SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

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Ask any of my Certificate Course students where they would like to work when they finish their stint at the Ballymaloe Cookery School – at least a quarter will sigh wistfully and mention Ottolenghi and indeed many of my past students have worked there and loved their experience.

Yotam Ottolenghi, the Israeli-British chef, restaurateur, deli owner and bestselling food writer has won all our hearts with his chic and delicious food.
Sumac, zatar, pomegranate molasses are stocked in virtually every supermarket. Frekkah, mahleb, dried limes, rose petals and pistachios are also familiar ingredients to virtually all keen cooks – the ‘Ottolenghi effect’ but for many it’s the irresistible huge billowy meringues, luscious cakes, fancy friands, dainty financiers and pastries that they lust after.

Recipes for some of these specialties are sprinkled through Yotam’s earlier books, Ottolenghi The Cookbook, Jerusalem, Plenty, Plenty More…he and his business partner Sami Tamimi also have an uncanny knack for displaying the food, so it is beyond irresistible. They use beautiful ingredients, no grey or fawn food, it’s all super colourful and most importantly it is super delicious. In his latest book SWEET, Yotam has teamed up with Malaysian born, Helen Goh, a doctor of psychology, who was head pastry chef at Donovan’s, a landmark restaurant in a suburb of Melbourne and well known for its delicious cakes. A friend tipped off Yotam that Helen was coming to London and the rest is history.

Yotam and Helen have collaborated and meticulously tested recipes for over two years and the end result is SWEET, the book that his legions of fans have been waiting for…..110 innovative recipes. The advance publicity promised ‘it will bring the Ottolenghi hallmarks of fresh, evocative ingredients, exotic spices and complex flavourings – including rose petal, saffron, aniseed, orange blossom, figs, pistachio and cardamom to indulgent cakes, biscuits, tarts, puddings, cheesecakes and ice cream.’

This is one of those rare books that you’ll want to cook your way from cover to cover and how about all that sugar…well, Yotam and Helen feel that there’s nothing wrong with a bit of sugar and baking some sweet treats from time to time. Mummy always had something homemade in the tin to serve with a cup of tea when friends dropped in, which was often…..

However there’s a lot wrong with gorging on stuff with a million ingredients that you haven’t made yourself and can’t even pronounce half of the long list of ingredients.
So difficult to choose what to include in this column but here’s a few temptations to make you want to rush to your local book shop to secure your very own copy – also a perfect present for a sweet toothed friend. You’ll have to buy the book to get the recipes for Love cakes, frozen espresso parfait for a crowd and chocolate tart with hazelnuts, rosemary and orange…these could well become their favourite dinner party desserts.

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Hot Tips
‘Saturday Pizza’ Masterclass at the Ballymaloe Cookery School with
Bed and Breakfast at Ballymaloe House
Join Philip Dennhardt at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Friday 10th November and enjoy a three hour Pizza Masterclass. Philip will take you through all the basic ingredients from making dough, getting the best results from your oven and delicious ways to use classic and contemporary toppings.
Following Philip’s Pizza class, check in to Ballymaloe House on the same evening and enjoy a 5 course dinner in the charming surroundings of the house & gardens.
Dinner, bed & breakfast with Philip’s Pizza Masterclass from €275.00 per person sharing. http://www.ballymaloe.ie/blog-item/pizza-masterclass or www.cookingisfun.ie

Check out Listowel Food Fair, one of the originals and still one of the best. It runs from 9th -12th November 2017. See the website www.listowelfoodfair.ie for lots of info on competitions, cooking, tasting, family fun, a farming seminar and lots more….

Find of the Week:- . I’ve just discovered the delicious smoked black and white pudding from The Smokin’ Butcher, Hugh Maguire based in Ashbourne, Co Meath – love it for breakfast and we’ve all being enjoying it as a starter with caramelised apple and grainy mustard sauce. Tel: – 086 893 9964 http://hughmaguirebutchers.com/

Wild Food of the Week:- Burdock can be found in woodland and on waste ground. The leaves and stalks can be boiled and eaten with melted butter in spring time but right now burdock root can be peeled and boiled in salted water, sautéed in butter, much like Jerusalem artichokes.

School Lunch Box Suggestion: – Pumpkin soup, fill a flask with pumpkin soup as part of a warm and comforting school lunch, add a couple of brown scones.

