Gand admires pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre: She visits his pastry shop, Lenôtre, whenever she's in Paris, and she has cooked from every page of his cookbooks. A favorite is Lenôtre's Desserts and Pastries: "The step-by-step demo photos are great for learning techniques" (61 rue Lecourbe; 011-33-1-42-73-20-97).
Gand loves to hunt for kitschy vintage promotional food brochures. "I once found a 1950s Jell-O brochure that suggested using slightly less water, then sending the mix through a ricer. I sprinkle the sparkly bits on panna cotta."
Gale Gand thinks small: She uses mini-muffin tins for cheesecakes and angel food cakes. "People like bite-size desserts," Gand says, "so they can graze on them like hors d'oeuvres" ($12 from FoxRun; 866-266-5927).