The Pastry Queen
Royally Good Recipes From the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery and Cafe
Publication Date: October 1, 2004
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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.
"Every baker, from country folk to city slicker, will find something deliriously delightful to bake in this book. Hail to the Pastry Queen—Rebecca Rather!"
—David Lebovitz, author of The Great Book of Chocolate
"Rebecca Rather personifies the great American bootstrap, built on grit and tenacity upon which communities are enriched and enlivened (and happily well fed). Anyone who bakes from this book will want to meet the Pastry Queen in person."
—Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice
"Texans at their best are honest, friendly, helpful, and engagingly unpretentious. Oh, and pretty darned good cooks. Rebecca Rather, Hill Country reine de patisserie, is all of these things, as will be immediately apparent to anyone who dives into this delicious book—a rich, good-looking, sweet and savory masterpiece, full of baking lore, kitchen tips, charming stories, and (above all) irresistibly indulgent recipes."
—Colman Andrews, Editor-in-Chief, Saveur