Josh Hyrkas, May 23, 2008 (view all comments by Josh Hyrkas)
The illustrations were fun. The entire book (including the recipes and illustrations both) were very creative and layed out very well. The few recipes I've tried were wonderful! The main issue I have with this book though, is the beautiful ways the food is displayed in the pictures. Very creative but no home cook in their right mind would be able to recreate that look.
All in all, a very good book though and you must read her stories throughout the book!
sweet foodie, January 10, 2008 (view all comments by sweet foodie)
An inspiring, creative pastry book with a few concerns
I was skeptical of this book due to the feedback I have read of patrons at the author's eateries, especially Citizen Cake. Lots of reports of the cakes being dry and lacking good flavor combination. In addition, the slightly inflated ego she has shown sometimes on a couple of Food Network Challenges annoyed me.
However, I was won over by the utterly fun and creative the book looked and the simple fact that many cook and pastry books have recipes that do not always work, but inspire good creativity and change in your own baking, which I really like. So after I purchased the book I was immediately consumed with checking out each recipe because of the gorgeous photos, cartoon drawings and surprising flavor combinations. There is also a strong modern, minimalist look to how the desserts are presented in the photos, which is inspiring and beautiful, though sometimes a little too deconstructed, resulting in a bland,dis-passionate look -the rosebud recipe for example.
I found many of the recipes were great and produced good desserts. Some being the Lemania Cupcakes- a nice balance of tart citrus and sweet sugar and Real McCoy Ice Cream Sandwich - mint gelato with dark chocolate sauce, fudgy cookies and mint-basil oil. The basil giving a unique palate taste to mint and chocolate and the texture of the cookies is surprising and playful. The recipes can be a bit long and labor intensive, but that is to be expected. Working thru the recipes was fun and trying the unique combinations was even better.
My big problem is with the texture of many of the recipes. Some of the cakes were dry, and did not have a very fine crumb. Some of flavor combinations ended up competing with the other rather than going well together and enhancing one another. For instance, in the Lovelova recipe, the safrron was too savory an item to go with the cream, meringue, rose water and strawberries in the recipe, but the cardamon in the recipe did go well.
However, if you are looking for a very inspiring, creative, sometimes silly and pleasurable to read pastry book to I cannot recommend this enough. I would much rather read a book where ideas and limits are pushed and stretched with some results not working rather than stick to just plain jane recipes.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
0 stars -
Ten Speed Press -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"San Francisco chef Falkner, a former art school student, thinks of dessert as an art form. For those who don't want to wait over an hour at her famed Hayes Valley restaurant/bakery Citizen Cake for her unique 'dessert landscapes' and stunning parfaits, Falkner has penned home-kitchen versions of her edible masterpieces. Before diving into balsamic-apple reduction, eggless lemon curd and Concord grape tapioca, Falkner primes readers on ingredients and equipment. Though most recipes include 'minimalist versions,' this book is most geared toward seasoned bakers who won't quail at suggested time lines starting a month in advance or five-page instructions for Tiramisushi — cocoa roulade sponge cake with marsala mascarpone filling and mocha-rum dipping sauce, to be consumed via biscotti chopsticks. Amateurs may prefer to spend time at the back of the book with the somewhat more manageable recipes for cupcakes and drinks. Color photographs and anime-style drawings help capture the magic of Falkner's desserts, extravagant and emblematic of her commitment to 'balance and restraint.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Random House,
Over the past ten years, Elizabeth Falkner has transformed her bakery from a tiny space in San Francisco's Mission district to the country's ultimate dessert destination.
In Demolition Desserts, Elizabeth presents her favorite creations, from the cookies, brownies, and cupcakes beloved by Citizen Cake regulars to the plated desserts that have made her one of the most dynamic culinary talents of her generation.
Elizabeth begins with a chapter devoted to chocolate chip cookies, building from a straight-up version to the more-is-more Chocolate Chip Mania. Provocatively titled compositions like A Chocolate Tart Named Desire, S'More A Palooza, and Gingerbread Bauhaus capture Elizabeth at the top of her art, breaking down classic desserts and reconstructing them flavor by flavor. Elizabeth has adapted even her most elaborate desserts for the home kitchen, and each dessert is equipped with a detailed make-ahead timeline and a minimalist version for those pressed for time.
Stunning color photographs illustrate every main recipe in the book, and manga-style animation--starring Elizabeth's pastry-obsessed alter ego, Caremi--empower home cooks to go forth boldly and bake.
In this debut collection of 65 signature dessert recipes, star pastry chef Falkner, owner of Citizen Cake, Citizen Cupcake, and Orson in San Francisco, breaks down classic desserts and reconstructs them flavor by flavor, with stunning results. Full color.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.