If, like James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Joanne Chang, you believe in “bringing joy to people through pastry,” you’ll want to check out Chang’s fifth and most personal cookbook yet — “Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes.”
Chang, chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery + Cafe with nine locations in the Boston area, writes that she’s run her bakery “for almost two decades with the sole purpose of making life sweeter for our guests. ‘Pastry Love’ extends that intention to cookbook lovers who wish to bake someone happy.”
The book’s name comes from the term Chang coined after opening the second location of her bakery. When she had only one location, she’d “fluff up” the pastry counter every hour, rearranging the pastries “so they looked beautiful and loved.” After she opened a second location, she couldn’t be in two places at once so she started teaching the staffs how to pretty up the displays and give the pastry counter some love.
“The phrase has since become an explanation of who I am and how I connect with the world,” she writes. “Pastry is love. … Every time you bake for someone or share a recipe, you are sharing a part of yourself.”
The cookbook includes recipes Chang has developed since her first baking book, “Flour,” came out, such as Mushroom and Thyme Brioche, and those she created after traveling to Tokyo and Thailand. She’s also updated some of her classic recipes. And, she’s added confections and candies like Vanilla Mint Marshmallows and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Buttercrunch to her repertoire.
Chapters are arranged by pastry type, beginning with What’s for Breakfast and ending with master recipes for such things as ganache, lemon curd and puff pastry dough. Within each chapter, Chang begins with the easiest recipes and moves to the more challenging.
Recipes perfect for the holidays include Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingerbread People, Cranberry-Pecan Bread and the French-style king cake Galette des Rois. Or try one of her gluten-free recipes like Chocolate-Caramel Oreos.
The book is filled with beautiful full-color photographs of completed treats, along with some that provide step-by-step technique instructions such as how to fold Alina’s Milk Bread, a Japanese-style bread, and how to pipe Peppermint Kisses.
“Pastry Love” provides plenty of inspiration and advice for both beginning bakers and the more experienced baker and would make a lovely gift.