You may know Dominique Ansel as the creator of the Cronut®, but his true love is kouign amann, the famously buttery, flaky, multilayered caramelized sugar pastry from Breton. This master of baking technique, crowned the World’s Best Pastry Chef in 2017, revealed his professional secrets in his 2014 cookbook, The Secret Recipes. In his new book, Ansel keeps things simple. The recipes appeal to aspiring home bakers and are divided into Bases, Fillings, Finishes and Assembly. The idea is to learn principles rather than specific recipes, so you can mix, match, and get creative with your own combinations. The Bases chapter includes recipes for basic cakes, cookies, and tart shells. In Fillings, you find recipes for creamy additions such as pastry cream, lemon curd, chocolate ganache and soft caramel. While Finishes provides the frostings, glazes and other final touches, Assembly shows you how to put all the components together into specific desserts.
This approach provides bakers with building blocks that can be re-arranged in numerous different combinations, allowing you to get creative with your own desserts. It’s a clever way for a master pastry chef to impart his considerable knowledge of not only specific dessert combinations but also the principles behind them. If you want to see how the mind of brilliant pastry chef works–or just tinker with his recipes–it’s worth a look. Read more about this book here.