The long awaited Bouchon Bakery cookbook is out, and it does not disappoint. Written by Thomas Keller and his acclaimed executive pastry chef Sebastien Rouxel, this 400-page book is big and beautiful, with lots of color photos of luscious baked goods and the two chefs, in relaxed settings, working their magic. This image is in sharp contrast to the precise formality of Keller's kitchens.
When I was lucky enough to take a tour of the $9,000,000 Per Se kitchen a few years ago, I almost felt like I was in a church or a library; you could hear a pin drop, the staff working efficiently and quietly without the banter that I was accustomed to during my days in professional kitchens. The place was also so spotless you could
eat off the floor (though that would probably be frowned upon). But back to the book: Bouchon Bakery is full of Keller’s personal anecdotes and memories. He recalls, for example, “I first made cake at my mother’s side. It was a Duncan Hines cake mix, but the frosting was homemade. Just to be with my mother in the kitchen
was special, since she worked long hours to support us. I loved licking the beaters to get every bit of frosting. Those moments were precious.” The book is divided into chapter on Cookies, Scones & Muffins, Cakes, Tarts, Pâte à Choux, Brioche & Donuts, Puff Pastry & Croissants, Breads, and Confections. There are lots of recipes I
want to make, but I started with a seasonal one, jumbo Pumpkin Muffins. They were moist, tender and very flavorful, filled with an ultra-creamy and not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting. Just right for a grande snack, Bouchon-style. I heartily recommend the muffins, and this wonderful new book, which is already a best-seller.