Patisserie Maison by Richard Bertinet

We’ll miss the Great British Bake Off now that Nancy has been crowned queen of puddings, but we have already found solace in the fantastic new book by master baker Richard Bertinet. Bertinet, who trained in Brittany, runs a renowned cookery school in Bath, which he set up in 2005, and where he teaches full time. (The Richard Bertinet Kitchen cookery school – do go for a masterclass if you can – we’ve done one with him and he is an inspired teacher). Bertinet is also an excellent cook book writer. We love all his books, which don’t just give you recipes but actually teach you, step by step, to bake (see Dough, Crust and Pastry) and cook (Cook). Bertinet’s instructions and recipes are precise, illustrated with helpful photographs, and they really and truly work.

We love his latest book, Patisserie Maison, because it’s a book we so don’t need – finally anyone who aspires to eating and living well should learn how to knock up pastry and a loaf of bread, but you really can live without mastering macarons, a chocolate liegeois or a tart tropezienne…and yet. And yet, we will relish using this book more than most because it offers the most fun (as well as serious techniques), especially as the nights draw in and there is more time to master things like choux pastry, a genoise sponge, creme patisserie and chocolate ‘pencils.’ Yes, all the fancy tricks you’ve seen in ‘Bake Off’ over the last ten weeks: they are all in here and loads more besides. Make no mistake: the puddings, cakes, mousses, tarts and treats in Patisserie Maison take lots of time to make (Bertinet is not interested in perfectionism but he is all about doing things well rather than offering short-cuts), but that’s what you sign up for when you make patisserie at home, and that’s the point. That and the applause you get, which you will get because if you follow Bertinet’s instructions, your bake will work. We know because we’ve already baked his Bûche de Noël (as you do in early October) and blackcurrant mousse (photographic evidence below). And then of course you get to eat it all.

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