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6 approximately

560g (1 1/4lb) pumpkin, preferably organic, chopped
45g (1 1/2oz) butter
110g (4oz) onion, chopped
140g (5oz) potatoes, chopped
salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar
1.1Litre (2 pints/5 cups) homemade light chicken or vegetable stock
62ml (2 1/2fl oz/generous 1/4 cup) creamy milk, (optional)
2 teaspoons thyme leaves, chopped

Garnish
a little lightly whipped cream

Melt the butter and when it foams add the chopped vegetables, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sugar. Cover with a butter paper (to retain the steam) and a tight fitting lid. Leave to sweat gently on a low heat for about 10 minutes approx.

Remove the lid, add the stock and boil until the vegetables are soft. Pour the soup into the liquidiser. Add the freshly chopped thyme, purée until smooth. Add a little creamy milk if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning

Garnish with a speckle of the whipped cream.

Ottolenghi’s Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs
This is a stunning dessert for a special occasion. Pavlova is the dessert to make when you have a bit of time and are feeding people you adore. The recipe calls for flaked almonds but you can easily substitute those with chopped pistachios.

Serves 10-12 (it’s quite rich, so the slices are not too big)

20 g flaked almonds
50 g dark cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
600 g fresh figs, cut into 1 cm discs
3 teaspoons honey

Meringue
125 g egg whites (from 3 large eggs)
125 g caster sugar
100 g dark muscovado sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Praline Cream
50 g flaked almonds
80 g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
200 ml double cream
400 g mascarpone

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°F/gas mark 3.

Spread out all the almonds (for both the pavlova and the praline, 70g) on a baking tray and toast for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, divide into two piles (20 g for the pavlova, 50 g for the praline) and set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C/100°F/gas mark ½. Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and trace a circle, about 23cm in diameter, onto the paper. Turn the paper over so the drawn –on circle is facing down but still visible.

First make the meringue:- pour enough water into a medium saucepan so that it rises a quarter of the way up the sides: you want the bowl from your electric mixer to be able to sit over the saucepan without touching the water. Bring the water to a boil.

Place the egg whites and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk by hand to combine. Reduce the heat under the saucepan so that the water is just simmering, then set the mixer bowl over the pan, making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bow. Whisk the egg whites continuously by hand until they are warm, frothy and the sugar is melted, about 4 minutes, then transfer back to the electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place and whisk on a high speed for about 5 minutes until the meringue is cool, stiff and glossy. Add the cinnamon and whisk to combine.

Spread the meringue inside the drawn circle, creating a nest by making the sides a little higher than the centre. Place in the oven and bake for 3 hours, then switch off the oven but leave the meringues inside until they are completely cool: this will take about 2 hours. Once cool, remove from the oven and set aside.

Place the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl and set it over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Cool slightly, and then brush the chocolate inside the meringue nest, leaving the top and sides bare. Do this gently, as the meringue is fairly delicate. Leave to set for about 2 hours.

Next make the praline: place the 50 g toasted almonds on a parchment lined baking tray (with a lipped edge) and set aside. Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and place over a medium low heat, stirring until the sugar has melted. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until it turns a dark golden brown. Pour the cream over the nuts (don’t worry if they’re not all covered) and leave until completely cool and set. Once cool, transfer the praline to the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until fine.

Place the cream, mascarpone and blitzed praline in a large bowl and whisk for about 1 minute, until stiff peaks form .be careful not to over whisk here – it doesn’t take much to thicken up or it will split. If this begins to happen, use a spatula to fold a little more cream into the mix to bring it back together. Refrigerate until needed.

To assemble:- spoon the cream into the centre of the meringue and top with the figs. Warm the honey in a small saucepan and stir through the 20 g almonds (or pistachios). Drizzle these over the figs and serve.

Taken from SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh published by Ebury Press

Ottolenghi’s Mont Blanc Tarts
Makes 8

You will need eight mini fluted tins, about 8-9 cm wide and 2-3cm deep. Alternatively you can make this in one large fluted tart tin, around 25 cm wide and 3 cm deep.

The pastry can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in the fridge (wrapped in cling film) until ready to roll. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. The candied pecans can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept in an airtight container.

Once assembled the tarts are best eaten on the day they are baked.

Flaky Pastry
200 g plain flour
120 g unsalted butter, fridge cold, cut into 1 cm dice
30 g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons ice cold water

Candied Pecans
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
1 tablespoon caster sugar
120 g pecan halves
1/8 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Filling
60 g dark cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
320 g sweetened chestnut spread (we use Clement Faugier; whichever brand you use just make sure that it is not the unsweetened variety)

Vanilla Whipped Cream
300 ml double cream
1 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon brandy

For the pastry: place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz a few times, until it is the consistency of fine breadcrumbs, then add the vinegar and water. Continue to work for a few seconds, then transfer to your work surface. Shape into a ball and flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°F/gas mark 6.

