Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts

Overview

In her stunningly beautiful debut book Claire Clark takes the reader on a mouth-watering journey through her repertoire of some of the most delectable desserts, cakes and puddings from around the world. From classic homely baking to gorgeous patisserie, voluptuous ice creams and delicate petit fours. Jean Cazal's exquisite photography acts as the perfect showcase for Clark's inimitable recipes.

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Overview

In her stunningly beautiful debut book Claire Clark takes the reader on a mouth-watering journey through her repertoire of some of the most delectable desserts, cakes and puddings from around the world. From classic homely baking to gorgeous patisserie, voluptuous ice creams and delicate petit fours. Jean Cazal's exquisite photography acts as the perfect showcase for Clark's inimitable recipes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552859094
  • Publisher: Whitecap Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Clark, regarded as one of the top two or three pastry chefs in the world, learned her craft under the legendary Swiss patissiers Ernest Bachmann and John Huber. Her glittering career has taken her to some of the leading restaurants in London including the kitchens of Claridges Hotel in Mayfair and The Wolseley on Piccadilly. Claire Clark, moved to California in 2005 to take up the position of Head Pastry chef at The French Laundry, voted 'The Best Restaurant in the World' in 2005, where she works under the admiring eye of the inspirational double three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller. Indulge is her first book.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Thomas Keller

Introduction

Notes for American Readers

Biscuits and Cookies

Cakes

Pastry

Meringues

Custards and Creams

Desserts, Mousses and Jellies

Puddings

Ices

Petits Fours

Suppliers

Index

Acknowledgements

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Preface


Introduction


I love to bake. I find baking immensely rewarding and comforting: it is an indulgent pleasure that brings a warmth and rosiness and a sense of peace and contentment.

I have wonderfully fond memories of baking with my mother as a child. I would sit, or sometimes stand precariously, on a rickety wooden chair at our large wooden kitchen table which was positioned right in the middle of the room. We would mix and roll, spoon and chop in a gentle and meandering way. Food was never hurried or hastily prepared; baking was a labour of love, something to be enjoyed and savoured.

I grew up in a large old Victorian Vicarage that cost too much to heat and the only room that was warm was the kitchen, the heat provided by a solid fuel stove -- an ancient cast-iron Aga. The kitchen was the heart and hub of our home. I would rush through the long draughty uncarpeted corridors, arriving at the kitchen with a crash and on flinging open the door would be met with cries of, 'Close the door Claire, you'll let the heat out!'. Once the door was open, aromas of vanilla and spice or caramel and chocolate would slap you in the face, along with a rush of welcome warmth. Cooling wires were placed in the centre of the kitchen table laden with baking trays full of the sweet temptations of the day. The table was often multifunctional; on school nights my mother would bake at one end of the table and my brother and I would sit at the other doing our homework, the trays of baked goodies looking like trophies enticing us to hurry up and finish our studies while they were still warm.

Perhaps at this point I should tell briefly the story of how someone so immersed inthe quintessential English way of life should come to find herself cooking in one of the world's top three restaurants, just outside San Francisco in the American state of California.

How does a woman get into and survive the environment of a Michelin-starred restaurant, an environment that is so often saturated with male egotism? Well, more often than not it starts as a baptism of fire. As a female you are always going to be one of the few girls in the brigade. Many female chefs have a fantastic career when they are young, they then marry and have families and the demanding world of the restaurant kitchen is a thing of the past, left far behind.

My first job was as a grill chef, and at just 17 and straight out of college it was a severe shock to the system of this impressionable young girl. My father was a country parson and so the guys were quick to nickname me 'Vicar's Knickers'. It seemed that, regardless of your sex, everyone slapped each other on the bottom and on the back and generally got friendly in a physical way. I was left wondering if this was something that males did to bond, or was it just the way of crazy chefs? In most other professions you would have been sent straight to Human Resources if you called the new girl Vicar's Knickers and slapped her on the bum in her first week. On one occasion, upon meeting a new chef for the first time, he took his knife and slashed all the buttons off my chef's coat. A handshake would have done -- but then chefs do those sorts of things!

