Friday, March 11, 2011

Sky-High Coffee Hazelnut Praline Cake & a book review

I like coffee, I love coffee, I am addicted to coffee, I am obsessed with coffee! So when I received a preview copy of ookery School by Michelin-starred Chef Richard Corrigan to review, It did not take me much time to zero in on my favourites: Tiramisu & Coffee Walnut Praline cake. So yesterday afternoon I invited my lovely friend 'P', a novice baker, for her comments. 'P' was my sous chef for the day and in no time both of whipped up this massive cake, sky-high coffee cake, reserving the Tiramisu and the related post for a very, soon to come, special occasion! I am not a big fan of walnuts and have used hazelnuts instead but pretty much stuck to the original recipe as this is a review. I have so enjoyed watching Richard in Great British Menu & Gizzi's Cook Yourself Thin. It is a real pleasure to review this book by my favourite star chef!

Coffee Hazelnut/Walnut Praline Cake
Ingredients (Recipes extracted from 'ookery School', brought to you by Channel 4 with recipes by Richard Corrigan. Published on the 3rd March (Penguin HB, £20) 
For the Coffee Cake
300g unsalted butter,plus extra to grease the tins
300g caster sugar
5 eggs
300g self-raising flour, sifted
1 level tsp baking powder
4 tbsp strong freshly brewed coffee,cold
a splash of whole milk,if needed
For the Walnut/Hazelnut Praline
120g caster sugar
150g walnut halves/ hazelnuts
For the Coffee Icing
200g unsalted butter, softened(Iused 250g)
400g icicng sugar (I used 300g)
4 tbsp strong coffee,cold
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas4. Grease 3 6 inch loose bottom tins with butter & line the base with parchment.
  2. Place butter & sugar in a large bowl & whisk with an electric beater until the mixture becomes pale in colour. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Fold in the sifetd flour & baking powder. Next stir in the cooled coffee. If the mixture is too thick add a splash of milk.
  4. Divide the cake mixture between the tins and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. To test if the cakes are done, stick a skewer in the centre of each cake & if the skewer comes out clean, they are cooked. Take the cakes out & turn them on to a cooling rack. Peel the parchment.
  6. to make the walnut/hazelnut praline, place the sugar with 1 tsp water in a small non-stick pan over high heat without stirring until the sugar turns a light caramel colour. Add the walnut/hazelnut, stir well to coat in the caramel & pour on to a silicone mat. Using an oiled spoon set 8 of the caramel coated nut aside. 
  7. Once the caramel has cooled & set-about 15 min-place the mixture into a small food processor and blitz to the texture of rough crumbs. (I simply put them in a freezer bag & bashed them with a rolling pin ;-)).
  8. To make the icing, beat butter & the icing sugar until pale & fluffy. This should take around 5 minutes. Once the mixture has reached this stage beat in the coffee.
  9. Slice the 3 six inch cakes to halves so that you get 6 layers of sponge. Spread a generous amount of icing on the bottom layer of the cake & sprinkle the praline mix. Place the next layer and repeat steps. Spread the top layer with a thick coating of the icing, using most of the remaining icing.
  10. Put the remaining icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle on and pipe 6-8 rosettes around the edge of the cake. Top each rosette with the reserved caramel coated nut & sprinkle the middle with the remaining praline.
  11. To serve place the iced cake on a cake stand & cut into desired pieces.
There is plenty of choice with over 100 recipes and skills covering specific techniques, the book is made up of four chapters: Starters, Fish, Meat, and Puddings, with each chapter divided into Basic, Intermediate and Advanced sections. The book also includes step-by-step photographs to teach the techniques through a variety of recipes which are easy to reproduce by anyone, no matter what the level of skill might be. All along, it offers valuable tips and suggestions, picture tutorials. The recipes vary in levels of difficulty & complexity with Basic, Intermediate, Advanced & Super Advanced sections, offering classic puddings like Tiramisu on one end and an all out stunning Indian main course of Pilau, Okra-Ginger Kari & a spiced Pomegranate Raitha on the other. 
From chopping and clarifying to filleting a fish, jointing a chicken or making a crème anglaise (good old custard), readers will soon be cooking like a Michelin starred chef. Each week on the ookery School show, the students will master recipes from each of these areas, and readers can cook along with them using the book.

