As Executive Pastry Chef at the White House for almost twenty-five years, Roland Mesnier has been responsible for creating thousands of elegant, delicious confections and dazzling desserts for hundreds of state dinners and family occasions. An accomplished teacher as well as a master chef, he now shares his expertise with home cooks in Dessert University. This beautifully illustrated volume is a complete course in making the full spectrum of spectacular sweets--from breakfast pastries, cookies, and pies to fresh-fruit desserts, frozen confections, and cakes. Recipes in each chapter are organized from the simplest to the most complex, and Chef Mesnier walks you through each step, pointing out common mistakes and offering insights on technique gained from his years as a professional. Most of these recipes need few special ingredients and almost no fancy equipment; nearly everything can be purchased at a well-stocked supermarket, department store, or kitchen supply store. Chef Mesnier includes tips on techniques, ingredients, and serving suggestions, and offers home cooks practical advice, such as how to fill and use a pastry bag and the best way to whip egg whites. A resource list is also included, so cooks can find the more unusual ingredients they need to make these delectable creations. Mesnier starts off with his fresh-fruit desserts, including uniquely wonderful recipes such as Bananas in Raspberry Cream, Blueberry Fool, and Poached Peaches with Chestnut Mousse. He moves on to creamy custards, puddings, soufflés, mousses and Bavarians, ice creams, meringues, crêpes, and breakfast treats (including buttery brioche and croissant doughs). Chef Mesnier's cookie and bar recipes will fill your cookie jar with such treats as Chocolate Chip Cookies, Almond Crescents, Orange Butter Cookies, Brownies, and Florentine Squares. There are sweet and savory tarts, and cakes ranging from the simple (Lemon Pound Cake) to the unusual (Peanut Butter and Jelly Roulade Cake) to the sophisticated (Chocolate Champagne Mousse Cake). Ambitious home cooks can even try their hand at making chocolate candy and sugar decorations. A chapter on syrups, sauces, and other dessert components completes the book. More than fifty black-and-white line drawings throughout illustrate Chef Mesnier's instructions for the more complicated recipes, and there are sixteen stunning color photographs of finished desserts. Home cooks and professionals spend hundreds of dollars in formal cooking classes to learn what masters like Roland Mesnier have to teach. In Dessert University, Chef Mesnier has distilled the experience and expertise of an extraordinary career into one accessible, user-friendly volume. Whether you're a novice who has never picked up a rolling pin or an accomplished cook looking to hone and enhance your skills, this is truly a book you cannot do without.