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Pastry chef shares technique secrets

George Geary is a baker and pastry chef extraordinaire. His baking techniques are featured in more than 100 cooking schools scattered throughout North America. Geary, a frequent contributor to gourmet magazines and newsletters, was the pastry chef and production manager for both the Walt Disney Co. and Marriott Corporation.

His new cookbook, “The Complete Baking Cookbook: 350 Recipes from Cookies and Cakes to Muffins and Pies” serves up easy-to-follow recipes of baked goods for almost every imaginable occasion. In addition to the recipes, there are tips, techniques and detailed Illustrations that will help bakers regardless of their expertise. More than a dozen pages list tools and equipment that will help ensure success.

This collection is divided into eight main sections: Cookies, Bars & Squares; Pies, Tarts & Cobblers; Cakes; Frostings, Glazes & More; Confections; Grand Finales; Breakfast Breads and Holiday Favorites.

I tested the Coconut Pound Cake, which was delicious and moist. It was surprisingly easy to prepare.

Larry Cox’s “Shelf Life” reviews of fiction and nonfiction books runs Thursdays in Calendar Plus. His “Treasures and Trends” antiques column runs Fridays in Weekend Plus, Weekend Plus.



Read more Our Favorite Cookbooks reviews by Larry Cox at www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/taste_recipes/.


Coconut Pound Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup vegetable shortening

3 cups granulated sugar

5 eggs

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prep a 10-inch tube pan with nonstick spray.

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, shortening and sugar until pale yellow, approximately 6 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture, alternating with coconut milk, making 3 additions of flour and 2 of coconut milk, just until blended. Fold in coconut and vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before transferring cake to rack. Then add glaze (recipe follows).


1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water (I substituted coconut milk.)

1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a low boil over medium heat, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add coconut flavoring and drizzle over warm cake. Let cake cool completely before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings .

Source: “The Complete Baking Cookbook: 350 Recipes from Cookies and Cakes to Muffins and Pies” by George Geary (Robert Rose, $24.95)

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