cinnammon Buns; and what's the secret of those famous Bran Muffins? (Pureed Raisins) Hers are "rustic" but elegant creations--straightforward, but evocative of browned butter and vanilla, toasted pecans and ricotta. Breakfast Pastries, for example, include Russian Coffeecake, laced with chocolate and sour cream, and lush, brioche Sticky Buns. Although this is a book for the serious cook, its brisk, encouraging tone and intelligently written instructions could help even a novice turn out memorable Chocolate Madeleines, Ginger Scones or Lemon Picnic Tarts--while experienced cooks can dive into puff pastry or croissant dough, as well. Anyone would be thrilled to sample this combination of pastries, and Silverton's excellent teaching skills make this volume accessible to almost everyone. Photos by Steven Rothfeld.