Cookbook Profile

Simply Sensational Desserts

By François Payard

Simply Sensational Desserts  
"All my life, I have had a passion for pastry. Like any great love in one's life, the feeling is unmistakable but hard to define. It touches the emotions and the intellect. It is part craft, part science, and part show business. It involves the alchemist's dexterity with chocolate, the scientist's control of temperature, leavening, crystallization, the showman's love of applause, that is, the appreciation of your customers. There's the almost childlike delight in handling a dough, and the adult satisfaction in mastering it."
     —François Payard, author

Sharing his passion for pastry and understanding the home baker's need for simplicity François Payard showcases recipes that anyone can make with ease in his new book Simply Sensational Desserts. The pastries are perfect for afternoon tea parties, birthday parties holidays, and elegant desserts after a dinner party.

From cookies and cakes, to tarts and fruit soups, François impresses with the diversity of flavors and textures and with recipes that are remarkably fast, taking less than one hour to create. The home baker can dazzle, tantalize and impress with desserts ranging from Chocolate-Coconut Cake, to the savory-sweet Mediterranean Swiss Chard Tart, and François' famous Hedgehog Cake, a decadent combination of chocolate, hazelnut and cream.

Maximum flavor with minimal effort is what François believes. "Every one of these recipes can be easily made in your kitchen, with ingredients found in most supermarkets and with equipment you already have." Simply Sensational Desserts brims with inspiring descriptions and jargon-free, step-by-step instructions. So instead of telling people what bakery your dessert is from, wow them with your newfound talents.


About the Author

François Payard is a third generation French Pastry Chef born in Nice on July 16, 1966. François cultivated his passion for the art of pastry as a child in his grandfather's renowned shop, Au Nid des Friandises on the Riviera. He grew up surrounded by the delicious classic French pasty in the tradition carried on by his parents and grandparents for over fifty years.

After honing his skills in classic pastry by his family's side, François moved to Paris where he learned the artistry and refinement of transforming traditional desserts into exquisite plated presentations whose taste, texture, and originality opened new horizons in his career. His dedication and passion earned him positions in several of France's finest kitchens. In 1988 Payard held his first position as Pastry Chef in Paris at La Tour d' Argent. The following year he went on to become Pastry Chef in the kitchen of Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton. In these renowned restaurants he met the challenge of creating dessert menus worthy of a three star Michelin rating.

François' desire to travel and discover a new culture brought him to New York in 1990. Here he was eager to experiment with new ideas, flavors, and techniques that he felt would be welcomed in the capital of cosmopolitan tastes. His first position in New York as Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin, challenged him to create a new dessert repertoire and made him renowned for his beautifully presented creations, bursting with delicate flavors and taste. In 1993 François Payard joined Chef Daniel Boulud for the opening of Restaurant Daniel where he delighted guests with his chocolate and seasonal fruit menus. In 1995 The James Beard Association named François "Pastry Chef of the Year" in recognition of his accent on flavor combined with a unique sense of pastry design.

In August of 1997 François' childhood dream of opening his own pâtisserie became a reality. His first book, Simply Sensational Desserts: 140 Classics for the Home Baker, was published by Broadway Books September 1999.

Buy the Book!


Simply Sensational Desserts
140 Classics for the Home Baker

By François Payard
Broadway Books, September 1999
Hardcover, $35.00, 256 pages
ISBN: 0-7679-0358-7
Information provided by the publisher.


Simply Sensational Desserts


Holiday Recipe Guide

Cookbook Profile Archive

Created 1999. Modified August 2007