Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Gregg's Favourite Puddings Cookbook Review

The review will be short and sweet this week. I'm not quite sure where the time has gone but again I've been lax in my cookbook reviews. That hasn't stopped me taking out about 15 at the library, and making an order from The Book People for even more!

This weekend I was in Edinburgh to visit a lovely friend which was great. I can highly recommend a restaurant in Leith called The Compass - had a lovely smoked salmon and caper salad.

Last week I finally tried a recipe I've lusted after for a while in Gregg's Favourite Puddings - the cherry and white chocolate tart. The book itself is really rather nice, though the recipes are nothing you couldn't find in a lot of other cookbooks. There are attractive photos for a lot of the recipes but not for all. As most of the recipes are recognisable it doesn't matter quite as much, people already have an idea of what the desserts look like.

The chapters are split into fruity, tarts, flans and cheesecakes, chocolate, classic puddings, ices and mousses and basics and bites. My favourite recipes were probably in the first and second chapters as I'm always partial to poached pears, tarte au citron and cheesecake. The cinnamon cheesecake sounds delicious and one I'm sure I'll get round to making one day, as well as the macadamia and vanilla tart. I like that there are some recipes that take some skill to make but also there are things you can whip up quite quickly like the baked bananas with fudge sauce.

I just made one recipe from this book which isn't the greatest test but at least I know how great the recipe for sweet pastry is which makes me think all the other tarts in the book will be delicious.

There was a photograph of this tart and I have to say my attempt didn't look too different which is reassuring! The addition of cinnamon in the pastry added a lovely background flavour though not overpowering. My rolling skills are not very good when it comes to sweet pastry so my base was much thicker than it should have been - how do you do it without breaking the pastry - so it wasn't as fine as it should have been but it cooked well. I didn't actually get to eat much of this tart as La Mama seemed to love it! The section without cherries was for my picky brother.

I had quite a bit of filling left as my case was smaller than required, but this was actually great news as I cooked the filling in some ramekins in a bain marie. Oh wow, I think I preferred this to the tart! It was like a crema catalana which I adore. I'll definitely be making this again, and then at least I can avoid rolling out the pastry! It was also a nice surprise that the filling mixture wasn't over-sweet which could have been a problem with so much white chocolate. It just gave it a rich vanilla flavour - very delicious indeed.

Whether it's a book that you need to rush out and buy I'm not sure but I would recommend borrowing it from your library and having a go at a few things. The triple chocolate brulees look very impressive and I really want to try making the chocolate pancakes with rum butter - I can imagine how nice that would be with some Sailor Jerry's rum. What I would like to know is - just how many of these desserts has Gregg Wallace made himself?! Still, the quote on the front of the book made me laugh : "Gregg is the best possible judge of a good pudding" - Michel Roux Jr!


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