Pierre Herme, decorated with the Chevalier of Arts and Letters, is another of the demi-gods of French gastronomy, but when it comes to pastry, he's in a class by himself. Now, with the publication of Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan and studded with elegantly simple photographs, Herme makes his American debut. With Ms. Greenspan's admirable assistance, Herme makes it possible for you to recreate his superb sweets in your own kitchen. You will need some skills (but no recipe is beyond the capabilities of the average home baker), and you will need time (seasoned with patience) for many of these recipes. But when you consider the pleasure of preparing, tasting, and serving these fabulous finales, the extra effort will seem well worth it. Basic Recipes, the classic cornerstones of the pastry chef's repertoire, come first, the instructions meticulously laid out as they are in all the succeeding recipes. Then we get to the sweet heart of the matter marvels of taste and texture that include, among other stunners, an intense, silken lemon tart; a gloriously light, creamy confection of mascarpone and jammy blueberries, wreathed in Italian meringue; a traditional creme brulee transformed into rich, velvety ice cream. Herme's creations give new meaning to the old adage, eat your dessert first. Sybil Pratt is an avid cook.

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