Pastry foods make up most of what we all loved as little children. As we grew older, the pastry love never died for a good number of us, but for others, it went into an indefinite break, only to come back to life when the skills are long forgotten. If this sounds relatable, you must have wanted to bake your favorites but had no solid instructions to learn from. However, with the best pastry cookbooks, things take a different turn for good.
To get the best from a pastry cookbook, you must evaluate it closely before buying–but how will an absolute beginner consider one cookbook when there are possibly hundreds of them in the market already? It’s not a simple job, and that’s why I am sharing the seven best pastry cookbooks, from my experience with them, alongside a buying guide.
Top 3 Pastry Cookbooks From Amazon Bestseller list
There are two kinds of pastry cookbooks: the ones that are just okay and the ones that are truly great. These pastry cookbooks were listed on Amazon’s bestseller list for their number of sales, reviews, and overall quality. The following list presents seven of these books.
Why Do You Need a Pastry Cookbook?
You already know any cookbook brings together recipes, step-by-step instructions, and information on preparing and presenting/serving various foods. Pastry cookbooks are no different.
Pastry dishes are more delicate than you realize. It takes more care presenting even the simplest but most beautiful-looking tarts, and without the knowledge of what to do when and with what, you would end up with a mess. A pastry cookbook transforms you from a novice who only admires cookies into an expert who loves creating them.
You will earn to do things faster, save on money and effort, and enjoy the baking experience when you use a cookbook as a reference. It takes out the guessing or watching someone do it, hoping you can replicate the same later on.
How to Buy The Best Pastry Cookbook
As mentioned above, there are so many cookbooks that choosing the most suitable ones is a task by itself. But don’t put much thought into that, for I have the most important considerations you should make to choose the perfect one for you.
Clarity of recipes
Any cookbook has many recipes, but not all cookbooks are as clear and concise as others. When buying a recipe book, it’s only safe to acknowledge those whose recipes are foolproof, and a beginner can easily follow through with them without stumbling. It should list all the ingredients, tools, and steps involved in making the dish. Luckily, the cookbooks in this review are all precise and to the point.
Type of recipes
The type of recipes is also as important because while some may be purely pastry recipes, others throw in a twist of dishes you can enjoy alongside your baked goodies.
Number of recipes
Depending on what you want to use the cookbook for, you might need several recipes or just a few. Beginners will mostly appreciate a couple of popular recipes, while home cooks looking to venture into bake sales will want as many recipes as there can be. In this case, a clear intention can help you narrow down to what you want easily.
You might be wondering how you can possibly decide the quality of a book except by buying and reading it. First, I have done the homework for you. This review comprises seven high-quality pastry cookbooks. One thing to look at is the book’s author and whether the book has been endorsed by any professional chef or cook.
The 7 best pastry cookbooks reviews
Do you know that there are many pastry cookbooks available in the market? In this article, we will talk about the 7 best pastry cookbooks and why they are popular among bakers.
1. French Pastry Made Simple: Foolproof Recipes for Éclairs, Tarts, Macarons and More by Molly Wilkinson
This is an approachable cookbook and one that breathes life into your inner pastry cooking desires. See those French favorites? You could be making yours too from this no-fuss guide. Experience the authentic vibe of Patisserie with a copy of the French Pastry Made Simple.
Molly took her training at Le Cordon Bleu, equipping her with the proper knowledge of French pastry cooking. She transforms the complicated techniques into simple recipes to open up the pastry cooking world to even the wannabe bakers. The book French Pastry Made Simple teaches you how to cut out the trips to the shop to have more time to enjoy your homemade creations.
This book is your sure ticket to baking the best of French pastries from iconic French treats like the decadent chocolate ganache and the half-an-hour puff pastry. The citrus curds will not disappoint if you are a beginner– it’s nothing but a fail-safe recipe. On decorations, you’ll most likely imagine yourself as an expert when going through those eclairs and cream puff decoration guides or when mixing in madeleines trays.
Are you a fan of the French classics? If your skills do not entirely support that, French Pastry Made Simple instructs you on how to make Classic Mille-Feuilles and The Frenchman’s Chocolate Mousse, as well as unique ones like Profiteroles.
Next time your friends visit, surprise them with Caramel Mousse Tartelettes with Ginger and Poached Pears without showing any bit of effort. I’m sure they’ll be impressed.
What we like:
- Includes French classics
- Has a guide on sourcing ingredients
- Simple and concise instructions
- Beautiful pictorial illustrations
- Fairly priced
- Available in spiral-bound, paperback, and Kindle versions
2. Pastry for Beginners Cookbook: Step-by-Step Recipes for Sweet and Savory Treats by Sharon Glascoe
In the mood for some gorgeous buttery pastries? But do you have the necessary skills for that? Don’t worry, all you need is guidance from a reliable cookbook by a trustworthy author. So, if you have been trying to expand your skillset to include baking, Pastry for Beginners Cookbook is your companion.
