The Holiday Kosher Baker, by Paula Shoyer. Cookbook Review
Posted on 15th of October, 2013 by Lévana
My copy of Paula’s gorgeous new cookbook arrived a couple days ago. All I can say is, thank Goodness that admiring pictures of her fabulous desserts and reading about them is somehow not enough to get you in trouble. You’d have to, you know, eat them!
Reading Paula’s bio, I thought to myself, what a waste of talent it would have been if she had practiced what she trained for: Law. Instead, she chose to explore and practice an entirely different set of laws: The mysterious laws of baking and confectionery, which she works tirelessly on making them look easy and accessible to the reader. Her new dessert cookbook is a faithful emanation of her: generous, straightforward, wholesome, sensible, eclectic, playful and delicious in all seasons. Paula makes it easy to buy the book for literally every occasion, as there is no Jewish occasion, from Shabbos to Passover, she has not thought of representing. Oh gosh, how will you complain again about being so limited about Passover desserts? 45 fabulous Passover treats, from Key Lime Pie to Macarons to Chocolate Pistachio Pie and much more: Sounds good to me! Oh I almost forgot, nougat glacé: Dare I go there?
Paula’s love for her craft is evident throughout the book, but I did get a kick out of coming across one particular picture of her, cheering jubilantly in front of her Raspberry and Rose Macaron Cake. Quite a mouthful, so to speak. I can totally relate to her feeling of triumph at contemplating her stunning creation, baking being more of an exact science than cooking.
I receive many cookbooks for review, not all of them created equal, and I just know which one will get me hooked. Picture this: Pumpkin Donuts; Churros (the Spanish answer to donuts we used to get when school let out in a cafe near our school, downing them with potfuls of mint tea); Salted Caramel Banana Tarte Tatin, Florentine Bars, and so much more. The Florentine Bars are on the book cover and look…. ridiculous, to use the latest hip word for delicious. The recipes are thoroughly Kosher yes, but not-too-Jewish, in a good way: All traditional favorites are in, plus many more from around the world you might not always be exposed to; why wait till you go to Paris to have that Pithiviers, or to Italy to have that Pizza Ebraica? It’s all in, and then some, at your reach.
All recipes are extensively and clearly explained, chock-full of beautiful pictures, personal comments and helpful hints. You will also find many illustrations of technical steps for more intricate recipes, like Pithiviers, Apple and Honey Challah Rolls. Paula makes you look like a pro, without any fuss or gimmicks!
Good luck to Paula as she spreads the good word about her fabulous desserts. You might like to know she gives Baking Demos, and kicked off her demo tours with Honk Kong, no less. What next?