Once the initial shock of the swear words contained within almost every sentence, and the slaps on the bottom and back had worn off, I was left wondering if catering was really going to be the right profession for me. I thought long and hard, took a deep breath, looked deep inside, and decided it was, and that to properly fit in I would need to adapt quickly to my surroundings. I would have to do as the men did I would have to work extremely hard and expect no special treatment just because I was a woman, and, most importantly, 'give as good as I got'. When I thought I was right, I stood up for myself and made myself heard. I proved myself by showing that I could cook as well as them and showed that I wanted to be one of them. Life is stressful in the kitchen, tempers are lost, names are called, but at the end of a very long day it is all forgotten and we are still 'the Team' -- all striving for the same thing: excellence.

Of course, there were times in those early days when it all seemed too much and I ended up in the changing rooms having a good cry. I always tell the girls I work with now that if you are going to cry, go do it in private, wash your face and come back with a clear positive perspective on why and what you want from your work and why you are where you are. Develop a defiant attitude and get on with being part of the kitchen.

My career has spanned three incredible decades, through positions at The Ritz Hotel, The Intercontinental at Hyde Park Corner; a teaching job at Le Cordon Bleu, Head Pastry Chef at Sir Terence Conran's Bluebird Restaurant on the Kings Road, then on to Claridges and a brief spell planning and setting up the Pastry Department at The House of Commons (with other stops in between). Prior to moving to California I helped open the Wolseley, the famous and impossibly glamorous restaurant on Piccadilly, with Chris Galvin, now of the Michelin-starred Galvin's Bistrot de Luxe in Baker Street.

It was at the Wolseley that I first met Thomas Keller, the most amazing and incredible chef I have ever come across. His passion and personality just blew me away and I knew immediately that I had to work for him in his restaurant in California. I quickly learnt that he expects nothing less than excellence 24/7 in everything you do: he is the most exceptional chef, a creative genius and a true inspiration, quite simply one of the most wonderful and amazing people I know.

In order to succeed and then excel as a woman you have to really want to be in the kitchen with the boys, sometimes suffering, sometimes elated, but always driven by the desire to be the best and to be exceptional in all that you do. That is very much the philosophy of the 'The French Laundry' -- every person there, from the dish washer to the gardener to the food runner to myself, is driven by the same desire and passion. And we are all at The French Laundry because we are the best. It is the best family in the world.

As much as I love The French Laundry, nothing will come between me and my first love baking. For me, baking is a way to relax and to have fun. It does not have to be difficult or a trial; with a little forward planning it can be delightful and rewarding. Just treat it like a day at the Spa and it will reward you many times over. Pamper yourself, allow yourself the whole day to bake the most sumptuous, decadent, rich, luxurious cake you have ever made, and then invite your friends over to marvel at your magnificent masterpiece. Even better, cook with your friends or family and make it fun.

Successful baking is easier than you think -- really, it is. Break your recipe down into steps and treat each step like a building block with which to construct your masterpiece. Take your time over each individual step. Pay attention to small detail. Weighing ingredients correctly is vital to success. Precision and accuracy in all that you do will ensure good results. Don't cut corners or rush tasks - there are no compromises in baking.

Baking is essentially about a few core ingredients -- butter, sugar; flour, eggs, cream, milk, nuts, chocolate, fruit and vanilla -- so be sure to select the best. The quality of the ingredients will inevitably affect the overall taste and flavour of the finished dessert. How your ingredients are amalgamated to form various cakes, doughs, biscuits, pastes and petit fours is, of course, a skill, but one that can be learnt if you have the right information to hand. The Secrets of Success sections in this book provide some key information to help you with any pastry wizardry that might have previously put you off baking. Some recipes have as little as three or four ingredients and the results are still mouthwatering.

The recipes in Indulge are my favourites, taken from my last 25 years as a pastry cook, some from my childhood passed down from family, some from 5-star hotels and one-, two- and three-star Michelin restaurants. Some recipes are as simple as the shortbread, which we make on a daily basis at The French Laundry. Others are rather more complicated but absolutely possible and completely wonderful when cooked correctly. All of them are easily achieved if you follow the guidelines and allow yourself enough time. Even if the finished result does not look quite as exquisite as the photograph that accompanies the recipe, just remember that practice makes perfect, and it is still going to taste better than a commercially-made, E-numberladen offering from your local supermarket.

