If classic, homestyle pastries and baked goods are your kind of thing, then The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe is definitely going to be up your alley. The cookbook is full of recipes from the popular Texas bakery that are classic recipes with a twist – and that twist usually takes them from ordinary to over the top, like the Texas Big Hairs Lemon-Lime Meringue Tarts that are absolutely piled with billowy, soft meringue.
The cookbook starts out with breakfast pastries, scones and muffins, then moves onto desserts from there. Cobblers, crisps, cakes, pies and tarts are all included, as well as chapters on more savory dishes that could easily fit into an everyday menu – in case you want to break up all that sweetness with a salad or some cornbread – and special occasion cakes that you’ll want to devote some extra time to on holidays and birthdays. All of the recipes sound delicious, especially those that have cute names, like the Big Hair Tarts or Larger Than Life Praline cheesecakes, because they make them sound that much more appealing. Many of the twists that the recipes use involve adding new flavors or ingredients to a familiar recipe, giving a carrot cake a tropical twist or adding citrus zest or spices to recipes where you wouldn’t usually expect to find them. It keeps the recipes fresh and fun to make. Of course, the photos of the finished dishes help motivate you to get started in the kitchen, as well.
The recipes are clearly written and have great instructions that will guide you through from start to finish, so even the recipes that seem to involve many components, like some of the “special occasion” desserts. There are also many suggestions for variations that accompany the recipes, so if you get tired of the standard (unlikely, but possible) recipe you’ll be able to play with the flavors of the dishes.