As Executive Pastry Chef at the White House for twenty-five years, Roland Mesnier has been responsible for creating thousands of elegant, delicious confections and dazzling desserts for hundreds of state dinners and family occasions. An accomplished teacher as well as a master chef, he now shares his expertise with home cooks in Dessert University, which features more than 300 spectacular recipes.
This beautifully illustrated volume is a complete course in making the full spectrum of spectacular sweets—from breakfast pastries, cookies, and pies to fresh-fruit desserts, frozen confections, and cakes. Recipes in each chapter are organized from the simplest to the most complex, and Chef Mesnier walks you through each step, pointing out common mistakes and offering insights on technique gained from his years as a professional. Most of these recipes need few special ingredients and almost no fancy equipment; nearly everything can be purchased at a well-stocked supermarket, department store, or kitchen supply store. Chef Mesnier includes tips on techniques, ingredients, and serving suggestions, and offers home cooks practical advice, such as how to fill and use a pastry bag and the best way to whip egg whites.
Mesnier starts off with his fresh-fruit desserts, including uniquely wonderful recipes such as Bananas in Raspberry Cream, Blueberry Fool, and Poached Peaches with Chestnut Mousse. He moves on to creamy custards, puddings, soufflés, mousses and Bavarians, ice creams, meringues, crêpes, and breakfast treats (including buttery brioche and croissant doughs). Chef Mesnier's cookie and bar recipes will fill your cookie jar with such treats as Chocolate Chip Cookies, Almond Crescents, Orange Butter Cookies, Brownies, and Florentine Squares. There are sweet and savory tarts, and cakes ranging from the simple (Lemon Pound Cake) to the unusual (Peanut Butter and Jelly Roulade Cake) to the sophisticated (Chocolate Champagne Mousse Cake).
More than fifty black-and-white line drawings throughout illustrate Chef Mesnier's instructions for the more complicated recipes. Whether you're a novice who has never picked up a rolling pin or an accomplished cook looking to hone and enhance your skills, this is truly a book you cannot do without.
Roland Mesnier is the former Executive Pastry Chef of the White House. He developed the first professional pastry program in the Washington, D.C., area, at L'Académie de Cuisine, in Bethesda, Maryland. He is also the honorary president of the World Cup of Pastry, and every year L'Académie de Cuisine awards a scholarship in his name. He lives in Virginia.
"Roland Mesnier's desserts were some of the finest pleasures we enjoyed in the White House. This perfectly delicious collection of his favorite recipes is a wonderful resource for bringing into your home the talent of one of the best chefs in the world. I look forward to trying them myself."
– Rosalynn Carter
"We had a lovely eight years at the White House and left with many fond memories. At the top of that list has to be Roland Mesnier, the pastry chef. At the state dinners I couldn't wait for the dessert to be served because it was always something beautiful -- and tasty. Christmas was another special time because Roland would always make a gingerbread house and decorate it differently. One year he made a chimney of jellybeans, and the walk leading up to the house was lined with jellybeans on either side. All for my husband, of course!"
– Nancy Reagan
"Roland is truly a great pastry chef -- every dessert he created was a delicious work of beauty. He use his special gifts to serve his country in such a way that made George and me so proud to be Americans at state dinners. If there is such a thing as a 'genius pastry chef,' Roland Mesier is it!"
– Barbara Bush
"What is so wonderful about Roland Mesnier is that his fantastic pastry and confections always look beautiful and taste divine. During our White House years together, he could work his magic for a small family gathering or a dinner for six hundred. Everything he ever prepared was made with love and an unfaltering dedication to the art of pastry making and the highest standards of his profession. In short, he is the best there is!"
– Hillary Rodham Clinton
"What does Roland Mesnier make with seven pounds of chocolate, six pounds of butter, and lots of imagination? Pure perfection! That is what President Bush thinks of his seven-layer chocolate birthday cake, which Roland makes every year. Knowing how much George loves baseball, Roland decorated one cake with baseballs and bats made of blown sugar. You could even see the wood grain in the bats. From birthdays to state dinners, Roland makes every event memorable with his whimsical desserts. His creations are a reflection of him -- creative, original, and sweet as can be."