An Insider’s View of Pierre Hermé’s PH10

I’ve noticed over the last while that people have been querying about Pierre Hermé’s PH10. For this post, I’ve decided to write a brief review of this book for those people who are not fortunate enough to own it.

I picked up my copy of PH10 at Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City several years ago and carted this very heavy (and very expensive!) book back to Asia. PH10 is an advanced level pastry book featuring a compilation of Pierre Hermé’s professional creations over the last ten years. Most of the recipes contained in the book are unique and were created for his Pierre Hermé branded pastry shops in Japan and France while a few of the recipes were featured in his older La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé book.

The cover of the book is interesting in that it is actually a blown up picture of the top of one of Pierre Hermé’s cake creations. The cake on the cover is called “Chuao”. Chuao is an ultra high-end chocolate from Italian chocolate manufacturer Amedei that is featured as the main component for this cake. What you see on the book cover is the chocolate glazed cake with two pieces of curved tempered chocolate standing parallel and upright on the glaze.

The introduction section of the book begins with a very brief paragraph from Pierre Hermé followed by short passages by noted personalities in the food industry. Personalities like Ferran Adria (Molecular Gastronomy pioneer and guru), Gaston Lenotre (French pastry legend), and Frédérick e. Grasser-Hermé (his ex-wife) are contributors to the introduction section.

The book is broken up into ten sections: 1. Entrements and Tarts, 2. Chocolates, 3. Transportable cakes and Breads, 4. Ice Creams and Sorbets, 5. Small Cakes and Individual Tarts, 6. Macarons and Petit Fours, 7. Confectionary (Pâte de Fruits), 8. Plated Desserts, 9. Base Recipes, 10. Annexes

This is a book written entirely in French as opposed to the bilingual version offered in La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé. As far as I can tell, I do not believe the French publisher Agnès Viénot Éditions will be producing an English version of this book anytime soon (if ever).

All the featured recipes are written with the professional chef in mind. The ingredients used are all extremely high end and many of the items cannot be found outside of professional circles. If you have the proper skills and knowledge, you should be able to make substitutions for those hard to find ingredients and come up with satisfactory results. Many of the pastry techniques in the recipes are sparsely described and it is assumed that the reader has much of the fundamental pastry making skills to decipher the instructions.

Like any successful company that has a strong product marketing sense, Pierre Hermé has taken his unique creations and has offered his recipes in many different forms and textures. For example, the highly acclaimed Ispahan creation is offered as an entremet, a galette, a cake, an ice cream, a petit four, and a plated dessert. As such, many of the components in the recipes are in some way repeated throughout the book with necessary changes to reflect the different forms of each version.

The photographs in the book are beautifully rendered but PH10 does not have a photo for every recipe (about 300 in total). However, there are enough photographs in the book (about 200 photos) to satisfy those who would like to admire most of Pierre Hermé’s creations.

As mentioned earlier, this book is catered to the professional pastry chef but the question on most people’s mind is whether this book will suit home bakers or non-professional pastry cooks. I think the biggest deterrent for most people would be the fact that this book is written in French only. Unless you want to spend roughly USD$270 to acquire PH10 just to look at the pictures, then I would recommend you purchase La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé since this book is written in English (although parts of the book is poorly translated) and it provides more foundational pastry making instructions. The Pierre Hermé series written by Dorie Greenspan (Desserts & Chocolate Desserts) is highly recommended for home bakers and beginners since it was written with the idea of French pastry making using common household ingredients typically found in local supermarkets. For the professional, PH10 is highly recommended along with the older and very innovative La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé and Plasirs Sucrés.

In the meantime, enjoy the photos of Pierre Hermé’s creations from PH10!

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27 Responses to “An Insider’s View of Pierre Hermé’s PH10”

  1. TP Says:

    Thank you, Peter!! What a treat! Looks like that’s all I can do, unless I go brush the dust off my French for Dummies, lol.

  2. stickofachef Says:

    Hi TP,

    Thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂

  3. melena Says:

    Thanks for your invaluable insight. you have managed to help me gain a better insight into how I can get hold of PH’s recipes for the homebaker. I am really looking for PH’s recipes, and wonder if perhaps if you advise if tehre are duplications and overlaps in his recipes in these books.. which PH book is the best buy? Chocolate Desserts or Desserts by PH? And Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan….. vs Baking: from my Home to Yours also by Dorie Greenspan….. Any chance that PH’s macaron recipes pop up in any of these books? Thanks again!

