For years, food editors and writers have kept CookWise right by their computers. Now that spot they've been holding for BakeWise can be filled.
With her years of experience from big-pot cooking for 140 teenage boys and her classic French culinary training to her work as a research biochemist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Shirley Corriher manages to put two and two together in unique and exciting ways. She describes useful techniques, such as brushing puff pastry with ice water—not just brushing off the flour—making the puff pastry easier to roll. The result? Higher, lighter, and flakier pastry. And you won't find these recipes anywhere else, not even on the Internet. She can help you make moist cakes; flaky pie crusts; shrink-proof perfect meringues that won't leak but still cut like a dream; big, crisp cream puffs; amazing French pastries; light génoise; and crusty, incredibly flavorful, open-textured French breads, such as baguettes and fougasses.
BakeWise does not have just a single source of knowledge; Shirley loves reading the works of chefs and other good cooks and shares their information with you, too. She applies not only her expertise but that of the many artisans she admires, such as famous French pastry chefs Gaston Lenôtre and Chef Roland Mesnier, the White House executive pastry chef for twenty-five years; Bruce Healy, author of Mastering the Art of French Pastry; and Bonnie Wagner, Shirley's daughter-in-law's mother. Shirley also retrieves "lost arts" from experts of the past such as Monroe Boston Strause, the pie master of 1930s America. For one dish, she may give you techniques from three or four different chefs plus her own touch of science—“better baking through chemistry.” She adds facts about the right temperature, the right mixing speed, and the right mixing time for the absolutely most stable egg foam, so you can create a light-as-air génoise every time.
About Shirley O. Corriher
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Published October 22, 2008