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One of the lesser-known French pastries is Bostock. Perhaps it’s the funny name that doesn’t sound very French, as pain au chocolat or chausson aux pommes do, that’s been keeping it out of the spotlight. True, the name does sound like a Swiss bouillon mix and although I’ve read it’s from Normandy, I haven’t found any conclusive evidence of that. But wherever it’s from, the good thing about Bostock is that it’s one of the easiest desserts to make and doesn’t require rolling out any pastry, spending a day making brioche, or rely on any fancy techniques. It’s one of my very favorite things to eat.

Bostock was likely invented to use up leftover brioche that bakeries had on hand after they closed their doors. Bakers everywhere are naturally thrifty and this is a clever way to use up leftover bread, whether it be brioche, challah, or any firm-textured white bread, such as pain de mie.

A travel writer I know recently posted a mini-rant against recipes that call for using a stand mixer, saying the authors should offer alternatives for those who might not have one. That’s fair enough, I suppose, and I try to let people know when they can mix or beat things together in a bowl with a spoon or spatula, although sometimes it’s pretty easy for people to figure it out for themselves. But tossing it back to him, perhaps travel writers, instead of only listing airlines that fly to places, also list trains, buses, ships, and hiking routes that take people to the same place? If we put everything possible in a recipe, most recipes would be pages and pages long.

Like taking the plane (carbon-footprint issues aside) a stand mixer is the faster, more efficient way of getting there for this almond paste-based topping, although those with patience and moxie could beat it by hand. I add a few drops of almond extract as the pâte d’amande that’s most common in Paris doesn’t have a high almond content (usually around 33%) and I like mine with more almond flavor.

Supermarket almond pastes in the U.S., like Odense and Solo, have good almond flavor and don’t need it. If you want to go the semi-pro route, premium brands like Amoretti and American Almond Products (67% almonds), are available, although the latter is now only sold in 7-pound tins. But it’s quite good and that was what I used when I baked professionally, so if you have friends who bake, it might be worth splitting a tin.

Most almond extract is made from bitter almonds and a little goes a long way, so use it sparingly. You can also add some orange flower water to add some flavor, which compliments the almonds nicely, and is a lovely touch.

While Bostock is mighty fine all on its own, it’s a great accompaniment to a fruit sorbet or a fruit salad for dessert with the brioche providing texture and crunch from the crust, and the almond paste giving it some richness. It pairs well with everything from plums, peaches, and nectarines to berries, pears, and melon.


Be sure to use almond paste, not marzipan, which has more sugar and is generally used for decorating. It's not the same thing. (According to Nigella Lawson, however, almond paste is called 'marzipan' in the UK.)
Brioche, challah, or a close-textured white bread, like pain de mie, all work well. It's best if it's slightly stale as it'll absorb more of the flavorful syrup. And speaking of syrup, be sure to saturate the bread as you want to syrup to go all the way through the slices, not just moisten the top.
If you don't drink alcohol, you can flavor the syrup with almond or vanilla flavoring (one that doesn't have alcohol) or ust with orange flower water, adding to taste. Make it a bit stronger than you think since you want it to be present in the finished pastry.
Lastly, in the "Do as I say, not as I do" category, sharp-eyed readers will notice I used a silicone baking mat in the pics. Like most of us these days, my head is in the clouds and I prefer to bake Bostock on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, although you can also bake them directly on a baking sheet if you wish. Silicon tends to "humify" things and while Bostock isn't naturally crispy (they fall between there, and in the "moist" category) the bottoms tend to brown a little when not baked on silicone.
Course Dessert
Servings 6 servings
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rum, kirsch, or amaretto liqueur
  • a few drops orange flower water, (optional)
  • 6 slices brioche, challah or firm-textured white bread, such as pain de mie, cut in 1/2-inch (2cm) slices
  • 6 ounces (170g) almond paste
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • a few drops pure almond extract, (optional)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup (40-60g) sliced almonds
  • powdered sugar
  • In a small saucepan, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar with the water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the liquor and a few drops of orange flower water, if using.
  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or leave it unlined) and place the slices of bread on it.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a medium bowl with a spatula, beat the almond paste with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, the eggs, and a few drops of almond extract, if using, at medium-high speed until smooth. But avoid whipping it up; mix it just until most of the lumps are removed. (A few little ones won't matter.)
  • Brush each slice of bread generously with the syrup, enough so it saturates the bread all the way through. Spread each piece of bread with the almond topping then sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.
  • Bake until the tops of the Bostock are well-browned. I begin checking them at the 6-minute mark but they can take up to 10 to 12 minutes so best to rely on visual clues rather than precise minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Note: The almond topping can be made in advance and refrigerated up to one week. Let come to room temperature before using. 