  4. stickofachef Says:

    Hi Melena,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Of the four books you mentioned above, I own only three of them (Desserts, Chocolate Desserts, and Paris Sweets) and can only comment on these three as a comparison.

    PH’s chocolate macaron recipe can be found here (http://auntyyochana.blogspot.com/2007/04/chocolate-macaroons.html) and was originally published in his Chocolate Desserts book. You will not find any macaron recipes in Desserts and Paris Sweets. As for recipe overlaps and duplication between Desserts and Chocolate Desserts, there aren’t any. You can buy both these books with the confidence that you will be getting unique home-based French cake and pastry recipes in each book. Both of PH’s books contain beautiful photos of each recipe so you can conceptualise the finished product the way it was intended to be.

    Paris Sweets on the other hand contains recipes from many different famous pastry shops in Paris. You’ll find cake and pastry recipes from infamous institutions like Fauchon, La Maison du Chocolat, Pierre Hermé, and Ladurée. You won’t, however, find any photos of any of the creations listed in the book. You will be left to your own imagination on how the finished product will look based on the written recipes. It all depends on your personal comfort zone of working with recipes without any pictures. You can take a look at portions of the book here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0767906810/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link)

    For home bakers, I recommend all three books and you should be able to find them at Kinokuniya in Singapore without a problem.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  5. melena Says:

    Thanks. You have been very very helpful indeed. I have tried Yochana’s rendition of PH’s chocolate macarons… See it in my Flickr account under melena’s. And yes, I might just go ahead and order the 4 books…… Have a great week!

  6. stickofachef Says:

    Hi Melena,

    I’ve taken a look at your Flickr photos. Looks like you are an accomplished baker. Congrats on your success in making chocolate macarons. I think you won’t have any regrets in ordering any of Dorie Greenspan’s books. She’s an excellent recipe book writer. You may want to check out her blog as well.

    Happy baking!

  7. melena Says:

    Thanks Peter for your help and advice. I enjoy your blog and have found the numerous comments and interactions between your readers and yourself to be very informative. Looks like you should start classes!

  8. stickofachef Says:

    Hi Melena,

    It’s my pleasure. I have a fundamental belief that knowledge should be shared. I’m happy to hear that I am touching on subjects that are of interest to you. It’s always hard to gauge what interests readers out there in blog land and blog comments are the only form of feedback I get that tells me whether I’m on the right track or not.

    Holding classes is something I can do if there is enough interest from people willing to participate! 😉

    Take care,

  9. joeel1 Says:

    hi there…

    what is my best bet to get this book in KL?…
    checked out amazon, but doesnt seems promising.
    contacted Pierre Herme web site, they said they dont ship it to Malaysia.

    • stickofachef Says:

      Hi Joeel1,

      You can go to Amazon in France to get it. I just checked and they only have one left. (http://www.amazon.fr/PH10-Pierre-Herm%C3%A9/dp/2914645724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240469530&sr=8-1). PH10 is selling for 128.25 Euros. That’s roughly RM606.50 (not including shipping and handling) for this book if I convert the Ringgit to Euros at today’s rate. The unfortunate thing is that you will have to read French if you want to navigate Amazon’s France website.

      If that doesn’t work for you, the other option is to purchase from Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City, USA (http://kitchenartsandletters.com/). They will ship overseas but you’ll have to call them by phone direct. Their contact details are on their website.

      I picked up my copy at Kitchen Arts & Letters many years ago when I visited New York and hauled it back to Asia. It’s a very heavy book and shipping and handling is bound to be very expensive if you are going to buy via mail order. Be ready to pay a premium to have this book shipped to you.

      Do let me know how things turn out for you.

      Hope this helps.

      Good luck!

  10. joeel1 Says:

    hi there…

    thanks for your info.
    i did call them (kitchen art) and seems that they are really helpful.
    but, i would like to have your opinion.
    since, i’m not speaking any french (yet), i’m keen on getting ‘patisserie of pierre herme’.
    but, i also considering getting another book.
    i’m thinking of getting either ‘Au Coeurs Des Saveurs’ or pH10.
    which one do you think i should get and why?…

    thanks in advance…

    cheers…

  11. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    If you don’t read French, then PH10 is not for you. As for the other two books, what is your level of pastry making? These books assume you to have a foundation in professional French pastry making before you can properly follow the recipes. Also, these books aren’t always accurately translated (fault of the publishing company) so many of the descriptions used in the recipes are not always grammatically correct or the terms used do not always make sense.

