This month’s prize cookery book was Pastry
by Richard Bertinet, the anglophile Frenchman who trained as a baker in Brittany and set up Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School in Bath in 2005.
We picked the prize winners at our Squidbeak dinner held at Staithes Gallery in May. It is a beautiful book, almost too beautiful to take into the kitchen, but it’s such a good practical piece of work, I’d like to think the winners will soon have the pages butter splattered and floury, confirming it as a well loved cookery book.
Bertinet’s earlier books Dough and Crust are beautifully written and produced and Pastry follows the same pattern and is jammed full of really useful stuff.
Unlike many baking books which breeze through the pastry making techniques, Bertinet takes us carefully through each stage of sweet, salted,choux and puff pastry in the first 63 pages and 50 plus photographs.
His method too is unusual, beating cold butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper before flaking it into the flour, to stop it warming up in your hands. He sensibly advises making double quantity so that you have a batch to freeze and most reassuringly he promises to take the fear out of pastry. And who hasn’t felt the fear – the pastry that sticks to the worktop, the quiche that leaks? Bertinet teaches you how to deal with all this and more and when you’ve mastered the basics there are the fabulous recipes like the chicken and tarragon tart, Cornish pasties and exquisite little Portugese custard tarts.
We’ll be testing the recipes in the coming weeks, so keep checking this blog.