    • Rose

    I love what Stella Parks said about the whole stand mixer thing:
    “But when I talk about how important a stand mixer is for baking, folks usually respond with something along the lines of, “Well, then how did they do it in the olden days?” And the answer is, they didn’t. What many bakers don’t realize is that using a stand mixer is not a choice of convenience; I use a stand mixer in these recipes because it’s better suited to the job than mixing by hand (or with a hand mixer). Aside from the fact that the stand mixer itself is more than 100 years old, making it a fixture of modern recipe development, the desserts made prior to that era were radically different from the ones we make today and better suited to preparation by hand. The advent of high-power mechanical mixing allowed for new techniques and ingredient ratios to create the desserts we know and love today.”

    Just get a mixer!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      When I wrote The Perfect Scoop, people asked me if they needed an ice cream machine and I replied that people have been making frozen desserts before there was electricity so they could simply stir the mixture several times while in the freezer. (In the old days, they did it over ice.) The texture wouldn’t be as smooth as ice cream churned in a machine, but as you mentioned, desserts were different back then and people weren’t expecting creamy-smooth textures. But yes, it was possible.

      When one writes a recipe you have to think of the readers who will make it. I assume a number of my readers are bakers and have mixers, but I know quite a few don’t. So I try to indicate when things can be done by hand. Stand mixers have made things easier for sure but if people don’t have the funds or the space, a good hand-held mixer usually will fill in just fine in most cases.

        • Janet

        Christmas 2019, I made a panettone kneading by hand – left hand only so I had a clean hand to pick up things. Timed myself. It took 2 hours of VIGOROUS kneading. I-will-never-do-it-again without a stand mixer. I was sore on the whole left side for days. Can’t be good for you.

      • Emma

      Absolutely, Italian meringue requires a 10 minutes whipping until it cools off, same for guimauve. You can do it with a hand mixer, but who will have the patience and strength ? And don’t forget that previously, the “high end” baking was done by exploited servants, nobody cared if the kitchen maid sprained her wrist because of excessive beating. And some techniques like butter and sugar creaming require a stand mixer, if you don’t have one you can choose a recipe based on beating eggs and sugar, which is the traditional base of French cakes, as a stand mixer is not as common as a KitchenAid in the US and is still a statement thing (it is sold € 550 for the small one in France).

        • Hillary

        Creaming butter and sugar certainly does not require a stand mixer. It can be done quite easily with an inexpensive handheld mixer or even by hand if you have strong arms.

        • Heatherbelle

        Creaming butter and sugar definitely doesn’t require a stand mixer. My hand mixer does an awesome job .

      • Mike Quear

      Good point.

      Thank you.
      Reminiscent of Julia Child’s euphoria over the advent of the good processor. :)

      • Sally

      Hear hear.

      • Minty

      I would also point out that not every recipe has to be accessible to everyone. I do not have a deep fat fryer, so don’t make deep fried food.

      Just regret that you probably won’t be able to make this, and move on! There is no reason to chide David.

        • Parker

        You don’t really believe that you have to have a certain piece of equipment to deep fry, do you?

      • Martin

      I still remember the pain I endured the time I decided to spend forty-five minutes beating a savarin dough by hand. The first blisters came up seven minutes in. So, yes, it is possible. It is how enriched doughs were developed to the right texture before stand mixers. However, you could only afford to do it with menial staff or servants paid a pitifully low wage. That same dough takes only twelve to fifteen minutes with a (blister-free) KitchenAid.

