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Tuesday 1 October 2013

Book Review: Perfecting Patisserie by Dr Tim Kinnaird

If you're a fan of Masterchef, you'll remember Perfecting Patisserie author Tim Kinnaird as Children's Doctor Tim from the 2010 series (because paediatrician is too big a word for early evening telly). Look, here he is in the middle, looking slightly anxious in the final:

Aww. I loved Children's Doctor Tim, so I'm delighted that he didn't let John and Greg crush his dreams. He's gone on to become a full-time chef specialising in patisserie and confectionery, and runs Macarons and More in Norwich.

Perfecting Patisserie is, as the name suggests, not for the newbie baker. If you've tried our macarons, eclairs, and crème pâtissière but want to become more confident and creative, this is the book for you. Tim takes you by the hand and shows you how to make your own gâteaux, génoise sponges, dacquoise, bûche cake, and other beautifully photographed creations I'd never heard of. And there's a kindly chapter at the end of each section called 'what went wrong?' that explains why your macarons cracked or your ganache split, and how to fix it.

Patisserie will never be my forte - I prefer semi-improvised baking to worrying about ageing egg whites or sugar thermometers or the right sorts of moulds. But if you've worked your way through our Baking for Beginners recipes and are ready for a new challenge, then invest in this book. Tim writes with obvious love and enthusiasm for pastries and cakes, with instructions so detailed you'll feel you can't possibly go wrong. Not everything requires special equipment or ingredients - you've probably got everything you need for tuiles or arlette biscuits at home right now - but you'll get the most out of this book if you're prepared to invest some time, effort and a little bit of money on equipment that will last years.

In summary: buy this book if you've got a sugar thermometer and you're not afraid to use it. Don't bother if you're quite happy just occasionally making slightly lumpen biscuits to present to friends.

Perfecting Patisserie is out on 3 October and costs £14.99.

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