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Tips from Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy

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Baking Made Easy by Ella’s Bakehouse* founder Lorraine Pascale is currently on the Beeb. Being the oh-so-up-to-date-with-what’s-on-telly person that I am, I’ve been watching episode 2 this weekend, Speed Baking (the series is on episode 5).

I think the speed part is relative for a few of the recipes, as an hour for a few fruit tarts wouldn’t be considered quick in a lot of people’s books. However, Lorraine is recreating her version of traditional patisserie which is very complicated, difficult, requires a lot of skill most of the time and takes A Lot Of Time. An hour is nothing, so yes, it’s fast.

I really liked her idea of French patisserie that was healthier. I am all for a bit of butter and cream but it’s that moderation word. So the rest of the time, I like to have a healthier version that is real food and not some cardboard artificial version. That’s why I love her skinny fruit tarts even if I object to the word skinny. I expect she is talking to a section of the fashion industry. You know who you are.

Lorraine’s recipe is here. I’ll leave you to read that. I want to concentrate on some tricks she is using that she doesn’t include in her commentary and some tips of my own.

1. Cool hands. Chill the pastry before you start. Stay relaxed as nervousness will increase blood flow to your hands and warm them. It’s only a recipe and you wouldn’t be trying a new recipe for something important now would you?

2. The pastry is very thin. Clip your nails. If they are long or uneven, they will tear the pastry. If that happens, use the torn parts for the middle layers where it won’t show.

3. Melt the butter on a low heat. It looks like she is using about 3oz.

4. Bristle brushes are great. Check there are no loose bristles before using and wash afterwards by putting a bit of washing up liquid in a cup or bowl and pouring on hot water before soaking the brush. Repeat then rinse. Store downwards or sideways.

5. The pastry board needs to be cool. Use your kitchen surface if it’s granite (or marble!) or chill the board if you can beforehand.

6. Put a clean tea towel under the pastry board. It stops it moving.

7. Please set a timer for the baking. Filo can easily burn and your oven will be different to hers. They can burn especially easily in a fan oven as the atmosphere is drier. Take the tart cases out when golden brown. Did we mention to preheat the oven fully beforehand?

8. I would use vanilla extract instead of a vanilla pod in the yoghurt. Extract, not essence. A capful for the amount of yoghurt in this recipe. If you don’t have runny honey in the house, dissolve a level tablespoon of set honey with half a tablespoon of hot water and add that instead.

9. Make these soon before serving.

10. Her cheffy jam thing. Very easy to mess up the presentation. Get it right then add the tart to the plate!

To make this vegan/dairy free, use soy yogurt and vegan margarine like Pure instead of butter. If vegan, use sugar instead of honey, and I can’t see why the sugar or honey can’t be omitted altogether. Check the pack of filo to make sure an ingredient isn’t there that shouldn’t be, like whey solids.

Et voila!

* Ella’s Bakehouse is v. famous. Lorraine Pascale, its founder, is a former model.


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