      Btw, Pierre Hermé’s Bostock Arabella is a firm favourite with my customers: ginger frangipane with chopped banana and hazelnuts.

    • PZ


    I fell in love with Bostock after first encountering it at a bakery in El Paso, TX named Bella Cora. Theirs was flavored in with orange. It was so delicious! I haven’t had Bostock in years so, I will definitely make this recipe this week. So excited!

    • Chrf Katherine

    As a commercial baker, I am happy to sell almond paste to customers (mine comes in a seven pound can). I use paper on my pan and always bake with one sheetpan under (double up on pans). We make and sell many, many almond croissants! Chef Katherine, Denver, CO

    • Rachael

    My first meal at Tartine Manufactory in SF included Bostock, and I still dream about it! I had never had it before. Tartine puts a thin layer of fruit preserves on it, which is a really nice touch!

    • dana

    bostock is my favorite pastry. easily!

    • Nancy

    Be still my heart! Did you ever notice that some people are freaks for anything almondy, then there are the “meh” people? Count me as the former. You had me at Bostock! ;-)

      • Merle

      If you have Costco near you they have a new type danish which is stuffed with an almond paste and covered with sliced almonds and xxxsugar. I love them and will try Bostock since we have great challah where I live. Desserts with almondy flavors and lemon are my faves; not so much for chocolate.

        • Patti

        Merle, I was sitting here eating a Costco almond danish as I stumbled across this recipe. Wasn’t looking for a recipe, I was just browsing this website, saw the pic and thought, “That looks just like the Costco topping!”. They are SO good! It’s my favorite pastry at Costco.

          • Merle

          I’m surprised more readers haven’t tried this piece of deliciousness. I cut it into eight wedges to make it last with my morning coffee and a book

      • Kimi Wagner

      The ‘entitled’ mind really seems to know no bounds.
      Lol I mean isn’t it a bit like getting uptight with a sausage maker for stipulating the use of a meat grinder? or for getting angry that you need to use a shovel instead of a snowblower?

    • David Hawkins

    Any possible variants that don’t include almonds or other nuts? I’m not allergic; I just don’t care for nuts in desserts or pastries (except pecan pie).

      • Brigitte Cacciatore

      I am french, never heard of it

        • Patsy Pouvelle

        You’re probably too young! As David said, they’re not well known. A pâtisserie near us in Reims has been selling them for the 50-odd years I’ve been living here – a rather old-fashioned shop, it has to be said.

      • Aleksandra

      You are joking, right?
      Just ignore this recipe and choose sth that does not include nuts.

    • alx west

    Actually it is one letter from Russian word Vostock=Vostok.

    meaning ‘East’ like Far East

    and taking into account that
    B (as in beam) and V (as in vig) letters are interchangeable


    • Jenny Pearson-Millar

    I love almondy or hazelnutty pastries and this is one of the best!
    I’ve read that the name “bostock” is Russian for “east” — bostock pronounced with a B but written with a V. It’s supposed to have been invented in Paris by the café chain “Pushkin”… perhaps they are from the east of the country originally?? I emailed the café a few years ago but never heard back… the origins intrique me as we serve it on a regular basis at our Quebec B&B. It is scrumptious!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Jenny and alx: Interesting the name may have Russian roots. I know there is a theory that the word “bistro” came from Russian (which some dispute) but perhaps it came into its name during the Franco-Prussian war?

        • Jenny Pearson-Millar

        Yes, Bistro came from Russian. “Tartare” also… were a tribe in Russia who wore those baggy pants and boots… they put the meat under their horses saddles to tenderize it while ou riding. Euuuch!

    • Marianne

    Since Almond paste is quite pricey, may I use the total 7 ounces in the Odense tube or would that be too much? I hate to waste an ounce of the paste. Perhaps I could make an extra slice of Bostock….? I’m forwarding this article to my aunt as her (married) last name is “Bostock”.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Sure, it’s fine to use the extra 1 ounce that comes in those tubes. I don’t think it’ll alter the recipe significantly.

