Pastry! pastry! pastry!

It started a couple of weeks ago, when the third book on French pastry in two weeks arrived in the mail.  What’s up with that?  I wondered.  Was it a conspiracy?  Some kind of vast plot by the butter export lobby?

 There was Pastry by legendary Richard Bertinet, and The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer and baking veteran Martha Rose Shulman.   There’s Murielle Vallette’s Pâtisserie, and François Payard’s Desserts, which may not sound like it’s about pâtisserie, but really is.

My question isn’t really “Who is making all this pastry?”, since there will always be someone with the required patience, concentration, dexterity, and cool hands for the work.  What I’m wondering is why all these books, and why now?

Could a new generation of home pastry-makers be taking shape?  The young people are all busy trying to find jobs.  Those who already make pastry also already have plenty of pastry books.  It doesn’t make sense. I wonder if the sudden spate of pastry books is source-driven rather than demand-driven.  

In other words, perhaps a generation of pastry professionals is getting to the age where they have a whole lot of knowledge they want to pass on, and the time to set it down on paper.  Publishers can’t resist them, and hope they’ll capitalize on the expanding holiday-shopper eatership of pastry, even though the readership of pastry-makers isn’t expanding. What do you think?  Maybe?

Anyway, if that’s the case, keep your eye out on the resale markets 8, 9 months from now. Chances are, there will be a flood of nice-looking, practically-new pastry books available for a song.

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  • Jane  on  October 18, 2013

    Since only two of the mentioned books are from the UK, this cannot be the sole reason for the influx, but the BBC TV show The Great British Bake-Off has created a huge rise in interest in baking there. The contestants tackle complex French pastries as well as every other kind of baking and I'm sure many viewers are attempting baking tasks they never would have taken on before watching the show. For our US members who have only seen the recent spin-off The Great American Baking Competition, the UK original is far more entertaining (I'm currently in the UK so have finally been able to watch the show and it is addictive).

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