To line the tart cases:- allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes (if it has been in the fridge for more than a few hours) and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to about 3 mm thick and cut out eight circles, 14 cm wide. Re roll the dough if necessary to get eight circles. Transfer one circle at a time to the 8-9 cm wide and 2-3 cm deep fluted tins and gently press the pastry into the corners of the tart tin: you want it to fit snugly and for there to be a decent amount of pastry hanging over the edge of the tart case, as the pastry can shrink a little when baked. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

To blind bake the tart cases: line the pastry bases with baking parchment or paper liners and fill with baking beans. Bake for 18 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown at the edges. Remove the beans and paper and cook for another 8 minutes until the base is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely in the tray. Once cool, trim the pastry (so that it c can be removed from the tray) and set aside until ready to fill.

Increase the oven temperature to 210°C/190°C/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray (with a lipped edge) with baking parchment and set aside.

To make the candied pecans: put the maple syrup, glucose and sugar into a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir gently until the sugar has melted, then add the pecans and salt. Stir so that the nuts are coated in syrup, then tip the nuts on to the lined baking tray. Place in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the syrup is bubbling around the nuts. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside until completely cooled. When the nuts are cooled, the glaze should be completely crisp, if not return them to the oven for a few more minutes. Once cooled, break or roughly chop the nuts into 0.5cm pieces and set aside until ready to use.

Make the filling:- when you are ready to assemble, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted, then use a pastry brush to line the inside of the each case with the chocolate. Set aside for about 30 minutes, to set, then fill with enough chestnut spread so that it rises about halfway up the sides of the tart cases.

For the vanilla whipped cream, pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and brandy and whisk on a high speed for 1 minute, or until medium soft peaks form.

Divide the whipped cream between the tarts, so that it is slightly domed on top of the chestnut spread. Sprinkle the candied pecans generously on top – you might have a tablespoons or two left over, but these can be saved to munch on, to sprinkle over your next bowl of breakfast granola or porridge. Serve.

Taken from SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh published by Ebury Press

Ottolenghi’s Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnuts and Rose Water

The cake is best eaten on the day it is made. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, where it will keep for up to 2 days. Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving so that it is not fridge cold.

Serves 8

For the Cake
120 g walnut halves
6 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
215 g caster sugar
215 g dark cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped or broken up
2½ teaspoons instant coffee granules
50 ml hot water

Caramelised Walnut Topping
30 g caster sugar
40 g walnut halves, roughly chopped

Rose Water Cream
380 ml double cream
2½ tablespoons icing sugar
1½ tablespoons rose water (not rose essence)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Grease a 35 cm x 25 cm Swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment, then set aside.

Spread 120 g walnuts out on a baking tray and roast for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop and set aside until assembling the cake. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/180°F/gas mark 6.

To make the cake:- place the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat on a medium high speed and with the machine still running, gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick, lighter in colour and trebled in volume.

While the yolks are beating, place the chocolate pieces in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Place the coffee granules in a small cup and dissolve in 50 ml of hot water. Add the coffee to the chocolate and stir gently (it will seize up if you stir too often or too vigorously) until the chocolate has completely melted. Turn off the heat and fold the yolk and sugar mix into the chocolate mixture in three batches.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Whisk on a high speed until stiff peaks form, and then fold gently into the chocolate mix. Scrape the mixture into the tin, spreading over the surface so that it is even. Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, then set aside to cool completely.

To caramelise the walnuts:- line a small baking tray (with a lipped edge) with baking parchment. Place the sugar and 40 g of walnuts in a small sauté or frying pan and cook over a medium high heat until the sugar begins to melt and turn a pale amber colour. Use a spatula to stir the walnuts and sugar together, so that the walnuts are evenly coated. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the caramel is a dark amber and the walnuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and pour onto the lined tray. Set aside to cool, then roughly break any clumps of walnuts into smaller pieces. You can make these in advance and store them in an airtight container.

To make the rose water cream:- once the cake is cool, place all the ingredients for the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Whip until soft peaks form, then set aside in the fridge until ready to assemble the cake.
Turn the cooled cake out onto a chopping board and remove the tin and paper. Place a second chopping board on top of the cake and flip it back over so that the crust side of the cake is facing upwards.
Trim about 0.5cm off the short edges of the cakes, then cut the sponge into three even pieces, each about 25 x 11 cm. carefully transfer one piece of cake onto a serving platter and spread one third of the rose water cream evenly over the surface of the cake. Sprinkle half the roasted walnuts over the cream and place another layer of sponge on top. Repeat with the cream and remaining walnuts, then place the final layer of sponge on top. Dollop and spread the remaining cream on top of the cake. Sprinkle the caramelised walnuts on top of the cream and serve.