    • Ellen

    I love your blog. Per the stand mixer, experienced cooks can easily discern which recipes can be adapted for a hand mixer or food processor (or a less-mechanized method) and which cannot. And those of us with small apartment kitchens can’t always have many appliances. I have a food processor and a hand mixer, and no additional space for a stand mixer. Thus, I have no ‘paddle’ attachment – I’m able to make it work, but those new to cooking and baking often cannot.

    • Nora Signer

    This looks positively irresistible David. I have no patience with people who post about recipes they haven’t yet made, and here I am doing just that! I adore your recipe for German Apple Almond Cake, often saying it’s my favorite! However, it is for a large cake when one is living alone and isolating… so reading your post today, I’m planing of using that tube of Odense almond paste in my larder to prepare Bostock on that happy as yet unknown day when my small family can again gather for a meal. Thank you David for putting a taste that optimism and sending all best wishes to you, Nora

    • Nathalie

    I’m French and have lived in France most of my life, and – shame on me!- I have never heard this Bostock name! I believe the recipe is similar to the one used in boulangeries to make Croissant aux amandes? Which is (quite often) delicious… I will definitely give it a try (maybe with almond butter+sugar instead of almond paste, to spare a drive to the grocery store…?)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s not super well-known in France (my partner never heard of it either) but I do see it in bakeries and even ones like Ladurée and Pierre Hermé make fancy versions of it. I don’t think almond butter would work but there are French recipes out there that use ground almonds, so if you have those, you might give one of them a try.

    • MR in NJ

    When I copy into a file any recipe that says you can alternatively use a spoon or a hand mixer, I leave that part out! If I didn’t have a stand mixer, I just wouldn’t make that item.

    It’s clear from the comments posted to your site that most people are experienced bakers and many are professionals. David, you have a tender heart and want to make people happy. This is endearing–but no, you do not have to say that things can be mixed by hand. As others have said here, the kinds of things people baked before the electrical appliance era were very different. Can you make Bostock over an open fire or in a wood-burning stove? That’s how people baked 250 years ago….

    • Ariane Paquette

    Do you have a recipe for making your own almond paste? Would love to try this recipe but almond paste is really hard to find where I live.

      • valerie

      Someone linked to a recipe in the comments above… a King Arthur recipe… I may give it a whirl!

    • Mary johnson

    I always appreciate recipes that give choices of what alternates to use though I think baking/ cooking is intuitive most of the time if you have done it most of your life. I also think with so many new bakers during the pandemic they need a little extra info. You always provide that. I love the way you write and speak about food.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks : ) I try to be inclusive so as many people can make the recipes as possible, especially since I know not everyone has the same access to equipment and ingredients. On the other hand, making marshmallows with a whisk (rather than a stand mixer) will be a major feat, or puff pastry without a rolling pin will be hard. I do like to present basic recipes although the owner of a culinary bookstore once told me I should write more recipes for professionals (!)

    • Joyce Konigsberg

    I love the flavor of almond paste. Any other great ways to use this mixture?

    • Anita Madison

    I’m a bit confused about your new newsletter. I’ve been a long time subscriber to your newsletter but do I need to resubscribe to keep getting it now that it’s in a new format?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      No, as mentioned here, if you were a previous subscriber you should be getting the newsletter just as you were. It’s been coming out on (or around) the first of the month so that isn’t changing. With the new format, there is a paid option if people would like to get additional newsletters and other content, such as recipes and additional missives, during the month, which readers can subscribe to if they wish.

        • Andrew Buchanan

        Thanks for this reply David. I was a bit confused about how to subscribe for the paid section, but now have. It may be worth sending a message specifically giving people the option to “click here” if they want to subscribe to the paid section as it effectively means resubscribing. Happy to pay to keep reading all you post!

    • Becky

    I love Bostock! My daughter-in-law frequently requests it, and since she gave me my first grandchild, I frequently oblige! I often use a schmear of jam, Bonne Maman quatre fruits is a favorite. I love orange flower water, but my favorite orange essence is fiori di sicilia from King Arthur. It’s my “secret” ingredient in everything from pound cake to french toast. Just a few drops gives a lovely orange/vanilla flavor.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I know a lot of people like that flavoring and it’s used (I think) in Pannetone as well!

