Hiya, Kristina here, with a cookbook that is perfect for those of us who can never eat ‘just one’! How many times have you eaten a few too many cookies from that batch of 36? Had too much of that delicious cake you baked? Enter the most recent book by the inaugural winner of the very first Great British Bake Off (BBC Two) in 2010, Edd Kimber, also known on social media as The Boy Who Bakes.
Edd’s sixth book is all about baking for from one to six people. Edd calls this Small Batch Bakes, I call it damage control! As with all of Edd’s books, it is a tightly curated collection of recipes that you’ll want to experiment with the first chance you get. I like it because it allows me to bake and not be constantly tempted to keep sneaking back for a nibble. And at a time when the price of food (and everything else) has risen significantly, it provides small scale baking recipes so that you get the indulgence, but don’t spend a bundle for more than you really want. Get a feel for the types of recipes included in the book through Edd’s interview below, and the recipe for the Individual Tarte Tatin (makes two). Perfect for apple season! Edd is on tour in the US for the next ten days or so. If you’d like to meet him, check out his tour dates here.
Tell us a little bit about how you came up with the idea of putting this into a book?
The idea really came out of early lockdowns here in the UK. I bake almost constantly and of course can’t eat everything I am working on so I am the person that always has baking on them, handing out bags of cookies left and right. During lockdown the ability to share my baking was restricted, so when the urge to bake hit I was making portions more appropriate for just my partner and me. Very quickly I realized baking in this manner was generally overlooked in cookbooks and something that I really thought could be popular. I’m thrilled that it seems to have found its audience, so many people have told me it’s the book they’ve been waiting years for.
For the busy person who wants to take an elegant but easy dessert for dinner to a friend’s, which recipe from your book would you recommend?
When taking dessert to a friend’s house I think something you can prepare in advance works best, you don’t want to be rushing to make dessert just before you head out of the door. In the book there is a caramelized banana pudding which is a brilliant prepare-ahead dish. The caramelized banana custard, the main element of the dish, is something that can be made up to a couple days in advance and then to assemble you simply layer up the custard with a condensed milk whipped cream, sliced banana, nilla wafers and dulce de leche. Its nostalgic but also a crowd pleaser.
The basics chapter is a great idea to get people thinking about keeping the freezer stocked so they can bake at a moment’s notice. Aside from these basics, which three full recipes from the book should be in every home baker’s repertoire?
The first recipe everyone should make is the emergency cookie. It was the first idea I had for the book and I love it so much, I make one regularly. You don’t always want to make a big batch of cookies and fill up the freezer with cookie dough, sometimes one cookie is really all you need. The recipe takes no time at all to make and is there anything better than a still warm from the oven chocolate chip cookie? I don’t think so! The sour cherry galettes are also a great recipe which you can use as a base for many different flavors, since you learn how to make a super flaky pie dough and how to use it make galettes, you can see whats in season and make a fabulous dessert with very little effort. I’ll be in California in a week’s time and if I have a spare evening I may have to get some pluots and make some galettes myself. I would also really recommend people try out the espresso and chocolate morning buns. It is a brioche style bun, rolled up like cinnamon rolls, and it’s both a great technique to learn and a fabulous version for an indulgent brunch.
When you are baking for family and friends, what are some of your favorite flavor combinations?
I really like layering in lots of flavors to my baking, a hint of cardamom with something chocolatey works beautifully, matcha and white chocolate are a perfect pairing and blueberries matched with basil and bourbon is a surprising but perfectly matched combo.
How did you choose which recipes made it into the book? Are there any that didn’t make it which you wished had?
I like to roughly plot out what will be in my books, but not to the level where I cant be inspired as I write. I like to include a variety of flavors and styles of baking so that whatever mood you’re in you can find something in the book that will hit the spot. Sometimes I think of the format of the recipe, something like a cinnamon bun, and then will later think up a flavor combo to create something I think people would enjoy. Sometimes I have a flavor in mind and then find a format to make it work. I also like to work seasonally so a lot of the time I am inspired by the produce I can find at the market and figuring out an interesting way to highlight it.
And then a lightning round!
What’s the one dish you will always say yes to? Pizza
What’s the one dish you will always say no to? Anything with truffles.
Gelato: Fruit-based or Dairy-based? Dairy-based all the way!
Cookies with or without nuts? Keep those nuts out of my cookies!
Beer, Wine or Cocktail? Definitely a cocktail guy.
Name a person you would love to bake beside to expand your skill set? Chad Robertson
If you could travel to one place in the world to EAT, where would you go? Either back to Tokyo or to Melbourne for the first time.
Individual Tarte Tatin
- 100 grams ready-rolled puff pastry (3½oz)
For the Filling
- 2 large Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and quartered
- 15 grams unsalted butter (½oz/1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Caramel
- 50 grams caster (superfine or granulated) sugar (1¾oz/¼ cup)
- A few drops of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 15 grams unsalted butter (½oz/1 tablespoon)
- Pinch of sea salt flakes
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC Fan) 400ºF, Gas Mark 6.
- Unroll the pastry and use a 10cm (4in) round cookie cutter to stamp out 2 circles. Refrigerate until needed.
- To make the filling, slice each apple quarter into 3 lengthways pieces. Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat until just starting to bubble. Add the apples and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring gently and frequently. Turn the heat off, place a lid on the pan and set aside for 3 minutes before tipping the apples into a bowl.
- To make the caramel, clean the saucepan, then add the sugar, lemon juice and water. Swirl to combine – avoid stirring – and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has turned a rich amber colour. Don’t overcook, because the caramel will cook further as the tarts bake. Turn off the heat, add the butter and salt and stir to combine.
- Divide the caramel equally between 2 x 9cm (3½in) ramekins and, being careful not to touch the caramel with your fingers, add the apples, overlapping the slices tightly and neatly. Place the pastry circles on top of the apples and use a round-tipped knife to press the excess pastry down the insides of the ramekins. Pierce a couple of holes in the pastry, then place the dishes on a baking tray (cookie sheet).
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and lightly compress the pastry by sitting a tin of chickpeas (or something similar) on top of each tart. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
- To serve, run a knife around the inside of the ramekins to loosen the tarts, then carefully invert onto plates. Serve while still hot, with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.