Taken from SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh published by Ebury Press

Ottolenghi’s Saffron, Orange and Honey Madeleines

Traditionally, madeleines are best eaten as close to coming out of the oven as possible. The beating together of the eggs and sugar makes them super light and fluffy, but it’s all the air incorporated into them that also makes them dry out so quickly, if left to sit around for too long.
Here, untraditionally we forgo all the beating and just place the ingredients in a food processor. Mixing them this way means that the resulting madeleines won’t be quite as light as those made by hand whisking, but they’re every bit as delicate and buttery as you’d hope. We love the saffron here, but the spice is not to everyone’s liking so you can leave it out, if you prefer and focus on the orange and honey instead.

Makes about 22

90 g unsalted butter, plus an extra 20 g, melted for brushing
2 teaspoons honey, plus an extra 3 tablespoons for glazing
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, optional
2 large eggs
75 g caster sugar
Scraped seeds of ¼ vanilla pod
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange (1 teaspoon)
90 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
20 g shelled pistachio kernels, finely blitzed

Place the butter, honey and saffron threads (if using) in a small saucepan over low heat until butter has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to come to room temperature.
Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla seeds and orange zest in a food processor and mix until smooth and combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add to the egg mixture.

Pulse a few times, just to mix in, and add the cooled butter, honey and saffron mixture. Process once more to combine, then pour the batter into a small bowl. Cover with cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°F/gas mark 6. If you are using metal madeleine trays, brush the moulds with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with flour. Silicone trays should not need any greasing or flouring, but you can lightly brush with a little melted butter if you like. Tap to ensure that all the moulds are dusted and then shake off the excess flour.
Spoon a heaped teaspoon of batter into each mould; it should rise two-thirds of the way up the sides of the moulds. If you only have one madeleine tray, place the remaining batter in the fridge until you have baked the first batch. You will need to wash and dry the mould completely before greasing and flouring again and repeating with the second batch.

Bake for 9–10 minutes until the madeleines are beginning to brown around the edges and they spring back once the tapped lightly in the middle. Remove the tray (s) from the oven and set aside for a minute before releasing the cakes. The best way to do this, with a metal tray is to go around the edges of each madeleine with a small knife or spatula (to make sure they are not stuck) and then tap the edge of the tray on the bench until they fall out. With a silicone tray they should just fall out of their moulds. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.

Pile the blitzed pistachios on to a plate in a straight line and set aside. Melt the 3 tablespoons of honey in a small saucepan until very runny, then brush lightly over the shell patterned side of one madeleine. With the shell side facing down towards the nuts, roll the narrower end of the madeleine along the pile of pistachios so that you have a straight 1 cm strip of pistachios at the base of the madeleine. Repeat with the remaining madeleines and place on a serving platter, nut side up.
Taken from SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh published by Ebury Press

Ottolenghi’s Coconut Almond and Blueberry Cake

This cake is super simple and wonderfully moist. It’s also versatile, happy to be served warm for dessert with some double cream poured over or at room temperature when it’s time for tea.
This cake will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminium foil. It also freezes well for up to a month.

Serves 10-12

180 g ground almonds
60 g desiccated coconut
250 g caster sugar
70 g self raising flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
200 g unsalted butter, melted, then set aside to come to room temperature
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (2 teaspoons)
200 g fresh blueberries
20 g flaked almonds

Grease and line a 23 cm round cake tin. preheat the oven to 180°C/160°F/gas mark 4.

Place the almonds, coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to aerate and remove the lumps.

Place the eggs in a separate bowl and whisk lightly. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest and whisk again until well combined. Pour this in the dry mix and whisk to combine. Fold in 150 g blueberries, then pour the mixture into the tin. sprinkle the last of the blueberries on top, along with the flaked almonds, and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Keep a close eye on it towards the end of cooking, the relatively large number of eggs in the mix means that it can co from still being a little bit liquid in the centre to being well cooked in just a few minutes.
Set aside for 30 minutes before inverting out of the tin, remove the baking parchment and place the cake the right way up on a serving plate. It can either be served warm with cream or set aside to cool.

Taken from SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, published by Ebury Press

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Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

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