A La Mère De Famille by Julien Merceron
The angle: Relive your childhood — real or fictional — through candy.
Recipes for right now: Morello Cherry Financiers, Rose Marshmallows, Hazelnut Caramels, Honey Sweets Mango-Passion Fruit Pâte de Fruits, Milk Jam, Almond Croquants, Chocolate-Pistachio Cookies, Almond Macarons
Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who has ever walked into a candy store and wanted all the things.
• Who wrote it: Julien Merceron
• Who published it: Chronicle
• Number of recipes: 95
• Other highlights: A La Mère De Famille feels about as close to stepping into an old-fashioned candy store as a cookbook can get. The pages are tinted orange at the edges, like old-fashioned gilding. The styling of the recipes on the pages feel like the menu board somewhere with creaking wooden floors and cash register that dings! every time it opens. And of course the photos of all the brightly colored, sparkling, gooey, chocolate-covered confections just complete the fantasy. I love it.
The recipes in this book cover the whole gamut of old-timey treats — not just caramels and truffles, but also small tea cakes, cookies, lollipops, brittles, fruit gums, and even ice cream. Illustrated step-by-step instructions are given along with some of the more complicated recipes, like making marshmallows and hollow chocolate eggs. Even so, I have a sneaking suspicion that some of these recipes might be trickier to pull off than the simply-written recipes imply. This shouldn’t deter you in the least, however — if you have an adventurous spirit and love tackling new cooking projects, you’ll be fine.
My one wish for this book is that the recipes includes some kind of description or brief history of the confection being talked about. While most of these goodies are familiar to anyone with a sweet tooth, there are a good number that are so old-school or so French-specific that I, for one, had no idea what they were. But I want to! You can piece some of it together by the ingredient list and the photo — like amants (a kind of cake?), berlingots (stripy hard candies?), and calissons (almond-orange paste candies?) — but more descriptions would help me engage more with the recipes and also feel more confident heading into the kitchen.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: A La Mère De Famille by Julien Merceron
• Visit the author’s website: Julien Merceron
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