Pastry for Beginners Cookbook features step-by-step procedures for making the perfect pastries. From ingenious tips for making dough to things like how to knead soft yeasted breads, making bind baking dough and piping a light choux pastry,Pastry for Beginners Cookbook has got you covered! Learn also on laminating airy puff pastry, recipes for those flaky and savory pastries,
The book is organized into three major sections. First, there’s the Knead-to-know section. It covers the terminology around pastry cooking, ingredients and equipment needed for the most efficient cooking, and tips for properly preparing dough for your specific recipes.
Dough, not ‘doh’is another section, mainly highlighting and detailing the recipes. You’ll also find valuable tips around here on how to go about any pastry challenge or problem.
Lastly is the Pastry perfected section, covering many other pastry-related recipes. Here, you learn about preparing eclairs, tarts, and turnovers, among many other mouthwatering recipes.
Want to uncover the mysteries of pastry? Try Pastry for Beginners Cookbook to turn your life around the art of pastry dishes.
What we like:
- Beginner-friendly recipes
- Illustrative photographs accompanying every recipe
- Explains important pastry terminology
- Includes recipes for other dishes like tarts and eclairs
- Available in Kindle and paperback formats
3. Little Tarts: 1 X Pastry Recipe + 60 X Fillings by MeikeSchaling
I’m sureyou love those tarts and obviously admire them as you take some home. But have you thought of making your own sweet treats at home? If not, or if perhaps you want to perfect the skill, it’s about time you looked into Little Tarts.
MeikeSchaling, a celebrated European pastry chef, is not usually an instructor, but when she decides to coach, he does so like no one else. In her book, she’ll equip you with the skills to produce those colored and beautiful tarts, all from a single core recipe, and irrespective of how rudimentary your pastry skills are.
At a glance, there’s a whole chapter on making the perfect tart dough and fillings. Your tarts will certainly come out clean and delightful if you can get the foundation right. You’ll also learn what you need to do to perfect the layer and how to make delicious toppings.
Whether you love apples, pineapples, pears, or rhubarb, there are instructions on how you can infuse these fruits’ texture and sweetness into your delicious creation.To give your home creations the best they can possibly have, Meike includes at least 15 different ganache and chocolate fillings to give your home creations the best they can possibly have.
Explore the chocolate toppings as well, and exclaim how exceptional your homemade tarts can be.
What we like:
- Authored by a celebrity pastry chef
- Foolproof instructions
- Includes instructions for tart dough and other tart accompaniments
- Lists and details 60+ different tart fillings
- Fairly priced
4. Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites by Elisabeth M.Prueitt and Chad Roberson
Do you have a pastry chef friend? And don’t you think gifting them with something to take their skills higher would mean more than just a gift to them? If this sounds like you, ordering Tartine: A Classic Revisited should be on your bucket list. It makes the perfect resourceful cookbook for baking, pastry dishes, and desserts.
Tartine: A Classic Revisited emerged as the winner in the 2020 IACP Awards, as the best Cookbook, Food Photography, and Styling. Possessing other titles like “Best Cookbooks of Fall 2019” by the New York Times and “Amazing New Cookbooks that also look delicious on your shelf” by House Beautiful, you can never go wrong with this purchase.
As a winner under photography and styling, you need no more proof that this is a beginner’s favorite. The beautifully illustrated and photographed dishes in the book make you want to try them out as soon as you get home. This is no different for home and professional bakers.
Including 50 new recipes, alongside the reader’s most requested –the Morning Bun, the original Tartine: A Classic Revisited is revamped for a modern vibe while retaining the classic theme. You’ll find variations like whole-grain and gluten-free amongst the recipes, as well as new techniques and ingredients already in use elsewhere across the globe.
Gift yourself with a copy of Tartine: A Classic Revisited today, and let your pastry take a different but delightful turn.
What we like:
- Several notable awards won
- Beautiful photography accompanying the recipes
- Employs an inspirational approach
- Authored by world-class master chefs
- Available in Kindle and hardcover versions
5.Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes by Joanne Chang
We love baking, especially in the Fall, but if you are not vigilant enough, you’ll find yourself repeating the same old recipe every year. So, how do you break this monotony? By getting a good and comprehensive cookbook, like the Pastry Love.
Authored by the icon and award-winning baker Joanne Chang, expect nothing but awesomeness from the cookbook. If you are looking for tried and proven recipes, rest assured that Joanne Chang has tried these recipes successfully in her eight bakeries around Boston.
The cookbook is also ideal if you look forward to going beyond the contemporary conventions around baking and pastry. For example, there are 125 dessert recipes whose inspiration comes from the inability to serve such food in a bakery setting.
