Dessert Advisor has searched high and low to bring you our top 10 list of dessert books designed to help you celebrate World Book Day, a day created by UNESCO way back in 1995 to encourage reading, publishing, and copyright. Whether you’re thinking of adding to your kitchen book artillery or you’re just looking for a gift to give to a lucky friend, we’re here to give you the rundown.
In no particular order, we present:
SUQAR: DESSERTS & SWEETS FROM THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST (2018) by Greg and Lucy Malouf
The most recent James Beard Award winner in the Baking & Dessert category, this book provides over 100 Middle Eastern-inspired recipes, which include puddings, pastries, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and sweet dessert drinks. Inspired by Greg Malouf’s Lebanese-Australian childhood, the Michelin star awarded chef has teamed up with his wife and travel-writing partner, Lucy, to produce a thoughtful collaboration which joins just some of their other literary children, Saraban, Arabesque, and Saha: A Chef’s Journey Through Lebanon and Syria.
THE BAKING BIBLE (2014) by Rose Levy Beranbaum
This book garners praise left, right, and centre. On pretty much any top anything list for dessert books, you can’t go wrong. This book delivers new recipes from the American baker renowned for her meticulous attention to detail ranging from gingersnaps to chocolate hazelnut mousse tart to traditional Kouign Amann. First publishing The Cake Bible in 1988, other well-respected books in Rose’s repertoire include The Pie and Pastry Bible, and Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.
TARTINE (2006) by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson
Pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt, and master baker Chad Robertson join forces to create a classic collection of easy to follow recipes inspired by their popular San Francisco bakery, Tartine. Some of the recipes included in this book are brioche, eclairs, lemons bars, and chocolate friands. Another publication from Prueitt is her Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook.
PARCOURS SUCRÉ (2019) by Patrice Demers
We couldn’t go past this gem by a local, Patrice Demers, of Patrice Pâtisserie. Considered the best pastry chef in Montréal, his most recent book is a series of profiles of those who have influenced him throughout his journey, as well as associated recipes. Only available in French, this book tips its hat to familiar Montréal names such as Claude Beausoleil, James MacGuire, and chef Marc-André Jetté. Other titles from Demers include Les desserts de Patrice, and La carte des desserts.
BAKING: FROM MY HOME TO YOURS (2013) by Dorie Greenspan
Put simply, Dorie Greenspan is an all-time favourite food writer. She makes you want to wear a scarf. With over 30 years of food writing experience and having collaborated with the likes of Pierre Hermé and Daniel Boulud, this lady is a force to be reckoned with. Dessert columnist for The New York Times Magazine, Greenspan has won the Cookbook of the Year Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals not once, but twice. And did we mention she has five James Beard Awards? With some sort of midas touch, a person can’t go wrong with any book she puts her name to. Two additional dessert books recommendations include Dorie’s Cookies and Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.
SIMPLE CAKE: ALL YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN CAKE (2019) by Odette Williams
This book is recommended by quite a few sources as being in any top 10 list. Noted as having easy to mix-and-match recipes, it’s made up of 10 uncomplicated base recipes, which are accompanied by 15 topping variations. This doesn’t include the flexible decoration suggestions! The possibilities are endless, and the idea, ingenious. But that shouldn’t come as any surprise to the apron and bakeware designer. This is the first book by Odette Williams.
MAIDA HEATTER’S BOOK OF GREAT DESSERTS (2013) By Maida Heatter
It was hard to select just one book from the oeuvre of food writer, Maida Heatter. Affectionately known as The Queen of Desserts, this one is her most famous book and provides almost 300 fool-proof recipes including The Queen Mother’s Cake, Raspberry-Strawberry Bavarian, and Walnut Fudge Pie a la Mode. Other publications include Happiness is Baking, Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, and Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.
BRAVETART: ICONIC AMERICAN DESSERTS (2017) By Stella Parks
As if the title of senior editor at Serious Eats wasn’t enough, Stella Parks published this book and no doubt ordered new business cards. This book saw her collect a slew of acknowledgements including a James Beard Award, and recognition for Best Baking Book of the Year by the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Bon Appétit, the New York Times, the Washington Post… Full of classic American desserts and backstories of the dessert histories, no wonder it’s a recommended addition to any kitchen library. Hopefully with more to come, this is the first cookbook by Stella Parks.
PASTRIES (2012) By Pierre Hermé
This dessert book holds 100 recipes that show off Hermé’s mastery of technique, not to mention his internationally recognized gift for combining textures and flavors. One of the most inventive pastry chefs and chocolatiers around, this collection also includes the history of a number of iconic desserts. Other titles from Hermé include Pierre Hermé: Chocolate, Pierre Hermé Macarons: The Ultimate Recipes from the Master Pâtissier, and My Best: Pierre Hermé.
GRAND LIVRE DE CUISINE: ALAIN DUCASSE’S DESSERTS AND PASTRIES (2002) By Alain Ducasse
Certainly the most expensive book on our top ten list, you may want to just borrow this one from your local library. Volume II in the Grand Livre de Cuisine series, this book lists 250 recipes for desserts, pastries, candy, and other sweets – accompanied by 650 photographs! Some of these show the complex internal architecture normally hidden within the sweet desserts. Ranging from mousses to nougats, this work even includes a recipe for tropical fruit stuffed ravioli. Two additional publications include Ducasse Flavors of France, and Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Culinary Encyclopedia.
It was hard to narrow the list down with plenty of scrumptious contenders, but hopefully you can appreciate our eclectic top 10 list of dessert books as we acknowledge World Book Day.