      • Megan

      I’ve found myself with a large supply of marzipan but not almond paste. Any way to utilize it, or will it be too sweet?

    • Tamsin

    Hi David, sorry if I’m asking the obvious here! I really want to try making these but almond paste is pretty much impossible to find in the UK. I can get marzipan which is 50% almonds (the rest being sugar and glucose syrup) which seems to be higher in almond content than the almond paste photographed in your post. Do you think that would work? I’m wondering if over here almond paste is not sold as a separate product. Many thanks.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      According to Nigella Lawson, what’s labeled as marzipan in the UK is the same as almond paste. I’d never heard that and it’s interesting, so according to her article, you can use it. (But I’d read her article first to make sure.) If you do try it, let us know how it turns out!

        • Tamsin

        Thanks David! I’ll report back when I get a chance to make some.

    • Susan

    Thank you for this! I make a quick almond croissant by slicing a day-old croissant horizontally in half and spreading it with 2Tbsp’s of almond frangipane on one cut side, putting the other side back in place then spreading the top side with another 1or 2 Tbsps of the frangipane and topping it with the sliced almonds. It’s a savings to be able to use a good sliced bread to make this treat!

    • Nancy Schemanski

    Thank You so much for this recipe! When I read the title on my email, it was the very first thing I opened today.

    Zingerman’s bakery in Ann Arbor, MI, USA makes it, and is the only place I know of that does. I live 100 miles away, so don’t go there often, especially with quarantine. I am so excited to make it, and thank the person who sent the link on how to make your own almond paste, as well.

    • Mardell McCombs

    If you have a food processor homemade almond paste is very easy:
    1 1/2 cups almond flour or meal

    1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

    2 teaspoons almond extract

    1 teaspoon rose water

    1 egg white

    Place almond flour and powdered sugar in workbowl of food processor and pulse until combined and all lumps are broken up

    Add extracts and egg white and pulse till thick dough forms. If dough is very wet and sticky then add more almond flour and powdered sugar. Dough will firm up after it sets.

    Refrigerate until ready to use, will keep a month. Bring to room temp before using.

    Thanks to the Keto craze you can buy almond flour or meal in most grocery stores. Trader Joe’s has it also.

    I’m going to whip up a loaf of brioche and try this, David, sounds delish!

    • Deborah

    I have never gotten over the fact that I had to give up my Kitchenaid when we moved from California to Switzerland (power differences). I cannot bring myself to pay $800 for something that used to be available in Costco for $250! I finally bought a hand-mixer, but I find myself just not wanting to bake here :-(

      • Billie

      Hello, I had the same thing when I moved to Paris. I ended up buying a brand called Kenwood which has the same attachments as the Kitchenaid, plus the machine is similar in appearance as the stand model not the bowl lift. I really like it and it works great and is a fraction of the cost.

      • becky

      I brought mine to Germany – before we moved I was lucky enough to find an article about using a power converter – a big black ugly box (that I hid in a small bread box on the counter) that allowed me to use “Bertha” for another 6 years – that is, until during an attempted DIY repair, we managed to explode her. KitchenAid advocates neither the repair nor converter, by the way. After about 6 months of moping, I did manage to find one online for €379 – that was two years ago…look again, maybe you can find a deal!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      They are more expensive in Europe. (Because KitchenAid mixers are made in America, so there are the additional expense of shipping, customs, etc.) I get a lot of questions from people asking if they can use their American KitchenAid in Europe and asked KitchenAid, and posted their response here. There are some comments in that post from readers in Europe which are interesting, too.

      While KitchenAid mixers are more expensive in Europe, you can find them on sale from time to time in France at BHV department stores (especially during sale periods), electronics stores like Darty, websites like CDiscount, Amazon and Ubaldi, and if you know someone who has a membership at Metro (who has stores across Europe), they sell them there as well.

    • Izzy

    The moment I saw this picture on IG… it reminded me of twice baked brioche from Flour bakery by Joanne!

    • Susan

    The only association to Bostock has nothing to do with food and , bear with me, was the name of a family owned furniture store in the town where I grew up!!!!! I’m sure we don’t need to try and weave the 2 together!! Otherwise, have never heard of this confection before.

