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Jul 7, 2010 11:11 PM

Stars Desserts cookbook

I finally found a copy of this cookbook and after skimming through it, I'm curious what's so special about it? This cookbook by Emily Lucetti was out of print, but was still so popular that they ended up reprinting some of it in another cookbook. Before that, you'd have to pay ridiculous amounts for an elusive copy.

With other collectible out of print cookbooks, I can usually pick up why they still remain popular after they went out of print. With Fleming's desserts book, she was influential in her field and a lot of pastry chefs trained under her.

But, with this book, I'm kind of stumped. To me, the desserts don't look that inspiring. They kind of seem like desserts you could find in other cookbooks. And, the recipes, as they were written, seemed like there were potential pitfalls.

If anybody has the cookbook or loves it, I'm curious what was so special about it that it was still remembered fondly instead of fading off oblivion? Any specific desserts in it that were top notch that might change my mind?

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  1. I don't know about the rest of the cookbook, but I love her lemon squares.

    2 Replies
    1. re: toveggiegirl

      Now, I haven't made any of the desserts in the book. And, I did like the photograph of the lemon squares in the book.

      But, when I saw she didn't use lemon zest in her recipe, I guess I didn't take it that seriously. I just assumed there should be a better lemon bar recipe out there, one that would have used lemon zest.

      The link you used is the same recipe in the Stars book, but in some ways better because its more thorough than the version in Stars. Are the recipes in the book fool proof, where if you follow them to the letter, they should work out? Sometimes, the instructions in Stars were kinda slight where I wondered if they had been thoroughly tested like a Rose Levy Beranbaum book.

      1. re: hobbess

        I remember baking many of the recipes back in the day - the lemon bars were a fave, the meringue stars... and the ginger cookies became my signature cookie. I should dust off the cookbook and leaf through its pages again.
        As for ease and fool-proof recipes - my friend's 10-year old son baked his way page by page and delighted us with his efforts. You think the baking directions are too slight? He's grown now, college grad, and has a job! I wonder what he bakes now.

    2. A lot happened in pastry in the ten years that transpired between Stars Desserts and The Last Course. I think you need to place this book in context to understand its greatness. I think Cocolat came first, but it was highly unusual to see that kind of photography in a dessert book. On top of that, the recipes mixed components, which allowed you to see things in a more creative way. I don't know how the flavors hold up, but at the time this book was amazing. If you have a collection, compare it to other books of the same era.

      2 Replies
      1. re: maxie

        I agree - it was a breakthrough for its time. I made the meringue stars (from an excerpt) many years ago, and they were terrific. Nowadays, everyone makes them, but back then it was quite novel.

        1. re: Claudette

          Which ones are the meringue stars? Are you talking about the chocolate meringue cookies on page 202? Or, are you talking about the Stareos on page 201?