    If you are a professional, then these short comings will not be a barrier for you and these books should belong in your reference library.

    If you are a novice, then owning these books will be more inspirational than anything else since many of the ingredients in the recipes can only be obtained by professionals and the level of expertise needed to replicate the recipes are high.

    It all depends on what your objectives are to own these books.

    Hope this helps.

  12. joeel1 Says:

    hi there…

    thanks for the answer..
    i’m not a professional, hence i believe i’m in novice category.
    but, i believe i do have access to the ingredients that the professional have been used.
    i’ve been in contact with Classic Fine Food, Aeroshield and Pastry Pro and had order few stuff from them on few occasion (chocolate and cream most of the time).

    in term of skill, well i must admit that i’m not that good.
    i’m still teaching myself.
    and that’s is why i’m always has my Gisslen book (Professional Baking) beside me.
    actually i’ve already experience what u have said with my Allan Ducasse book, as this book also doesnt detailing the procedure, rather giving me basic intruction, ie: Allan Ducasse will ask me to prepare creme anglese and at this point i’ll make a reference to a 3 page entry on Gisslen book.
    the only problem with gisslen book is, their recipe is not attractive as others.

    i’m pretty keen on getting ‘the patisserie of pierre herme’.
    but, i’m not sure i should be getting ‘au coeur Des Saveurs’ as i’m not sure whether it’s content will not be much different from the later.
    and since you yourself already have all the books, i figure you are the correct person to refer to.
    in case of language barrier, i believe it should be any problem, since i’m willing to take french classes if i need to.

    cheers…

  13. Cedric Says:

    Dear joeel1 , If you do visit SG , you can drop by 25 deg C ( http://www.25degreec.com/) cos they do bring in TPOPH and PH10 and other books as well. since i guess KL and SG are not too far n times ppl do come over for holiday ( or can get ur fren in sg to get for u , but do email or contact them for prices n stocks available. ( if i rem correctly the price a bit higher then Kitchen Arts & Letters ( to be cfm , cos that time order 5 books so all in one box so cheaper )

  14. stickofachef Says:

    Hi Cedric,

    Really appreciate your help in referring joeel1 to 25 degrees in Singapore. I concur with your advice. Additionally, if 25 degrees will deliver to Malaysia, then joeel1’s problems will be solved.

    joeel1,

    I admire your determination to learn from these professional books. If you are going to purchase one professional level book at this time, then I would recommend The Patisserie of Pierre Herme. This book is in English (compared to PH 10) and it shows you much of Pierre Herme’s creations when he was heading Fauchon’s kitchen back in the 80’s. If you are able to follow Alain Ducasse’s pastry book, then you should be able to follow The Patisserie of Pierre Herme.

    As for Au Coeurs Des Saveurs, this is another “must have” book that should belong on the shelf of any pastry enthusiast since the author, Frederic Bau, talks in-depth about the theory and practical aspects of making chocolate mouse, entremets, and other foundation techniques. You do not get these types of topics in The Patisserie of Pierre Herme. You can read more about this book in my past blog entry here https://stickofachef.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/au-coeurs-des-saveurs-a-review/

    Cheers!

  15. joeel1 Says:

    hi there…

    thanks for the information that’s been given.
    really appreciate it.

    your new information make my desire to have both books together grow higher and higher.
    i’ve already request info from Matt (Kitchen art) regarding price and shipping cost.
    the only consent for me is the shipping, since the use USPS priority mail and will cost triple for UPS/fedex.
    does anybody have any experience with (Kitchen art) shipping?…

    i will call 25degree tomorrow to check out their term and condition before make any decision.

  16. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    I do not have any experience with receiving shipments from Kitchen Arts & Letters. You will have to base your decision to purchase from them based on their reputation and your gut feel from speaking to them directly.

    Best wishes in making your final decision!

  17. joeel1 Says:

    hi there…

    thanks for those information that’s you’ve been feeding me.
    i’ve decided to order those books from kitchen art & letter.
    based on my phone conversation to both kitchen art & letter and 25 degree Celsius personnel, i feel much more comfortable to deal with Kitchen Art & Letter.

    thanks again for those information.

  18. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    I’m glad to have been a help to you and to know that you have made a final decision regarding your book purchase. I also give credit to Cedric for pitching in with his advice as well.

    Do let us know what you think of the new books you have purchased once you’ve had a chance to read through them. I’m sure they will be an inspiration to you and undoubtedly will make you a better pastry enthusiast for years to come!