    • witloof

    What a gorgeous recipe! I had Bostock once in Paris and it was just swooningly delicious.

    There was a movie a long time ago about an elderly man who falls in love from afar with a young movie star named Ronnie Bostock He kept a scrap book of photos and newspaper articles about him and labeled it “Bostockiana.” I do not know why I remember this so clearly…

    • Christina

    Perfect timing! I just baked my first pan de mie, and as there are only two of us, I was wondering what to do with such a large loaf.

    Mom and I have an almond croissant every morning, when in France, so I have a feeling Bostock will be a very popular in our home.

    Your recipes have helped expand our waistlines for several years now, David, but the results are always worth the calories!

    • Gavrielle

    I disagree with Nigella that almond paste is always marzipan in the UK: I make it (for stollen) from a recipe in a British magazine and it’s referred to there as almond paste. I see some people are interested in making their own, which I recommend as it’s very easy and the taste is far superior to the bought stuff: the recipe I use is 125g/4 oz ground almonds, 100g/3.5 oz caster sugar, 175g/6oz icing sugar [powdered sugar], 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp lemon rind, 2 tsp lemon juice and a few drops of vanilla essence. (You can also add a few drops of almond essence if you like it; personally I find the taste too artificial.) Mix it in a bowl, knead until smooth and chill for an hour or so (let it come back up to room temp before using). Be warned, however, that it’s very addictive.

    • Kaye

    Your tip on making Bostock is a real “life saver”.. every Sunday I make pain perdu with brioche bread for the family and there is always some leftover. Not wanting to waste it, it usually ends up as croutons for soups. Bostock is so much better. You’re the best and merci!

    • jane

    This is like, the brunchiest, must have recipe ever, thank you! !

    • A

    Little Bird Bakeshop in Fort Collins, CO, has wonderful Bostock! I have been curious to try making it myself.

    • Monica

    Made Bostock years ago and think about it often because it was so surprisingly delicious. Love having your recipe to try (because your recipes are the best). I did want to ask/confirm that there’s no need for butter to make the almond cream? Thank you! (And also thanks for helping me figure out what happened to Love ‘n Bake almond paste!)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      There’s no butter in the almond topping. It took me a while to track down what happened to Love ‘n Bake but it seems like the company just decided to stop selling to the home market, and stick to professionals. It was too bad because their almond paste really is great but nice to know the paste is available, albeit in larger tins.

        • Monica

        Thank you, David!

    • Laura Glendinning

    My family loved this, especially my father-in-law who has experienced little to no French pastries. Just to be silly I tried hand mixing. Ha! But my Ninja blender did a fantastic job. I ended up having to cook them for 20 minutes to get the browning and rise.

    • Jim

    One answer to the “but I don’t have a stand mixer” might be to look for older cookbooks. I don’t have a stand mixer, but Judith and Evan Jones’s book, “The Book of Bread,” from 1982, has a recipe for brioche dough that doesn’t mention one. It’s what I use–and the resulting Bostock were wonderful!

    • María Cristina Lázaro Sanz

    I’ve eaten this, eons ago, made with regular bread, condensed milk and almond slices on top.
    In Spain, marzipan is a baked pastry made with almond paste. Mazapán.

    • Ledys

    It was delicious, thank you, David!! I had to make my own almond paste, and gluten-free bread so my daughters could have it, but everybody liked it and I am definitely adding to my recipe rotation. Do you have any suggestions for other uses for the almond paste? Thinking of you and wondering if you are eating crêpes today :-) Thank you, and best wishes!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, give this moist Almond Cake a go!

    • Amy

    Thank you for the recipe. Our local French bakery makes these, and they are a favorite of my son. I never considered making them but now will give it a try.

    • Nathan Langdon

    Hi David. Thanks for sharing! Can we talk about that beautiful loaf of brioche with the swirly top? Can you share a recipe or the boulangerie? I want some!

    • Claudiaathome

    Just made the bostock for maybe the 10th time. It dawned on me to try a food processor instead of a mixer. World of difference


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