My rating: 5 stars
The best baking book for beginners
This book is the best beginners’ baking book I’ve seen in a long time. It really is a B.A.S.I.C baking book for complete duffers. The instructions are so detailed I got carpel tunnel from re-typing the recipes. The benefit to the reader is recipes that seem to work! Fillings that fit the tin! Recipes that give the tin size needed! NO SOGGY BOTTOMS WHEN FOLLOWING THE REALISTIC INSTRUCTIONS!!! (i.e. no stupid instructions saying “blind bake for 5 min” that is bu11 sh*t). All things that experienced bakers take for granted but novice bakers need to know. It also assumes no stand mixers nor machines so you can use this book without making serious financial investment.
More after the jump
Rose Prince started a home baking project to give her wayward kids some focus. After going slightly off the rails, her son became a professional baker and so it seems did she. Rose has channelled her instructive (but not patronising) voice into this wonderful book “The Pocket Bakery”. The book is named after her own bakery which now supplies some famous supermarkets in Britain. Rose specialises in sourdough loaves and it’s the first baking book I’ve seen that gives lengthy instructions with pictures on how to start a sourdough and knead etc. The book also covers pastries and cakes. The recipes are classics so don’t expect anything flashy or exotic. That said, the recipes are very pantry friendly. In fact, the recipes are detailed, well thought out and work so they will improve the self-esteem of a sulking, baking teenager. It talks a lot about British ingredients but doesn’t go too overboard with the “treacle” etc. It also gives recipes in metric, ounces, Celsius etc. so it’s a great book for any location.
This is the perfect book for the beginner baker. It’s not flashy, sexy or exotic but it seems to really work.
I sampled the Lemon Tart Recipe with Sweet Short Crust Pastry. It’s the first time I’ve baked a tart from a recipe where I don’t end up with a litre of filling left over [hello Maggie Beer : ( ]
Classic Lemon Tart by Rose Prince (adapted from The Pocket Bakery).
For the Pastry:
Note that the book puts pastry recipes in a separate section which is cross referenced. You need about half the quantity provided in the measures below.
Makes enough for 2 large tarts, 20 cm in diameter, 4 c m deep or 24 x 8 cm tartlets 2 cm deep
- 350 g/12 oz. plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
- Pinch salt
- 125g /4.5 oz. cold butter
- 125 g/4.5 oz. sugar
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
Put the flour and salt into a bowl. Take the butter from the fridge, put it between two pieces of greaseproof paper and bash it firmly with a rolling-pin until it is 1 cm/0.5 cm thick pliable but still cold. Put the butter into the bowl with the flour and tear it into pieces. Try to keep the butter coated with flour so it doesn’t stick. Gently flake the butter into the flour, with your fingers, rubbing lightly then delving back into the mixture to lift and rub. Stop flaking when the pieces of butter are the size of your little fingernail. Scatter the sugar over. Tip the eggs and extra yolk into the flour and mix everything together thoroughly with a spoon until you have lumpy dough. Turn the dough out onto the worktop then squeeze with your hand and push it with your knuckles until it’s a heavy smooth paste. Do not over work the dough the high butter and egg content mean it could become greasy. Form the dough into an oblong, wrap it in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
Lemon Tart Recipe
- Serves 6-8
- Equipment: 25 cm/10 inch tart tin, 4 cm deep with a loose base, placed on a baking sheet
- A butane blowtorch (optional)
- Flour, for dusting
- 300g/10.5 oz. Sweet Pastry (above) at room temperature
- 1 egg, beaten
- For the Filling:
- 6 eggs
- 300g/ 10.5 oz. caster sugar
- 300ml/1.5 pint freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 4 lemons
- 185 g/6.25 oz. double cream
- To seal the tart case:
- 1 egg beaten with a few grains of salt
- To serve:
- Icing sugar
- Whole filaments (pulp of the lemon, carefully cut out of lemon segments left on a cloth to dry
Lemon Tart Instructions
- First roll the pastry and line the tart tin. Make sure, when rolling, that the worktop is well dusted with flour and, as you roll it thin, check that it is not sticking. If it does, add more flour.
- Put the pastry on the floured worktop and tap with a rolling pin to flatten it a little. Roll the pin backwards and forward over the pastry once, then turn the disc 30 degrees. Roll back and forth again then turn again. Repeat this action several times, checking regularly that there is enough flour under the pastry and on the rolling pin to prevent sticking. At some point the pastry will be too thin to turn, so just adjust the direction you roll, checking that it is not sticking.
- Once the pastry is 1.4 cm/1/10 inch thick (or a little more if you are not confident), it must be very carefully picked up. Roll it onto the pin, keeping the rolling pin very close to it. Do not worry if there is any splitting; this pastry repairs easily once in the tin. Unroll it over the tin, quickly tucking it into the tin with your other hand as you go. Press the pastry into the corners of the tin, and against the sides. Allow it to fall over the top edge but do not trim; this can be done after cooking. Repair any holes or cracks with spare pastry , pressing it with your fingers. Do not prick with a fork ,, or the filling might escape. Put the tart case in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line the tine with baking paper and then fill with dry rice, beans or baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, take out the paper and beans, brush the inside with beaten egg to seal it and bake for another 5 minutes to crisp the base. Turn the oven down by 10 degrees.
- Meanwhile make the tart filling: whisk all the ingredients together, sieve them, and put them in a saucepan and heat, stirring until warm. Pour into the tart case and bake for about 20 minutes until the lemon filling sets.
- Take the tart out of the oven and allow to cool completely in the case. When cool, use a very sharp of fine serrated knife to trim the pastry – try hard not to get crumbs on the surface of the lemon tart. Before serving sift a little icing sugar on to the surface. Light the blowtorch (this is optional) and torch it in places to caramelise the sugar just a touch here and there. Finish by placing the lemon filaments on the surface.
I received my copy gratis but found good prices here http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Pocket-Bakery-Rose-Prince/9780297869382/?a_aid=COOKMYBOOKS