What Others are Saying
Unlike most pastry chefs and bakers, Helen did not start out loving to bake – or cook. In fact, she downright hated eating as a child – a problem she presently doesn’t have. It was only after she was married that she went to her mother and grandmother to learn about cooking and baking.
Her career didn’t really start until her boys were well on their way. Her articles appeared in newspapers, Bon Appetit, Chocolatier, and The Pleasures of Cooking. As a consultant to Cuisinart Food Processors in their early years, she had the opportunity to work with professionals in, by then, her chosen field of food. In 1986, she authored her first book, “The New Pastry Cook” which focused on modern methods of pastry making.
Shortly after that, she opened her wholesale bakery, Truffes, Inc, in St. Louis where she sold upscale pastries to hotels, restaurants and caterers whether it was one pastry or a banquet of 1500 people. With no formal training, the learning curve was steep and she almost fell off several times. However, a love of what she was doing and an intense desire to succeed kept her on the path through three expansions culminating in 23 years in business.
With retirement an unknown word to Helen, she became the pastry chef at St. Louis’ most acclaimed restaurant, Tony’s a four-star, four-diamond award winner. With her love of sharing her knowledge of food, both pastry and cooking, she has been a regular on KMOV-TV’s “Great Day St. Louis” since 2010. She currently has two blogs, The Ardent Cook, and Pastries Like a Pro.
Her second book, “European Tarts, Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking” is in keeping with her love of sharing and teaching. A blog, which accompanies the book, EuropeanTarts.com, holds the how-to photography of key parts to many of the desserts to assist beginners or anyone looking for more help. All of these recipes were part of the repertoire from her bakery and were sold to her clients. Uncomplicated desserts that require little or no baking but have bold tastes are beautifully finished with little or no experience.
She lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her photographer husband who provides all of the photographs.
“Goddess of Pastry”
– Rose Levy Beranbaum
“If only every meal could conclude with a confection from Helen, every kitchen would be a better place.”
– Vincent J. Bommarito, Executive Chef, Tony’s, St. Louis.
“Pastry Chef Helen Fletcher isn’t kidding! Her assurances of “divinely doable pastries like a pro” are completely true! European Tarts is jam-packed with tips that only an expert professional baker would know (such as how to fortify jam and when to use emulsified powdered sugar), but Helen’s approach is down-to-earth and always accessible to the novice baker. And there’s no baking detail not explored in her in-depth glossaries of baking terms, tools, and ingredients! Whether you’re a budding baker or more advanced, this book provides a uniquely easy view into the world of professional baking — one you won’t want to miss!”
– Julia M. Usher, Author of the award-winning Cookie Swap and Ultimate Cookies