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Nov 27, 2007 12:54 AM

La Varenne Pratique - Anne Willan

I'm looking for feedback on La Varenne Pratique. The reviews on Amazon are glowing and it seems like it would be a wonderful addition to my library. I'd appreciate any information you can provide regarding ease of use and hit or misses that you've discovered. In addition. I've just purchased Cooking by James Peterson and I'm concerned that both books may not be necessary. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I don't have Cooking, but I love La Varenne Pratique. It's like being in the kitchen with Anne. She's so thorough and so understandable!

    I recommend it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      I'm going to work through Cooking for now. However, La Varenne will be my next feat. Thanks for your feedback.

      1. re: ChefJune

        I also love La Varenne Pratique. It has loads of good info on stuff like cuts of meat and all kinds of cooking and prep. The photos are also very good and there are loads of them.

      2. Is this a new edition, or the one from 1989? Mine dates from around then. It's a good reference, though I haven't used it recently. It doesn't have as many recipes as similar size books, but there are several that I've repeated a number of times. It is also very good for technique. It is also good on ingredients.

        For example it has a pearl onion compote that goes well around Thanksgiving, and Rosemary-lemon sorbet. I see the a flap in my book marks the raspberry sorbet recipe as well.

        When ever someone asks about a flourless cake, I think of a chocolate walnut cake recipe in this book, an incredibly rich mixture of ground walnuts, chocolate and eggs. I should make it again for Christmas using the bar of unsweetened chocolate that I just bought at Trader Joes.

        I have an older book called 'The Cook Book' by T & C Conran (also published by Crown) that is also good (maybe better) on ingredients. One page has pictures of 16 different cups of tea, and little piles of the leaves, so you get an idea of its color!


        3 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          Hi, this seems quite an old thread, but I hope you can help me.
          I own a translated version of Anne Willan's Complete guide to cookery where I got a recipe for a flourless chocolate walnut cake from. I'm affraid some details got lost in the translatios and that the recipe I got in this book is not complete. It calls for 250g walnuts, 220 bittersweet chocolate, 250 butter, 4 eggs. For garnishing: sugar and cacao.
          I tried this recipe todat, but it is a complete desaster: the instruction is about beating butter with sugar but there is no sugar on the ingredients list. So I improvised and added 250g sugar after reading that in many cakes the amount of sugar is the same as the amount of butter.
          It didn't quite work, while baking I saw the butter dripping from the springform....

          Please could you provide me with the right ingredients that are needed for this recipe.

          1. re: PKUZMAN

            The VP Chocolate walnut cake ingredients are:
            250g walnut pieces (ground with the chocolate)
            220g unsweetened chocolate
            250g unsalted butter
            200g sugar
            4 eggs separated

            grind the walnuts and chocolate
            cream the butter with 2/3 of the sugar , add the yolks (1by1), then the chocolate mixture
            whip the whites the 1/3 of the sugar - fold into the chocolate mixture (in 3 steps)

            bake at 300F 45-55 minutes

            So you used somewhat more sugar than this recipe calls for. But I don't know why that would cause a problem. It's been some time since I made it, but my recollection is that the result is quite rich and dense (and crumbly). The recipe says the texture depends on how coarse or fine you grind the walnuts.

            1. re: paulj

              Thanks a lot for your answer.
              I think my walnuts were too coarse, so the butter didn't have enough surface to bind.