Welcome to this month’s instalment of The Everyday Baker review (I’m spreading it out over the course of a year because with over 170 recipes and 600+ pages, it’s a little hard to cover unless you divide it up into chapters!). This month, we’re looking at “Puddings and Custards”.
Custards are definitely something that many people shy away from (cooking egg yolks? Uh huh…) and other classic puddings like mousses, soufflés and crème caramels aren’t exactly what many people would call “easy” desserts yet in this chapter, Abby works to dispel the myth of the “difficult” pudding or custard.
Puddings and Custards Recipes
There are 17 recipes in this chapter, ranging from honey trifles to fancier desserts (many French) – soufflés, panna cotta, mousse, crème caramel and pots de crème. If you’re interested in perfecting techniques for making these types of dishes, this is the chapter for you.
Puddings and Custards Techniques and Tips and Baker’s Wisdom
This chapter covers a lot of techniques you’ll need to perfect puddings and custard-based desserts. There’s one of the best visual aids for teaching people how to separate eggs (as a children’s cookery teacher, I often take this knowledge for granted but come my new session of classes, I’ll be using Abby’s wisdom to help me explain to the boys how to properly separate eggs!) as well as countless other tips like: working with large blocks of chocolate (want shards, chunks, curls or shavings? Abby’s got you covered!), how to assemble a soufflé (with wonderful step-by-step pictures to show you how to make gorgeously high soufflés), a personal favourite of mine – brûléeing tips, working with a water bath, assembling an icebox cake or even tips for ensuring a smooth, lump-free mousse. A lot of these desserts *look* simple (and indeed, they are not complex and many of them don’t require many ingredients at all) but some of the techniques involved need a little explanation so they are just as easy to master making as they look. Abby also shares her Baker’s Wisdom as she helps you navigate the world of canned pumpkin purée (tip: the organic kind can be more watery) and offers tips for making sure you always have fresh cranberries to use (sometimes dried just won’t do).
The genius in this chapter is in the recipes, though. They are well-written, concise and clear and will put any nervous baker’s mind at ease as they tackle these desserts. It’s almost like Abby’s right there with you in the kitchen, talking you through each step!
What recipe did I make?
To be honest, I steered clear of the recipes that are very similar to the ones I am working on for my own cookbook (though I did, of course, read them!) and chose a recipe that *nearly* ended up in my cookbook approved list but at the last minute, didn’t quite get there (Book 2?). Which one? (No-Bake Double Chocolate) Pots de Crème. A classic French dessert typically baked in a waterbath but with Abby’s magical combination of just the right amounts of cream, butter and chocolate these end up lusciously creamy and decadently chocolatey. I’ll probably never bake another pot de crème in my life, these were so good. Perfect for a novice baker as well (so, children) and if you fancy them up a little, noone will ever know how easy they are! I halved the recipe and it made 4 that I served in tiny yoghurt jars. Just the perfect amount to satisfy a sweet tooth after dinner.
As I cook and bake my way through nearly 70 recipes for my own book, I know these will make an appearance in my fridge from time to time. The treat for the baker who is too tired to bake any more. And who doesn’t want to eat more of her own food LOL 😉
Please note: The product links from Amazon and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: Abby is a friend but she didn’t ask me to write about the book. In fact, she didn’t even know I had a copy until I told her!