Ladurée: Sucré: The Recipes
by Phillipe Andrieu, Kerrin Rousset
Publisher: Scriptum Editions, Country: UK
ISBN: 9781902686714, Year: 2010
Link to publisher’s page or site
This review is the personal opinion of the reviewer.

Overview

Ladurée: Sucré is a highly-anticipated collection of more than 100 of the famous patisserie’s desserts under the leadership of Phillipe Andrieu. The variety of recipes ranges from several simple, classic pastries to a few complex signature entremets. The size and format of the book unfortunately limit the content and depth of instruction which might interest more hardcore pastry chefs, but fans of Ladurée and pastry in general will appreciate this first volume from one of the most renowned establishments in Paris.

Full review

Structure of the book

Ladurée: Sucré has 105 recipes in 11 sections and 385 pages:
Macarons (4 recipes: almond, chocolate, lemon, and raspberry),
Small Cakes (9 widely varying recipes including a savarin, a barquette, and small variants of choux pastry and puff pastry desserts),
Frozen and Fruit Desserts (13 recipes of sorbets, ice creams, sundaes, and fruit salads)
Tarts and Tartlets (9 recipes),
Custards. Crèmes and Puddings (10 recipes, including verrines),
Large Cakes (8 classic and signature cakes and charlottes),
Pastries/Viennoiseries (12 recipes),
Tea Cakes and Confections (12 recipes for cakes, clafoutis, flan, truffles, marshmallows, and caramels),
Biscuits and Cookies (8 recipes),
Drinks (4 recipes),
and Basic Recipes (16 recipes, including doughs, creams, and sauces).
The book is surprisingly small for its subject matter, measuring only about 7 inches (18cm) square and presented in its own box with tissue paper wrapping similar to any treat you’d purchase from the famed patisserie, almost ready for gift-giving. The English edition has recipes written in both US customary (volume) and metric (weight) measurements.

About the author

Philippe Andrieu is the current head pastry chef at Ladurée. He started studying the culinary arts at École Hôteliére in Souillac at the age of 15 and later received a degree in pastry. He then worked in Michelin-starred restaurants including that of Georges Blanc and Michel Bras at Laguiole. After working in Uruguay and France for 3 years, he opened two pastry shops in Korea, then in Hong Kong and Cairo before finally settling down in Paris in his current position.

Main Review

Why release a book of Ladurée’s recipes? People who are even aware of what patisseries are know that this question doesn’t need to be asked. After years of the occasional inclusion of its recipes in a few books on French patisseries, Ladurée’s time has come to release its very own book of recipes. Perhaps the better question to ask is, why now? In the past few years, thanks to the ascending prominence of food writers and the blurring of the lines between food writing and travel writing, patisseries have come into the spotlight. Ladurée holds a particularly revered position among dessert-lovers and the opportunity to recreate their sweets at home (and not just gawk at them, as was the case with the previously only published book eponymously titled Ladurée in English-speaking countries) is an opportunity that has been long-anticipated.

Unfortunately, perhaps the house has waited too long to reveal their secrets. It’s been years since one of its former head chefs, Pierre Hermé, released his first cookbook at the helm of his own pastry empire, and decades since one of its co-patriarchs in patisserie, Lênotre, has released a book on basic French pastry with a few signature desserts. Does Ladurée: Sucré have anything new to offer pastry aficionados?

The answer is, sadly, little. It’s not as though that will discourage those with even a little interest in French pastry from getting this book. Ladurée: Sucré is, taken on its own merits, quite a nice book to have. It’s very identifiably “Ladurée”, with many recipes emphasizing pure fruit flavors (a feature for which I am very thankful), and plenty of room for more skilled bakers to improvise. The hardest pieces are obviously the signature cakes, which have a wide range in the number and difficulty of components (such as the Intensément Chocolat: chocolate macaron, dark chocolate sponge cake, cocoa syrup, dark chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, and dark chocolate glaze; and Harmonie: pistachio macaron, piastachio mousseline cream, and fresh red berries). The book itself is, for lack of a better word, “cute” and wouldn’t take up much real estate on a baker’s shelf, but for some people this might be interpreted as a betrayal of Ladurée’s position in the echelon of French pastry. Given the book’s packaging one might infer that it’s meant to be a gift/souvenir from Ladurée. For those who see beyond its cuteness and seriously bake from it, it is one that keeps on giving.

Fans of the patisserie might be disappointed to learn that the newer offerings of Ladurée are not included, such as the variations of St. Honoré, Religieuses, and the highly sophisticated cupcakes, not to mention signature classics not attributable to Andrieu, such as the Ispahan. There’s only so much ground one can cover in 385 pages but it seems as though the journey’s already ended just when it was starting to get good. It’s not as though we need another recipe for chocolate éclairs, but it’s still interesting to find out (almost) exactly how Ladurée accomplishes its basic offerings. After all, for even the most jaded pastry-lover there is still the simple joy of biting into a perfect éclair or Crème Renversée au Caramel (not to mention see how they make their own Cannelés Bordelais).

It doesn’t mean, however, that the book offers the necessary guidance to move from the basics to the stunners covered in the same volume. Because of the book’s size, there’s very little in-depth instruction and no diagrams. The directions are straightforward and need a basic-to-intermediate understanding of pastry techniques. Frustratingly, there are some recipes that call for ingredients like white (pouring) fondant and all yeast-containing recipes use only fresh yeast, which might be limiting for some people with few resources.

Who might enjoy/use this book most?

No matter what I say about the book, if you like French pastry, you will probably get a copy of Ladurée: Sucré. You will probably even enjoy having it in your collection and baking from it. It just feels like a prelude to a bigger, more fantastic volume in the future.

This is an original review for The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf.
Main rating: 3. Recommended – some flaws
Visual appeal: Attractive
Suitability as a gift: Likely to be strongly appreciated
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Rating: 3.6/5 (8 votes cast)
Ladurée: Sucré, Phillipe Andrieu | 2010 | UK, 3.6 out of 5 based on 8 ratings

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One Comment

  1. Anne Louise Meaney
    Posted 28 Mar 2012 at 00:45 | Permalink

    I was so enthralled to view Phillippe Andrieu on Lux.tv – the profiteroles look exquisite….attention to detail…I’m salivating…
    Kind regards

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