Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cookbook Sunday: the Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

The Best Little From-Scratch Bakery in Texas

The pastry case in Rebecca Rather's bakery in Fredericksburg is packed with ultra-buttery scones, luscious cakes, cookies the size of saucers, brownies as big as bricks, and fruit pies that look as though they came straight out of Grandma's oven. Since the day Rebecca and her Rather Sweet Bakery and Café came to town, life in this Hill Country hamlet has been even sweeter and the townsfolk now know why she is the Pastry Queen. Everything she makes is a lot like her: down-home yet grand, and familiar yet one-of-a-kind.

A native Texan, Rather makes the most of her Lone Star state's varied traditions, whether looking to the kitchens of Texas's Mexican and German immigrants or to the cowboy culture of her own forebears. Best of all, her recipes aren't fussy—one of her best-selling cakes stirs together in a single saucepan. Add in a cupful of Texas attitude and her made-from-scratch-with-love philosophy, and you've got an irresistible taste of American baking.

What's best at Rather Sweet? Rebecca's customers all have their favorites (and she is happy to cater to their cravings), but here's just a taste of the perennial best sellers:

•  Apple-Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Scones
•  Texas Big Hairs Lemon-Lime Tarts (the only big hair Rebecca has ever had!)
•  Fourth of July Fried Pies
•  Peach Queen Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting
•  Turbo-Charged Brownies with Praline Topping
•  All-Sold-Out Chicken Pot Pies
•  Kolaches (pillowy yeasted buns with sweet or savory fillings)
•  PB&J Cookies

With over 125 surefire tested recipes and 100 photographs that richly capture small-town life in the Hill Country, The Pastry Queen offers a Texas-size serving of the royal splendor of Rebecca's baked goods—courtesy of the rather sweet gal behind the case.

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Ten Speed Press
I discovered this gem when it was released back in 2004 while on a vacation with my husband celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.  It was advertised in a magazine and I knew that it had to be part of my collection, it is rare that I will pay full pop for a new release but the cover just grabbed me, I mean look at that lemon-lime meringue tart!  (And yes that was the first thing I made when I finally got my hands on this book)

I have made many things from this book, Chock-Full-of-Nuts Cookies that disappear as fast as they are made.  The Chicken Pot Pies are a family favorite, though I usually turn them into turkey pot pie after the holidays. Texas Pecan Pie Bars, just like the state are huge.

The recipes themselves are easy to follow, though some have many parts to them that make them look looking then they are, but well worth the effort.  It you are watching your caloric intact well them maybe you might want to pass on this cookbook, it is too much of a temptation having the baked goods in the house and not nibbling (and I speak from personal experience).

I can't share any recipes from this cookbook but here is a link to her Red Velvet Cupcake recipe from The Pastry Queen Christmas (which I have yet to explore)

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