The Last Course

by Claudia Fleming

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Original Publisher
Random House
Date of publication

Recommended by

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef, Consultant, Writer, Creative Director at ICE, NYC

Flemings dessert book is perhaps one of the most valued, for its ability to inspire the professional pastry chef while also remaining accessible to the novice at home; her style infuses the simple and familiar with an unmatched elegance and sophistication. And few pastry chefs have been able to subtly incorporate the exotic flavors of herbs, flowers, and spices as much as Claudia. This book is deceivingly compact, considering the wealth and breadth of techniques on offer. In short, Claudia influenced an entire generation of pastry chefs.

Lucy Malouf

Food writer and editor

As someone who likes to see the dessert menu first so as to plan the rest of a meal accordingly, I fell in love with this book the minute I saw it. It’s divided into chapters grouped around kinds of ingredients – fruits, dairy, spices and so on – with imaginative and enticing dessert ideas for any time of the year. Fleming’s great art is in giving you a glimpse inside the mind of a pastry chef, yet making you feel that anything is possible, from the simplest seasonal fruit-based summer dessert to a more challenging composed creation.

Natasha MacAller


Creative, beautifully plated desserts from then pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, Claudia was one of the first to use ingredients considered only for savory dishes in her desserts. Was and am inspired by her recipes and I treasure my now out of print cookbook.

Stella Parks

Pastry chef

Bought this book as a graduation present to myself after culinary school, and it was my bible during my first gig as a "pastry chef" when I was 20 years old.

Jennifer Yee

Pastry Chef

Alexander Talbot

Author and Blogger at Ideas in Food