Some intriguing recipes you’ll find include simple ones like Lemon Sugar Cookies, Strawberry Slab Pie, Malted Chocolate Cake, and Mocha Chip Cookies. As you progress, you won’t resist the temptation to explore the complicated ones like the Passion Fruit Crepe Cake, for you’ll have all the skills in your hands.
Apart from the recipes, this 464-page book includes lessons around other aspects of pastry, including but not limited to making pastry cream, puff pastry, and lemon curd, among others. If you are a beginner, there’s no better way to learn comprehensively before wandering into the pastry-baking world.
What we like:
- Organized into various sections
- Includes recipes for other meal parts like desserts
- Has master lessons and tips for pastry-related tasks like making lemon curd
- Authored by a successful baker-cum-entrepreneur
- Available in both soft and hard copies
- Good value for money
6. The Art of French Pastry: A Cookbook by Jacquy Pfeiffer and Martha Rose Shulman
This cookbook has been around for a while. It emerged top in the James Beard Award of 2014 as the Best Cookbook, Dessert & Baking through this period. So, how did this all happen? Value. That’s all it took.
First, you’ll learn what it takes to make the perfect eclair. Then, you’ll proceed to macarons, croissants, and other pastry dishes. If this sounds simple, let me remind you that the author is also the founder of French Pastry School based in Chicago, so this is a whole curriculum in 432 pages!
Pfeiffer takes you through pastry fundamentals, delivering exact and insightful instructions for making dishes like pâte à choux and pastry creams. There’s nothing to expect but success at pastry cooking with the basics laid out so well. You learn how different ingredients combine to make the pastry, highlighting the science behind it and the actions needed to transform them into the end product.
As you study the cookbook, some recipes will catch your eye, while others might seem daunting at first. Either way, brioche, beignets, cream puffs, palmiers, black forest cake, napoleons, and lemon cream tart with meringue teardrops are some of the best and most beginner-friendly.
Pastry has a long history, and if you want to do it like the ancients, you’ll be delighted by some traditional Alsatian treats like Tarte Fkambee, Pretzels, Warm Alsatian Meat Pie, and Kougelhof.
Pfeiffer covers pastry precision, as well as it should be, given how important it is for a successful pastry-making session. From the required equipment, charts illustrating the behavior of the different ingredients subjected to various conditions, ingredient amounts in grams, and a conversion chart, to cooking times, The Art of French Pastry is genuinely a masterpiece.
What we like:
- Charming narrations on the history of pastry tradition
- It’s a global award-winning cookbook
- Explains the science behind every ingredient’s behavior
- Lists, equipment, and ingredients required for every recipe
- Available in soft and hard copies
- Excellent value for money
7. Le Cordon Bleu Pastry School: 101 Step-by-Step Recipes by Le Cordon Bleu
From the school’s founder, this cookbook, named after the school, is the best takeaway course you can possibly have from Le Cordon. Judging by the school’s size and reputation (the most prominent hospitality training school present in five continents and with 20+ schools), it’s easy to tell that beginners and professionals reap big from the cookbook.
You’ll find over 100 illustrated recipes in the cookbook, accompanied by more photographs than you could believe. No other cookbook presents 100 recipes with 1400 images– that’s like 14 images per recipe on average. Added to the step-by-step instructions, it becomes the foolproof way of learning to perfect desserts, pastries, and cakes. Both plated desserts and individual cakes, tarts, pies, and festive desserts are all included. Prefer biscuits and cupcakes? Or would you rather have candies and delicacies? These are all detailed, followed by a closing word on the basics of pastry.
Some notable classic recipes you’ll find include apple strudel, profiteroles, black forest gateau, carrot cake, and strawberry cakes. You can also entertain your family with simpler ones like Tart Tatin, molten chocolate cake, hot souffle with vanilla, and candied fruit cake. There is a wide selection for lovers of original desserts, ranging from pistachio crystalline, yuzu with white chocolate, cream cheese, cherry velvet, and chocolate marshmallow and violet tartlet.
The cookbook concludes with a list of the ingredients versus utensils required in baking, alongside a glossary to demystify some culinary jargon around baking. So long as you are a pastry lover, this book will undoubtedly be a hit for you. Think of it as the bible in the Le Cordon Bleu schools.
What we like:
- It’s used in Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School
- Contains recipes authored by specialists who teach in Le Cordon schools
- Very illustrative
- Easy to follow through for beginners and experts
- Includes the basics of pastry, such as required utensils for every recipe
- Includes a glossary to explain important culinary terms
You are now in a better position to decide which cookbooks work best for you, but if you prefer one that takes you through everything, like a course, Le Cordon Bleu Pastry School would be ideal. This is not only a cookbook but a reference for a whole institution. If you are more inclined toward a simpler and more affordable cookbook, any of the other six in this review can do, but try to look for what you really want from that cookbook.
Jennifer D. Simon has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Read More