Joanne Chang recently talked to the Globe while trimming pies, getting ready for a busy holiday season. We called to talk with the Flour Bakery founder about her fifth cookbook, “Pastry Love.”
“This book is a compilation of all of my favorite recipes,” Chang said, presented with all the benefit of what she’s learned in publishing her earlier cookbooks. “My ability to describe how you should bake something has evolved,” she said, adding that the new book boasts more photographs.
That flair for the visual explains the book’s title. In her bakeries, she said, “we talk about pastry love every day. It’s a verb, meaning to make sure that the pastries on the counter are arranged beautifully and bountifully. For most people, eating a pastry is a treat. It might be a way to be good to yourself or give yourself a pat on the back,” Chang said. “We all want something that looks enticing.”
In Chang’s childhood, Thanksgiving wasn’t about turkey. “When I was growing up all we ever ate was duck. My parents are from Taiwan, and they’d never had turkey. We would have this huge Chinese feast all centered around the duck, and that was what I knew Thanksgiving to be before I went to college.”
For Chang, who majored in economics at Harvard, the path to pastries has been both beautiful and flavorful. “My parents definitely thought I’d have a different kind of career path,” she said. But now that she has an empire of eight bakeries, she added, “in a way I have used my econ degree!”
These days, turkey takes center stage at her table, surrounded by all the sides, baked goods, and desserts Flour offers. “We take one of every item from the bakery and taste-test it on Thanksgiving,” Chang said. For dessert, “we offered a pie this year that we called the Piefecta, and it is half-pecan pie, half-pumpkin pie, and brown sugar whipped cream on top.”
Joanne Chang will read Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Book Ends, 559 Main St., Winchester.