Somehow I stumbled across a literal textbook last week called Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft.    Yes, I know it’s expensive, but they had a used copy available that was reasonable, so I ordered it.

And all I can say is–wow.  This HUGE  book is a text for the Culinary Institute of America, and it’s very thorough not only in baking techniques and equipment, but also in recipes (or “formulas.”)  And you know all those elegant plated deserts you can find in upscale recipes?  Yep, they’re in here.  You can now make them yourself, if you’ve a mind to impress someone.  :- )

Tonight I made their formula for madeleines, a small batch that came out very well.  But I decided to bake a trifle for my book club Monday night (because a lady in the book made trifles), so I used their recipe, which begins with sponge cake.

Well, the problem with using a restaurant type cookbook is that you have restaurant type sizes.  The recipe made FOUR sponge cakes (I didn’t mind, since I knew I could freeze them) but called for something like 755 grams of eggs and then 9 ounces of egg yolks.  I cracked over two dozen eggs and STILL didn’t have enough, so I hope the cakes taste okay.

I have to say that they came out looking beautiful–tall, elegant, and golden in their eight inch pans.  So step one of my trifle was a breeze, and I can’t wait to begin the rest, in which I’ll have to make pastry cream, whipped cream, and some simple syrup (but I think I might have some already made in my pantry . . . will have to check.)

I’ve been hard at work on my next book and often work into the night, but on those days when I finish early, I love going into the kitchen and baking something.  Even if it ends up with the neighbors or in the freezer.  (I’ve had to get strict about calorie counting again. Oh, well. Such is life.)

I hope you are doing well.  What have you been baking lately?



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