Category Archives: Techniques

Salted Caramel Sauce

Essentials time! Caramel sauce is an essential, right? No, I jest (I don’t). By essentials, what I mean is that sometimes it’s nice just to go right back to basics and discover the elements to what often makes up part of a larger dish. I’ve used this caramel sauce of a huge about of bakes – whether used in a drizzle, a filling or sandwiched in-between two sponges.
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Rhubarb & Custard Cheesecake

Rhubarb is still in season and as i’m sure you’ll all agree is the fruit of the gods. You’ve previously seen my Rhubarb Curd, which we’ll utilise in this recipe, but we’ll also be trying out some other techniques: jelly, cheesecake and custard to create a show-stopping dessert perfect for a summer’s weekend.
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White Chocolate & Raspberry Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

So no joke, this is probably the most classic recipe I’ve ever done. Bread and butter Pudding. Is there a more British dessert? This super-delish pudding uses bread (duh), which is layered and soaked in an egg custard mixture. Traditional recipes call for raisins and nutmeg, but i’ve gone a little off-piste and served this with the classic – in it’s own right – combination of raspberries and white chocolate. To toe the line of tradition, I’ve also incorporated some spice in the form of cinnamon and ginger, but they’re certainly not the lead flavour.
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Grapefruit Curd

Another week, another curd recipe. Why? Because, despite it’s name, it’s one of the best things in the world, bar none. Tangy and fruity and sour and perfect in yoghurt, on toast, in cake, on  cake…pretty much anything. This grapefruit curd was part of a bigger recipe, which is coming and incorporates two different curds – this one and this one – in one big show-stopping cake.
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The Best Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry

Shortcrust pastry is a b-e-a-utiful thing. It’s homely, it’s great to make, it’s simple and it’s versatile. From the decadent to the classic to the fun. I thought I’d show you guys a fool-proof way of creating the most crumbly, delicate pastry ever.

I’ve always made pastry the classic way – the rubbing of the butter and flour together to create breadcrumbs and to be honest, results have often been mixed. This led me to research the best ways to create the perfect pastry and I learned about the creaming method. This is exactly how it sounds – you cream the butter and sugar together before adding the flour and water. I’ll be honest with you: it’s a game changer.

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Mini Egg Nest Cake

OK. So confession time. This is the first time I have purchased corn flakes as an adult. I know, I know, but I’m just not a cereal guy! I’m a toast or pastry kinda guy. And so as the cereal box made it’s way down the conveyor belt I couldn’t help but smile at that very the very first time I am buying them as an adult is to make…a giant chocolate cornflake nest. Is there anything more reminiscent of childhood at Easter than that?

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Raspberry Pavlova Cake

Is it summer yet? No, not quite, but you could be fooled if you closed your eyes and ate a fork full of this dessert. It has all the flavours and ingredients of a Great British summer (sans rain). Yes, yes…Pavlova is German, but us Brits have taken it to our hearts and to our picnics and to our dessert tables. And we love it so. Because I’m not quite ready for summer yet, I didn’t go the hole damn way and create a pavlova. Instead, I’ve taken elements from one of my all time favourite desserts and incorporated them into a cake.

Inbetween the sponges, you’ve got the most awesome chewy meringue that takes you right to that picnic blanket or dessert table and shouts one thing at you: RASBPERRY PAVLOVA!
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The Art Of: Italian Meringue

Welcome, followers and new readers to a new series which looks at some of the technical components of a dish, rather than a complete recipe. I thought one of the best skills to master would be meringue. Why? Because 70% of my recipes use it (I jest, but also…)

Meringue can take many different a guise – whether it be baked or soft and can be made in a variety of ways, each one using a specific method to produce a different result than one another.
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Simple White Crusty Loaf

The first weekend of the year is here, and I’m still very much in the baking mindset that  set in over Christmas – and I’m talking about the relaxing, therapeutic baking – doing something a little different that I’m not that familiar with – and after almost 2 years of Baker Man, here is the very first bread recipe. No way, you say!
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Lemon Sorbet Chocolates

It’s gift-giving time, and these homemade chocolates make for a wonderful, personalised gift – and the best thing about them? Once you have the mould, you can create a multitude of different chocolates – whether they’re solid, oozing with a caramel centre, filled with some kind of ganache…whether they’re fruit, chocolate or nutty…the possibilities are endless.

These lil’ guys are my Lemon Sorbet chocolates. A milk chocolate shell filled with a layer of lemon curd and a layer of lemon white chocolate ganache, these guys are finished with a gold dusting because, well…because it’s Christmas and everything needs that extra sparkle, right?

lemon sorbet chocolates 3

So easy to make, and so impressive to give as a gift.

INGREDIENTS:

Yields: 24 chocolates

SHELL
200g Milk Chocolate

FILLING
100g white chocolate
50ml double cream
Lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon curd


SHELLS

First, dust the moulds with gold lustre dust. Next, you need to temper the chocolate. I do this without a thermometer, and it’s pretty simple. Break the milk chocolate into chunks and heat 130g of it over a bain marie. Wait until 1/3rd of the chocolate is melted and then stir continuously to melt the the rest. Once the rest has melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining 70g. Stir until the rest of the chocolate has melted and it’s become duller in colour and thicker in consistency. This could take up to about 20 minutes. Test the temperature by putting a spot of chocolate just under your bottom lip. If it’s cool to the feel, it’s ready.

Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared mould and swirl around to cover all sides of each crevice. Once done, turn over and tap the side with a wooden spoon over greaseproof paper so most of the chocolate falls out. Turn back over and place in the fridge to set for at leats half an hour.

lemon sorbet chocolates 2

FILLING
Mix the zest and the lemon extract with the cream and pout over the broken up white chocolate. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix. Another 30 seconds and stir again until the white chocolate is fully melted and glossy. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Once done, remove from the fridge and with a hand mixer, beat the ganache until it’s pale and fluffy. Decant into a piping bag fit with a plain nozzle.

FINISHING
Remove the shells from the fridge and place a spot of the curd in each. Top with a little of the ganache, leaving room at the top for the base chocolate. Once all shells are filled, pour over the remaining chocolate and scrape all the excess chocolate away with a bench scraper. Leave to set for a further 30 minutes to an hour.

To realise from the moulds, all it takes is a good hard tap against a counter and they should come out with ease.

lemon sorbet chocolates

Mini Gingerbread Houses

So it’s the middle of November and…dare I say it, I’m feeling festive? My Christmas shopping is over 50% done –  a record for me – and I’ve already purchased the wrapping paper and my Christmas baking has started in earnest. Last year, I did very little – I made a not-so great Christmas Cake and some mince pies and I would say that’s about it.  This year, I knew I had to make more of an effort, so here I am, in November, putting ginger in everything.

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