It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve written a book review, but now that the bar exam is over and I don’t have 10-15 hour study days, I’M BACK! So without further adieu, I’m breaking my study hiatus with something (so french) and so sweet!
Actually, that’s pretty much what this next title is called – So French So Sweet by Gabriel Gaté. If this author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote a review on one of his other cookbooks, Délicieux, last September (check it out here).
So French So Sweet by Gabriel Gaté is a French cookbook, but unlike Délicieux, which is more of an inclusive guide to the intricacies of French cooking, this one is more petite in breadth and exclusively all about desserts! At just shy of 200 pages, this tiny tome is packed full of 100+ recipes guaranteed to please every sweet tooth. Whether you’re more of a cake and tart person, or err on the fluffier side of things with mousse and ice cream, you’re bound to find a new favorite in So French So Sweet.
Gaté is a classically-trained chef who was born and raised in France. After working at several French Michelin-rated restaurants, Gaté and his wife, Angie, moved to Australia. Twenty-four cookbooks later, Gaté now shares his “love letter to pâtisserie” (French baking)…and what a love letter it is. Originally published in 2012 as 100 Best Cakes & Desserts, this book is back and better than ever! It’s organized in quite a straight-forward fashion: Cakes, Tarts & Pies, Crèmes & Mousses, Fruits, Sorbets & Ice Creams, and Hot Desserts.
Something I learned while cooking with So French So Sweet is that all “cups” and “tea/tablespoons” are not created equal. Measurements can differ by country, so the best way to avoid inconsistencies in how your dessert turns out, I’d HIGHLY recommend investing in a digital scale to measure ingredient weight. (I really like this one because it has a detachable bowl, is easy to store, and has very accurate measurements).
It makes the world of difference to have accurate measurements. The first round of recipe tests I did for this book review was with regular measuring cups, and the sugar ratio wasn’t right. I tried all of them again with this scale and the more accurate measurements definitely made the recipe come out much better!
I’ve included three recipe tests with this review, but to be honest, I wanted to do ten more! Here are a few of ones I have earmarked to try now that I have much more free time to play in the kitchen:
Cakes: Orange & Passionfruit Cupcakes, Raspberry Choux Puffs, and Caramel Paris Brest with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream.
Tarts & Pies: Apple and Calvados Pie
Crèmes & Mousses: Creamy Coffee Custards and Mandarin Mousse with Blackcurrant Coulis
Fruits: Mixed Berries with Kirsch in Tulip Baskets
Sorbets & Ice Creams: Strawberry Vacherin with Mango and Raspberries and Plombières Ice Cream Cake
Hot Desserts: Nectarine Gratin and Waffles
APPLE CAKE (p. 38)
I was in an apple mood when I was recipe testing for this book (hence back to back apple recipes). This first cake is fairly simple to put together, but I think the simplicity coupled with the fact that it’s not too sweet makes it a perfect dessert for a gathering. My favorite part about this cake is the apricot jam brushed over the top and the golden raisins inside. Both flavors are unexpected in a traditional “apple” dessert, but they definitely make this dish stand apart from other ones I’ve made.
PROTIP: To get to wavy edges along the bottom of the cake, I used a pan that had the scalloped shape. You can always use a regular cake pan to get it without this pattern.
FRENCH APPLE TARTLETS (p. 60)
The apple theme continues with these cuties! Gaté says that this dessert “brings back beautiful memories of (his) youth, cooking with (his) mum and grandmother at home.” Like the apple cake, these tarts are fairly simple to make. I used raspberry, instead of apricot, jam to mix up this recipe. I really like how this one has the crunch of the pastry below with the softness of the baked apples on top. This would be a really easy dessert to make for kids (with or without the jam on top); start-to-finish it takes about thirty minutes and only has five ingredients!
FLAMED BANANAS WITH RUM (p. 160)
This dish reminds me of one of my favorite desserts, Bananas Foster. I think the only difference between the two is the Foster version has brown sugar (instead of white), cinnamon, and banana liqueur. This is an easy dessert to serve to adults and kids alike, because who doesn’t like bananas and ice cream? My only suggestion would be to hold off on the booze for the little ones, because the aftertaste, even cooked off, is still a bit alcohol-forward. This might be the most simple recipe I tried from So French So Sweet, but it hit the spot and is definitely something I’ll be making again!
PROTIP: Be careful when adding the rum to the pan…it can catch fire without much effort and burn the entire dish (I learned the hard way).
Overall, this is a really beautiful cookbook. The photographs are stunning and the recipe variety is more than conventional cookies and cakes. Not only are the recipes easy to understand and make (with most being under ten ingredients), but it’s also fairly easy to substitute ingredients for allergies and intolerances (e.g. almond or soy milk for dairy milk).
I think this would be a really thoughtful gift for new couples (great for all those upcoming bridal showers and weddings). Lately I’ve been a fan of making gift baskets for friends; I think this would pair perfectly with some ingredients for a recipe or two, plus some cute ramekins or serveware. Tag @2LWithIt on Instagram if you end up doing something like this!
My only quibble about the book is that on the cover page for each section of desserts, there’s a list of the recipes that are included, but there aren’t accompanying page numbers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because then you have to thumb through all of the other scrumptious recipes on the way to the one you’re looking for, but it’s something I’ve appreciated in other cookbooks, so it’s worth a mention.
I received this book complimentary on behalf of the publisher, but all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. All photography featured in this post is my own unless noted otherwise; please seek permission before copying or reproducing the images.
Purchase this title — So French So Sweet: Delectable Cakes, Tarts, Cremes and Desserts
Book Stats: So French So Sweet by Gabriel Gaté
Page Count- 191
Binding- Hardcover with color photography