By Shirley O. Corriher
Great day in the morning, "BakeWise" is out, the book that everyone has been waiting for. Sure enough, Shirley did not hold back ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ__ÌÎÌ_Ì´åÇÌÎå«Ì´å it's all here. Lively and fascinating, "BakeWise" reads like a mystery novel as we follow sleuth Shirley while she solves everything from why cakes and muffins can be dry to gÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´Ìà_noise deflation and why the cookie crumbles.
With her years of experience from big-pot cooking for 140 teenage boys and her classic French culinary training to her work as a research biochemist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Shirley manages to put two and two together in unique and exciting ways. Some information is straight out of Shirley's wildly connecting brain cells. She describes useful techniques, such as brushing puff pastry with ice water ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ__ÌÎÌ_Ì´åÇÌÎå«Ì´å not just brushing off the flour ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ__ÌÎÌ_Ì´åÇÌÎå«Ì´å making the puff pastry easier to roll. The result? Higher, lighter and flakier pastry. You won't find these recipes anywhere else, not even on the Internet. She can help you make moist cakes; flaky pie crusts; shrink-proof perfect meringues that won't leak but still cut like a dream; big, crisp cream puffs; amazing French pastries; light gÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´Ìà_noise; and crusty, incredibly flavorful, open-textured French breads, such as baguettes and fougasses.
"BakeWise" does not have just a single source of knowledge; Shirley loves reading the works of chefs and other good cooks and shares their information with you, too. She applies not only her expertise but that of the many artisans she admires, such as famous French pastry chefs Gaston LenÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´ÌàÌÎÌ_Ì´åÇÌÎå«ÌÎÌ¦tre and Chef Roland Mesnier, the White House executive pastry chef for 25 years; Bruce Healy, author of "Mastering the Art of French Pastry"; and Bonnie Wagner, Shirley's daughter-in-law's mother. Shirley also retrieves "lost arts" from experts of the past such as Monroe Boston Strause, the pie master of 1930s America. For one dish, she may give you techniques from three or four different chefs plus her own touch of science: "better baking through chemistry." She adds facts about the right temperature, the right mixing speed and the right mixing time for the absolutely most stable egg foam, so you can create a light-as-air gÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´Ìà_noise every time.
"BakeWise" is for everyone. Some will read it for the adventure of problem-solving with Shirley. Beginners can cook from it and know exactly what they are doing and why. Experienced bakers find out why the techniques they use work and also uncover amazing French pastries out of the past, such as Pont Neuf (a creation of puff pastry, pÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´ÌàÌÎÌ_ÌÎ__te ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´ÌàÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«_ choux and pastry cream in honor of the Paris bridge) and Religieuses, adorable "little nuns" made of puff pastry filled with a satiny chocolate pastry cream and drizzled with mocha icing to form a nun's habit.
Some will want it simply for the recipes ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ__ÌÎÌ_Ì´åÇÌÎå«Ì´å incredibly moist whipped cream pound cake made with heavy cream whipped slightly beyond the soft-peak stage and folded into the batter; flourless fruit soufflÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´Ìà_s (purÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´Ìà_ed fruit and Italian meringue); Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, rolled first in granulated sugar and then in confectioners' sugar for a crunchy black-and-snow-white surface with a gooey, fudgy center. And Shirley's popovers are huge!
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