Bill Yosses: The Perfect Finish

Some cookbooks are dangerous because reading them makes you hunger and lust for the tasty things they describe.

Bill YossesThe Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion (Norton 2010), written with Melissa Clark, is one such cookbook:

Coming across new dish that widely exceeds expectations is thrilling, and the source doesn’t matter; home-cooking, ethnic restaurant, neighborhood joint, organic, biodynamic, or molecular gastronomic, we have all had that thought, that, “I just have to get that recipe.” (p.xi)

That’s a tough measure, but, by and large, the recipes in this book meet that standard.

Bill has also filled the pages with information on the thoughts behind the recipe, how to serve it best, and how to handle the trickier parts. He is not overly pedantic, but he does consider that his readers are intelligent and need only a modest amount of hand holding.

The book is divided into chapters according to mood and one’s daily life, so the chapters have names like Come for Brunch, Pick-Me-Ups, and Straight from the Oven, which includes cobblers, tarts and puddings that are best eaten hot. The recipes in I’ll Bring Dessert are especially interesting, since they are made to be portable and impress. The Grand Old-Fashioned Blueberry Jelly Roll (Roulade) (p. 115) is both stunningly simple and impressive.

Bill notes that the key is adding extra eggs and egg yolks to the batter to make it subtle so that it resists cracking when you roll it. There are step-by-step photographs by Marcus Nilsson on p. 117 as well as a handsome portrait of the finished cake. The Chololate-Caramel Tart with Sea Salt (p. 137) is a glamorous chocolate lovers dessert, while the Lemon Tart Brulee is perfect for a hotter evening when you want something lighter and yet elegant to finish off a meal. Both are the kind of desserts that would impress as a gift.

Bill Yosses has had an illustrious career working with such chefs as Daniel Boulud, , and David Bouley and is currently the executive pastry chef at the White House.

He’s had ample time to find and hone special recipes that make this collection in The Perfect Finish so attractive. The only problem you’ll have is deciding what to make.

(Image of Bill Yosses from Obama Foodorama)

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