    Cheers!

  19. Cedric Says:

    just 2 cent worth , i ordered once from kitchen arts and my classmates ordered twice , my arrive within a week i think my fren one was slight delay for a few days but the staffs there are very helpful ( we use email instead though ) and mine was good cos they manage to squeeze all 5 books into a box , u can actually ask them if they can fit certain books into the same box to save $.

  20. joeel1 Says:

    i’ve end up using UPS for the shipping.
    kinda nervous to us the standard one they recommend, since it was my 1st order.
    after all, i’ve spend lots for the books itself, so the total price is not that bad at the end.
    took 3 days to arrived.

    the books.
    as you’ve mentioned before, it was a really good books.
    i also notice the bad translation that they have.
    some of the term they use in translation kinda weird for me, ie: gioconda cake for jaconde biscuit.

    i had a quick looks on La Patisserie de Pierre Herme.
    the style is sort of like what Allain Ducasse’s book.
    always assume that you know what are you doing.
    but, the recipe is all very good.
    lots of entremet recipe, which is what i really need.
    the creation is very interesting.
    will work on that very soon.

    Au Coeur Des Saveur, doesnt have recipe as much as La Patisserie de Pierre Herme.
    but, it discuss lots of stuff.
    i really like the chocolate, ganache, mousse’s technical info.
    the chocolate mousse discussion is very interesting.
    it discuss in detail about the characteristic of the ingredient, which is really important.
    compared to La Patisserie de Pierre Herme, i think Frederic Bau’s recipe have more explanation in every step.
    for me, the basic recipe in Au Coeur Des Saveur cover more than La Patisserie de Pierre Herme.

    unfortunately the copy that kitchen art and letter send to me is defective.
    both of them has problem with the binding (the glue doesnt hold the pages, hence the pages have been off from the hard cover for La Patisserie de Pierre Herme and in case of Au Coeur Des Saveur, the glue that hold the pages is breaking).
    since these books are from the same publisher i keen to believe that this is a manufacturing default.
    when contacted, kitchen art and letter are very helpful.
    they’ve already promised to send me new copy, and they’ve said that they will make sure that it will be a good copy.
    so, we’ll see…

    other than that, i’m really glad to have bought these books.

  21. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    Thanks for your review. Your assessment of these books is spot on. Bau’s book is more technically oriented and is a valuable source of information if you want to understand the science behind French pastry making. Herme’s book, on the other hand, focuses on his creative genius during his early years when he played a pivotal role in redefining the French pastry scene into where it is now.

    I am sure you will get maximum value from these books and it will serve as your reference points for many of your creations as you improve on your baking and pastry making skills.

    Glad you have sorted out the issues with your books. Fortunately, I did not have any binding issues with my books (and I have used them a lot!).

    Have fun with your new books and do share pictures of your creations when you have the time.

    Cheers!

  22. joeel1 Says:

    thanks again for suggesting that books for me.
    really appreciate it.

  23. Cedric Says:

    Hmmm , think is a recent copy problem cos my copy of La Patisserie de Pierre Herme. also like coming off when i got it but i didn;t know can change so i just live with it n maybe will glue it myself , thanks for the info , next time i will ask for replacement too ( if it happen again )

  24. joeel1 Says:

    on weekend, kitchen art & letter informed me that Montagud (the publisher) next printing of the book will only happen perhaps on october.
    because of that, kitchen art & letter decided to refund my La Patisserie de Pierre Herme.

    they also mention that they’ve already arrange for my shipment of new copy of Au Coeur Des Saveur.

    frankly, in my opinion, it is publisher fault, not theirs.
    but, i’m glad dealing with them.
    they take full responsibilities of their products.
    in fact, i believe this is what every dealer/seller should do.

  25. joeel1 Says:

    just got the book this morning…
    kitchen art & letter ship it through USPS.
    quite impress with USPS + Pos Malaysia.
    never though it’s going to be that fast.

    kitchen art & letter send me a new edition of the book.
    it is the 5th edition (2008).
    it has shining grey cover (short of like Alain Ducasse).
    and, it’s smell new…

    they refund that they promised have also been received last week.

    in summary…
    i’m glad to have bought those books from them.

  26. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    Great to hear that you have settled all outstanding issues with the book and you are happy with Kitchen Arts and Letter’s customer service. I wish you all the best in getting the most out of your new book! 🙂

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