All the dishes are aspirational, from Griddled Leeks with a Honey and Mustard Dressing, to Pan-fried Beef with Tarragon and Chervil Sauce and Baked Beetroot or Clam Chowder with Mini Garlic Bread Loaves. These are dishes that are perfect to cook for family and friends, for everyday or for special occasions, and readers will turn to this book time and time again. 

Alongside Richard Corrigan’s delicious dishes, the book also features Gizzi Erskine’s ookery School notes on fish, beef, bread, cheese, marinades, herbs and more. 

About the book & the show ookery School is a learn-to-cook book for everyone, whether readers are complete beginners in the kitchen, or if they want to advance their skills. With recipes developed by Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan and ‘lessons’ by Gizzi Erskine as seen on the show, this book allows readers to learn to cook with ookery School. 

ookery School is on Channel 4 every day for 10 weeks from the 31st January at 2.05pm. The book to accompany the series ‘ookery School’, with recipes by Richard Corrigan is available, published by Penguin Books, priced £20. 

About the Chef

Richard was born in County Meath, Ireland, to a farming family for whom ‘the supply chain was as short as it gets’. Richard has been a head chef for fifteen years, winning his first Michelin star in the mid-1990s for Lindsay House. In 2005 he bought Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill and he has rejuvenated this much-loved institution, making it the first port of call for seafood lovers, which now serves more oysters than any other UK restaurant. He opened his latest restaurant, Corrigan’s Mayfair, in August 2008. Richard has been a prominent figure in recent television shows Great British Menu on BBC2, Great British Waste Menu on BBC1 and now ookery School on Channel 4. 

Gizzi is a chef, food writer and television presenter best known for presenting Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin and as author of the bestselling book of the same name. She trained at the prestigious Leith’s School of Food and Wine, graduating top of her year and winning a place at BBC Good Food Magazine. Last year she hosted series two of Cook Yourself Thin, as well as being guest judge of Channel 4’s Iron Chef and regularly appearing on This Morning. She is the food columnist for Company magazine and the News of the World’s Fabulous magazine, author of Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic and has contributed to Marie Claire, InStyle, Elle USA and Arena. ookery School marks her first show of 2011, with more projects to air later this year. 

About the production Company

Red House is the production company founded by John Silver, who has been responsible for many successful returning series, including Masterchef Goes Large, Celebrity Masterchef, Grand Designs, Jamie’s Kitchen and Property Ladder. It is part of the Zodiak Group, one of the world’s largest TV Production Groups.
ookery School is a gorgeous and an enviable book to own no matter what your skill levels are, with a clean, crisp attractive cover & embossed title. The photographs throughout the book are stunning & drool worthy, though fewer than I would like. I enjoyed making the cake and I am so looking forward to make many more from the book.

The book has many interesting dishes that I have bookmarked to try like the onion spinach & ricotta ravioli with a lemon-cream sauce, Citrus & herb roasted veg couscous, Arun Kapil’s pilau rice okra ginger kari & spiced pomegranate raitha, tiramisu, Eric Lanlard’s mogadores…the list is pretty much endless J

Thank you for Julie for sending me this book. 


Anu Menon said...

who ate that cake!

pri said...

It was an absolute pleasure to learn to make this wonderful cake! Arthi is a patient and passionate teacher. I am certainly excited to do more baking, now that I know a lot of handy tips. priya

Unknown said...

That really is sky high - I recognised this cake from the book but yours looks ten times better than that one! I thought the one in the book looked a bit strange how they'd inverted the two layers, never seen a professional cake look like that!!

Debugcooking said...

I know sarah...i felt the same...a bit weird inverted!so thats y I wanted something like this ;-)

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