Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has been setting food trends at his world-famous Spago restaurants since they opened in the early 1980s. But when it comes to dessert, he wisely lets his pastry chef, Mary Bergin, stay with the classics (though admittedly she does them in ultrasophisticated ways). Here, as a follow-up to her Spago Desserts cookbook, Bergin's chocolate indulgences range from a decadently satiny Chocolate Cheesecake, and assorted brownies, to her complex Hazelnut Dome, a round of ethereal chocolate and hazelnut cake mounded with rich mousse, all concealed in a chocolate shell. Among the most memorable recipes here are the Heavenly Banana Soufflé Surprise and Peanut Butter Cups. Melted chocolate is the secret surprise at the heart of the classic soufflé. Thanks to the recipe-writing work of Judy Gethers, you will see that this unforgettable composition is really easy to make. The Peanut Butter Cups, balls of butter-silkened peanut butter set into chocolate-filled mini-cups, would make E.T. forget about going home.
Understanding time pressures faced by even devoted home cooks, Gethers tells how far ahead each of the nearly 100 extravaganzas in Spago Chocolate can be made. Right at the top of each recipe there is a list of all the equipment needed to help you get organized.
Alan Richardson's 26 color photos show that these desserts are impressive yet approachable. Most are simple enough for a confident cook to make, thanks to this book's user-friendly recipes. --Dana Jacobi
Chocolate is not just an inclination. It is a passion, a disposition of the soul. Here, collected for the first time, are recipes for the chocolate desserts people clamor for night after night at Spago--many so popular they can't be taken off the menu. Spago Chocolate is a passport to indulgence and a chance to bring a piece of the Spago magic home, with the prom-ise of recurring pleasure.
There are recipes for beginners, as easy as to-die-for chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate tiramisù, or dark chocolate cupcakes. Try Mary's spectacular chocolate truffle cake (it will have your guests in awe), a mouthwatering white chocolate soufflé with Grand Marnier sauce, or a chocolate-nougatine tart with apricot ice cream. Spago regulars will find their favorites, from the world's most sinfully seductive chocolate mousse to a showstopping meringue Napoleon.
With breathtaking photographs by Alan Richard-son, one of America's top food photographers, Spago Chocolate has been fully tested at home by Judy Gethers, who has shaped every Spago cookbook from The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook to Spago Desserts. Every recipe is broken down into simple basics, with unmistakably clear instructions and helpful tips.
Like Wolfgang Puck, Spago's charismatic chef and owner, pastry chef Mary Bergin has mastered the rare blend of classical teaching and dazzling, innovative spirit that has made the James Beard Award-winning Spagos among the best-loved restaurants in the world. Now you can make Mary Bergin's unforgettable chocolate desserts at home--just as they are prepared in the Spago kitchens.
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