Baking is certainly big news at the moment with a high television profile and baking shows becoming a firm fixture in the foodie calendar. Great British bake off with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, Eric Lanyards, Baking Mad, Rachel Allen, Nigella and Nigel Slater are just a few who are fuelling the fire.
For me if I was pushed to choose a section in the kitchen it would be the pastry, it would be a tough choice but, if I had to, that is the way I would jump. Bread, cakes, chocolate, beautiful fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, cream, butter and of course eggs would all be part of the attraction! I try to apply the same principles to our pastry section as to the rest of the kitchen, it’s all about great quality ingredients and keeping things as seasonal as possible.
I have been working with free range egg producers Blackacre farm for several years now and an exciting recent development is the introduction of their Waddling Free duck eggs. Duck eggs have a reputation as being excellent for baking, producing lighter, fluffier and more moist confections. A long shelf life, omega three fatty acids, high in vitamin D and an alkaline producing food are all reported benefits of duck eggs. Most importantly from the cooks point of view they taste delicious! The only possible down side I have found is that the whites seem to take more effort to beat, an electric mixer is certainly an advantage.
One of the recent chocolates I have introduced at the restaurant is a lemon, vanilla and white chocolate ganache and this in turn led me to make a lemon and white chocolate roulade when I had some friends around for dinner.
Simple to make but a real treat, I hope you get into the kitchen and enjoy some baking.
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
120g double cream plus 10g semi skim milk
220g good quality white chocolate
2g leaf gelatine(usually one sheet)
210g double cream plus 20g semi skimmed milk whipped to very soft peak
Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl either on a low setting in the microwave or over a pan of gently simmering water. Soak the gelatine in cold water. Bring the cream and milk to a simmer, remove from the heat and add the soaked gelatine. Stir to dissolve the gelatine.
Gently whisk the cream mix into the white chocolate to form a ganache. Check that the temperature is around 35-40? and then fold in the whipped cream. Pour into a plastic container and allow to set in the fridge for at least two hours
3 Duck eggs, separated
85g icing sugar, sifted
25g soft pastry flour
1 lemon, zest only
Whisk the yolks with 2/3 of the sugar until thick and pale, whisk the whites to soft peak and then whisk in the remaining sugar. continue to whisk until a thick, glossy meringue is formed. Stir a third of the white into the yolk mix and then gently fold in the remainder. When three quarters mixed sift in the flours and continue to fold together, grate over the lemon zest and then mix until completely incorporated.
Line a swiss roll tin with silicone paper and then lightly butter and flour. Pour the sponge mix into the tray and level with a palette knife. Bake at 160? for 8-10 minutes until risen, firm and golden. Sprinkle with caster sugar and immediately invert onto a sheet of silicone paper. Remove the lining paper, trim the edges and roll up with the paper into the classic roulade shape. Allow to cool.
1 Quantity white chocolate mousse
150g homemade lemon curd
1 bar white chocolate for shaving
Green pistachios for decoration
Unroll the cooled sponge and with a palette knife spread the lemon curd over the inside surface keeping a 2cm margin around the edges. Top the lemon curd with 3/4 of the white chocolate mousse, working from the centre to the outside edges. Roll the roulade up and position with the seam at the bottom. Use the remaining mousse to spread a thin layer over the roulade. Shave curls off the back of the chocolate bar by pulling a heavy cooks knife towards you at an angle of about 30°. Scatter the chocolate shavings over the soft mousse on the roulade and then with a fine grater grate over some pistachio. Chill the roulade to set up firmly, removing from the fridge one hour before serving.