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Sharing Gifts of Food for Christmas, by the Book : 1988's Holiday Volumes Address Topics From Cookies to Environmental Toxins

December 22, 1988|MINNIE BERNARDINO

Patisserie of Italy by Jeni Wright (McGraw-Hill Book Co.: $17.95, 128 pp.)

The companion volume to "Patisserie of Vienna," this book explores every region of Italy, providing sweet samples of pastry goods found in pasticcerias.

"Originality and individuality are the keynotes in Italian patisserie," cookery writer and cookbook editor Jeni Wright writes. ". . .the beauty of Italian pastry-making is that one is allowed total freedom of expression."

The unique collection ranges from sweet raised breads, cakes and tarts to cookies and sweetmeats. The author has skillfully adapted the original recipes of La Fornaia, an Italian bakery in London that supplies 35 varieties of breads and an enormous selection of authentic pastries to shops, restaurants and trade customers throughout England.

The first recipe given is the Milanese Christmas Fruit Bread or Panettone, which very few Italians make at home. Like many specialties for which authentic recipes are difficult to find, the reason is, the author writes, commercial varieties are so good. One of the best attractions of the cookbook is the colorful presentations of the pastries, particularly the alluring fresh fruit tarts. Highlighted by magnificent dramatic lighting, the 34 photographs simulate still-life art.

Like its other volume, the book provides is an initial chapter on baking guide and a final chapter on Basic Recipes such as for crusts and pastry dough, puff pastry, apricot glaze, pastry cream and chocolate rose leaves.

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