Dessert is to be enjoyed. Everyone loves to be a little naughty once in a while, and allow themselves a little taste of heaven in eating and enjoying a calorie-laden frivolity. So go on: live a little and enjoy baking. Indulge yourself.

Claire Clark

The French Laundry, Yountville

July 2007

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

I love to bake. I find baking immensely rewarding and comforting: it is an indulgent pleasure that brings a warmth and rosiness and a sense of peace and contentment.

I have wonderfully fond memories of baking with my mother as a child. I would sit, or sometimes stand precariously, on a rickety wooden chair at our large wooden kitchen table which was positioned right in the middle of the room. We would mix and roll, spoon and chop in a gentle and meandering way. Food was never hurried or hastily prepared; baking was a labour of love, something to be enjoyed and savoured.

I grew up in a large old Victorian Vicarage that cost too much to heat and the only room that was warm was the kitchen, the heat provided by a solid fuel stove -- an ancient cast-iron Aga. The kitchen was the heart and hub of our home. I would rush through the long draughty uncarpeted corridors, arriving at the kitchen with a crash and on flinging open the door would be met with cries of, 'Close the door Claire, you'll let the heat out!'. Once the door was open, aromas of vanilla and spice or caramel and chocolate would slap you in the face, along with a rush of welcome warmth. Cooling wires were placed in the centre of the kitchen table laden with baking trays full of the sweet temptations of the day. The table was often multifunctional; on school nights my mother would bake at one end of the table and my brother and I would sit at the other doing our homework, the trays of baked goodies looking like trophies enticing us to hurry up and finish our studies while they were still warm.

Perhaps at this point I should tell briefly the story of how someone so immersed in thequintessential English way of life should come to find herself cooking in one of the world's top three restaurants, just outside San Francisco in the American state of California.

How does a woman get into and survive the environment of a Michelin-starred restaurant, an environment that is so often saturated with male egotism? Well, more often than not it starts as a baptism of fire. As a female you are always going to be one of the few girls in the brigade. Many female chefs have a fantastic career when they are young, they then marry and have families and the demanding world of the restaurant kitchen is a thing of the past, left far behind.

My first job was as a grill chef, and at just 17 and straight out of college it was a severe shock to the system of this impressionable young girl. My father was a country parson and so the guys were quick to nickname me 'Vicar's Knickers'. It seemed that, regardless of your sex, everyone slapped each other on the bottom and on the back and generally got friendly in a physical way. I was left wondering if this was something that males did to bond, or was it just the way of crazy chefs? In most other professions you would have been sent straight to Human Resources if you called the new girl Vicar's Knickers and slapped her on the bum in her first week. On one occasion, upon meeting a new chef for the first time, he took his knife and slashed all the buttons off my chef's coat. A handshake would have done -- but then chefs do those sorts of things!

Once the initial shock of the swear words contained within almost every sentence, and the slaps on the bottom and back had worn off, I was left wondering if catering was really going to be the right profession for me. I thought long and hard, took a deep breath, looked deep inside, and decided it was, and that to properly fit in I would need to adapt quickly to my surroundings. I would have to do as the men did I would have to work extremely hard and expect no special treatment just because I was a woman, and, most importantly, 'give as good as I got'. When I thought I was right, I stood up for myself and made myself heard. I proved myself by showing that I could cook as well as them and showed that I wanted to be one of them. Life is stressful in the kitchen, tempers are lost, names are called, but at the end of a very long day it is all forgotten and we are still 'the Team' -- all striving for the same thing: excellence.

Of course, there were times in those early days when it all seemed too much and I ended up in the changing rooms having a good cry. I always tell the girls I work with now that if you are going to cry, go do it in private, wash your face and come back with a clear positive perspective on why and what you want from your work and why you are where you are. Develop a defiant attitude and get on with being part of the kitchen.

