Monday, November 19, 2007

Cookbook Review 4 - "Baking With Julia"

We are rapidly approaching the Holiday Season. And with that thought, I start planning all the goodies that I want to adorn my table. Problem is - I am not a baker! Therefore, when a holiday does approach, I pull out my trusty baking companion, Julia. Everyone who cooks knows Julia Child. I have many of her books, but my favorite one that has many bookmarks and stains, is “Baking With Julia”. I picked up this book after tuning into her PBS TV series that aired back in the mid 1990’s. This book and her series is a gathering of 27 chefs of enormous talent which, one by one, visit Julia in her kitchen and prepare some of their specialties. I enjoy this book as it has very explicit instructions of each recipe and beautiful photos of work-in-progress and finished product. I need all the help I can get when baking and this is the perfect book!

After a nice introductory section, Baking With Julia starts with a chapter on “Baking Basics” which is great information from almond paste, baking pans, to the zest of citrus fruits. Following that is one on “Batters and Dough’s” which goes over many “how to’s” on making flaky pie dough, puff pastry, and many other basic batters and dough’s that will be used throughout the book.
Now let the baking begin with:
Daily Loaves
Artisanal Breads
Morning Pastries And Quick Breads
Everyday Delights
Cakes For Occasions
A Glorious Wedding Cake
Homey Pies And Tarts
Grand Pastries
Savory Pastries
Sweet Fillings And Savory Spreads
The ending chapters are on the bakers themselves, sources and the index.

One of my favorite recipes from Baking With Julia is the one for Galette. I have used the Galette Dough two different ways in the past, one for a Berry Galette using fresh berries and one for a more savory Galette using fresh plum tomatoes, Monterey Jack cheese, Mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. But the other day I had fresh pears and a big bunch of grapes on hand and thought, WOW, this would make a lovely Galette.

I served my Pear and Grape Galette with freshly made whip cream that I only added a touch of sugar and vanilla. I did not want to overpower the sweet taste of the fruit in the galette, but add a cool smooth texture along with the textures of the crust and fruit. What a happy party in my mouth!

The wine I would serve with my Pear and Grape Galette would be a nicely chilled Riesling from Germany or Washington State. The sweetness of the fruit in the galette would pair nicely with the sweetness of the wine.

Just an ending note – I highly recommend Baking With Julia for a no stress baking experience during your Holiday baking time. She is well worth picking up in your library or local bookstore. Not only is the book “user friendly”, I totally enjoyed the section that introduced us to all 27 chefs that collaborated on this wonderful series.
As Julia would say “Bon Appetit”, or Deb says…


Figs Olives Wine said...

That really is such a good book. Lovely galettes! Especially yours. I think I'll have one this week too - it's been a while. Thanks for the inspiration!

Bellini Valli said...

Riesling would be the perfect pairing with the pear gallette Deb. I made an apple galette not that long ago which was good as well.I think any combination of fruits would be excellent!!!

Jann said...

Your galette turned out beautiful! I love to make these,just finding the fruit when it is at its best is a problem...the wine is a perfect choice.........

Lucy said...

Well, I could do with a fail-proof baking book Deb, that is for sure. A fellow non-baker over here!

That galette looks heavenly - maybe you could make a savoury one with pears, blue chese and walnuts...okay, the ideas are flowing now. I could make one with mangoes and raspberries...yum. Great, fun review!

winedeb said...

Sure Amanda! So easy to fix!

Hi Valli, you are so right. Any type of fruit would be excellent!

Hi Jann, I use whatever is in season!

Yum Lucy, great ideas that you just put into my head also!

Anonymous said...

Your grape and pear galette sounds wonderful, Deb. BTW, I used a merlot in my granita. I am also going to post a pom/merlot reduction soon. Thanks for always leaving such nice comments for me :)

Aimée said...

I love the rustic look of your galette-it looks so tasty! This must be a fantastic cookbook-everyone needs a good bakers companion.

Gloria said...

Only yesterday Debs I was reading about Julia Child, is amazing the a lot of recipes that she had and so nice read about her life.
I would like buy some book of her. Really nice post how ever. Debs.

winedeb said...

Hi Mary Ann, looking forward to the recipe for your reduction!

Hi Aimee, yes, Julia was quite a gal and I enjoy her books!

Hi Gloria, as I was just telling Aimee, I really enjoy her books and if you can get ahold of her autobiography, it is a great read.

Jen said...

Oooh - that galette looks scrumptious! I made an apple one last week, so now I'm in the swing of it, I'll have to try this one out.

Looks like a good book to add to the Christmas list!

Betty C. said...

Very nice photo to go with the review, BTW.