Check out the new California section


Charlie Trotter
A comeback for pastry chefs
A comeback for pastry chefs

The final flourish of your meal arrives at the table — a rich pudding of chocolate cremeux ("creamy" in French), candied pistachios, a crumble made from ground pistachios, and both dehydrated and frozen mandarin. Its deliciousness almost obscures the effort that went into its making. Behind the chocolate, cream and fruit are the blood, sweat and tears that were shed for the sake of dessert — years of practice and hours of production. It's true. The life of a pastry chef isn't all butter and glamour. And the status that comes with it has had its ups and downs. Pastry king Antonin Careme in 18th century France might have been considered the first celebrity...