My love affair with baking began when I still needed to climb on a stepstool to reach our kitchen counter, where my mom would hand me a big wooden spoon to stir the cake mix, and then I would get to lick the spoon clean. That love of baking would lead me from a little town in Israel to New York, where I studied the art of pastry, and to internships at some of the top restaurants in the world, including The Mercer Kitchen, RBI Cakes, and Noma (chosen as “The World’s Best Restaurant” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014).
My name is Lior Mashiach, and today I’m a pastry chef living and working in Tel Aviv, a city that’s become a foodie’s paradise over the past 10 years. I’m my own boss, running my business Lioroooosh, a baking studio where I host workshops, brunches, and meals. These give me an opportunity to share my love for pastries with others and to teach the beauty behind pastry baking as well as the chemistry that makes pastries amazing.
The recipes I’ve included in this book are some of my best ones: a decadent s’mores layer cake with speculoos cream and scorched meringue frosting; a honey caramelized apple and sea salt tart that satisfies both your sweet and salty cravings; traditional chocolate babka you won’t be able to stop eating; kubaneh (Yemenite Jewish pull-apart bread) to make your Saturday mornings perfect; and my wonderful challahs (white, leavened, braided breads baked to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath). It’s not Shabbat without challah! Now, some of the recipes in this book are super simple, and some are a little more challenging, but they’re all my top, my best recipes, my favorite ones, and they’re all delicious, special, and absolutely worth the effort.