Sunday, January 27, 2019

Tea and Tomes: Pride and Prejudice never tasted so good! Our interview with contributing pastry artist, Amber Spiegel

Recent edition of Pride and Prejudice features Martha Stewart recipes and cookie decorating artistry from Amber Spiegel

Coming upon a recent edition of Pride and Prejudice, with tea time recipes from Martha Stewart and featuring embellished cookie artistry from pastry chef, Amber Spiegel, I felt much like Elizabeth Bennet when she caught her first glimpse of Pemberley. To paraphrase Jane Austen's description: I have never seen a book for which beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. In fact, the lasted P & P publication is enhanced by great taste, literally and figuratively. And much of its charm is due to Amber Spiegel, culinary artist and owner of sweetambs.

Table of contents provides a rich sample of Amber Spiegel's work

Amber's royal icing/fondant decorations are liberally scattered throughout the book and each chapter heading is adorned with a cookie masterpiece, be it  teapot, pearl earrings, or lacy flower. (It puts me to mind of Wedgwood jasperware and I found drinking tea in my blue and white teacup of said china
to be the perfect accompaniment to this book!)

Amber Spiegel, contributor to this edition of Pride and Prejudice, runs her cookie decorating business in Kingston, NY

In addition to the chapter headings, each volume features Amber's rendition of a P & P country manor, including (our favorite!) Pemberley. As a visitor to the real estate that was the inspiration for Pemberley, I can attest, Amber nailed it. Her artistry is incredible. Last week, I talked to Amber via email to ask her about this amazing endeavor and also learn more about her business and her decorating classes.

Each chapter title is adorned a decorated cookie, be it teapot, earrings or flowers

BTS: Are you a Jane Austen fan? Do you have a favorite JA story?
AS:  I'd not read Pride and Prejudice, but I am a fan of the movie! I had it playing in the background while sketching the designs for the book. It was such great inspiration when I ran into a creative block. 

BTS: The pictures of the estates including Longbourn and Pemberley are stunning. What was your inspiration for the homes?
AS: The publisher's senior designer, Kristie Radwilowicz sent me several images to use as a reference when decorating the cookies (she made my job 100 times easier). Each of the estates took several hours to create. They are piped in royal icing and painted with food coloring (with very tiny brushes!)
BTS: Any new books on the horizon?
AS: I don't have plans for a new book. My first book, Cookie Art: Sweet Designs for Special Occasions, came out in 2016. It covers everything from baking the perfect cookie base to instructions on how to make elaborate royal icing decorations.

BTS: Your classes in Kingston, NY look like intense fun. I hope to someday partake. Any advice for "novel" pastry decorators?
AS: This was my first time making cookies for a project like this, but I found that the small details made for the best cookies, such as hair clips, lace on dresses, candelabras, and wall sconces. It really is the little details that make all the difference!

Royal icing Pemberley took several hours: an amazing likeness to its inspiration.

We highly recommend this recent edition of Pride and Prejudice. We found ours at Barnes and Noble.  You'll find Mr. Darcy isn't the only sweet treat in this version!

For more information on Amber Spiegel, her classes (on-line and in NY), her books and her cookies, visit her website:

1 comment:

Amber Spiegel said...

Thank you so much for featuring this wonderful write-up on your blog! I'm so glad you love the book :)