Book Review: The Modern Baker
by Gena Bell
No matter what the season baking is always popular. And for those of you looking for a new source to heighten your skills, The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri is one to buy. Nominated for an IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) award this year, The Modern Baker offers recipes for café/restaurant quality breads, tarts, pies, cakes and cookies. Nick has written several baking books in the past but this one is different in that each section is more concise with several photographs and tips on why he uses specific ingredients.
One of my favorite chapters, “Sweet Tarts & Pies” starts out with recipes for several types of pastry dough and techniques on how to roll and handle dough. I made the Lemony Cheese Tart which turned out lusciously creamy and faintly tart. My only complaint is that the crust needed to be par-baked (baked before the filling is added) so that the consistency was more crunchy. Some of the other tarts and pies that shouldn’t be missed include the Pine Nut Tart and the Blueberry Crumble Pie, especially with summer berry season coming.
The “Puff Pastries” chapter is another great section giving us a recipe for Instant Puff Pastry, which is not complicated especially compared to making puff pastry the “pastry school way”. The chapter is then loaded with sweet and savory recipes using the instant puff pastry. Great treats to bake for brunch or when friends come to visit.
As for “Cakes”, the recipes range from the Perfect Pound Cake to a Viennese Raisin Coffee Cake. And for the amateur froster, there is a detailed explanation of how to frost a cake. The Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake was very moist with just a hint of orange. I did however, half the recipe from two cakes to one.
Last but, certainly not least “Cookies”….my favorite! The Cocoa Nib Brownies were scrumptious. The nibs made the texture slightly crunchy which was a great combination with the chocolaty crumb. The Sour Cream Brownies were delicious as well but, I suggest to slightly decrease the amount of flour because the brownies were a little cakey and not fudgy enough.
The Modern Baker is a great addition to any home baker’s kitchen. The recipes are tested fairly well and I appreciate the lovely photos throughout the entire book.
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Tags: baking, Book Review, cocoa nib brownies, IACP, International Association of Culinary Professionals, Nick Malgieri, olive oil cake, pound cake, puff pastry, sweet tarts and pies, The Modern Baker