My career has spanned three incredible decades, through positions at The Ritz Hotel, The Intercontinental at Hyde Park Corner; a teaching job at Le Cordon Bleu, Head Pastry Chef at Sir Terence Conran's Bluebird Restaurant on the Kings Road, then on to Claridges and a brief spell planning and setting up the Pastry Department at The House of Commons (with other stops in between). Prior to moving to California I helped open the Wolseley, the famous and impossibly glamorous restaurant on Piccadilly, with Chris Galvin, now of the Michelin-starred Galvin's Bistrot de Luxe in Baker Street.

It was at the Wolseley that I first met Thomas Keller, the most amazing and incredible chef I have ever come across. His passion and personality just blew me away and I knew immediately that I had to work for him in his restaurant in California. I quickly learnt that he expects nothing less than excellence 24/7 in everything you do: he is the most exceptional chef, a creative genius and a true inspiration, quite simply one of the most wonderful and amazing people I know.

In order to succeed and then excel as a woman you have to really want to be in the kitchen with the boys, sometimes suffering, sometimes elated, but always driven by the desire to be the best and to be exceptional in all that you do. That is very much the philosophy of the 'The French Laundry' -- every person there, from the dish washer to the gardener to the food runner to myself, is driven by the same desire and passion. And we are all at The French Laundry because we are the best. It is the best family in the world.

As much as I love The French Laundry, nothing will come between me and my first love baking. For me, baking is a way to relax and to have fun. It does not have to be difficult or a trial; with a little forward planning it can be delightful and rewarding. Just treat it like a day at the Spa and it will reward you many times over. Pamper yourself, allow yourself the whole day to bake the most sumptuous, decadent, rich, luxurious cake you have ever made, and then invite your friends over to marvel at your magnificent masterpiece. Even better, cook with your friends or family and make it fun.

Successful baking is easier than you think -- really, it is. Break your recipe down into steps and treat each step like a building block with which to construct your masterpiece. Take your time over each individual step. Pay attention to small detail. Weighing ingredients correctly is vital to success. Precision and accuracy in all that you do will ensure good results. Don't cut corners or rush tasks - there are no compromises in baking.

Baking is essentially about a few core ingredients -- butter, sugar; flour, eggs, cream, milk, nuts, chocolate, fruit and vanilla -- so be sure to select the best. The quality of the ingredients will inevitably affect the overall taste and flavour of the finished dessert. How your ingredients are amalgamated to form various cakes, doughs, biscuits, pastes and petit fours is, of course, a skill, but one that can be learnt if you have the right information to hand. The Secrets of Success sections in this book provide some key information to help you with any pastry wizardry that might have previously put you off baking. Some recipes have as little as three or four ingredients and the results are still mouthwatering.

The recipes in Indulge are my favourites, taken from my last 25 years as a pastry cook, some from my childhood passed down from family, some from 5-star hotels and one-, two- and three-star Michelin restaurants. Some recipes are as simple as the shortbread, which we make on a daily basis at The French Laundry. Others are rather more complicated but absolutely possible and completely wonderful when cooked correctly. All of them are easily achieved if you follow the guidelines and allow yourself enough time. Even if the finished result does not look quite as exquisite as the photograph that accompanies the recipe, just remember that practice makes perfect, and it is still going to taste better than a commercially-made, E-numberladen offering from your local supermarket.

Dessert is to be enjoyed. Everyone loves to be a little naughty once in a while, and allow themselves a little taste of heaven in eating and enjoying a calorie-laden frivolity. So go on: live a little and enjoy baking. Indulge yourself.

Claire Clark
The French Laundry, Yountville
July 2007

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2007

    Claire Clark

    Claire Clark has just released her cookbook and it seems decidely British in style - despite the many French influences 'no surprise' Though this style is not exactly cutting edge - its contents and gentle, clear instruction are a must for all us pastry chickipoos. What is so helpful - not just the recipes 'never enough you know?' is the wonderful candor with which she relates her experices in the difficult, trecherous, wonderful, world of restaurant work. THIS IS NEEDED. Truth is so valued - and it has been so very helpful for me personally and professionally to read what this Pastry Chef of such stature has to express about her EXPERIENCES beyond cooking. Please,may we expect a second helping in the future? Bravo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

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