by Fran Gage
Master baker Fran Gage thinks of sugar, almonds, eggs, and butter as "the DNA of desserts." Elemental as they are, they make possible a profusion of pastries and other sweets, from lollipops to ethereal creations of marzipan, meringue, and puff pastry.No one has developed a more profound knowledge and appreciation of this fabulous foursome than Gage, who relied on these humble ingredients for her daily output during the ten years she owned and ran her acclaimed San Francisco bakery, Pâtisserie Française. In A Sweet Quartet, she tells how each originally found its way into the kitchen and yielded up its culinary gold, an alchemy influenced by technological innovation, genetic manipulation, and government intervention—not to mention human error and opportunism and, of course, the weather. In the telling—as in her first book, Bread and Chocolate—she draws upon remembrances, tastings, experiments, and travels, including visits to contemporary sugar refineries, almond orchards, hatcheries, and creameries. She crowns each section with a baker's half dozen recipes for pastries and other sweets that show off the multiple talents of an ingredient: a darkly sweet Molasses Spice cake, nutty Financiers, luscious Chocolate Meringue "Sandwiches," buttery Apricot Tarte Tatin, among others. The book concludes with a look at the evolution of dessert itself, from ancient times to the present day, and—the piéce de rèsistance—suggestions for a dessert buffet.
About the Author
Fran Gage is a member of the Baker's Dozen and a contributor to The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. She is the author of Bread and Chocolate and writes frequently for Saveur, Fine Cooking, Williams-Sonoma Taste, and other publications. She lives in San Francisco, where for many years she was the proprietor of Pâtisserie Française.
A Sweet Quartet
Sugar, Almonds, Eggs, and Butter:
A Baker's Tour Including 33 Recipes
by Fran Gage
North Point Press
Price: $27.50 US/43.00 CAN
Information provided by the publisher.
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