This book aims to appeal to the novice and the accomplished cook with everyone in between and certainly succeeds, if my experience is anything to go by, to date! Surprisingly down-to-earth in its approach, this is a well presented publication packed full of reliable treats and peppered with typical Gregg Wallace (aka 'puddingface') banter, and certainly worthy of the front cover quote:-
'Gregg is the best possible judge of a good pudding', from Michael Roux Jr.
Measuring in at 20.5 cm x 25.5 cm, this is a chunky book in which we find the main classics, such as 'Old English Trifle', 'Rhubarb Crumble' and 'Treacle Tart' mingling with a few surprises, e.g. the intriguing sounding 'Exotic Ruby Fruit Salad with Cardamom', 'Monte Bianco' and 'Linzer Torten'.
A laughing Gregg indulges in a sweet moment on the front cover which opens up to 192 shiny high quality pages, split over main chapters:-
1. Fruity puddings (pg 12-41)
2. Tarts, flans and cheesecakes (pg 42-73)
3. Chocolate (pg 74-109)
4. Classic puddings (pg 110-145)
5. Ices and mousses (pg 146-165)
6. Basics and bites (pg 166-187)
sandwiched between an introduction and a 5-page index.
Each chapter opens with a colourful double-page spread simply endorsed with the title. Each recipe is clearly laid out with the title, the number of servings, the list/s of ingredients and a numbered method. Each starts with an opening note from Gregg, sometimes informative; often nostalgic as a childhood memory is revisited, e.g.:-
I've loved these for as long as I can remember. They evoke such fond memories of shopping with my grandparents in Rye Lane, Peckham. If I was good I would get a custard tart. Actually I'd get one even if I was naughty. My granddad was such a softy!'
In fact, reading through, 'Granddad' gets the blame for quite a few 'treats', and ....maybe....that's why Gregg is a really a bit of a softy at heart, too, despite the harder image he can sometimes portray when crowned with his Masterchef hat!
'Gregg's Tips' feature on some recipes, often giving serving suggestions, additional information or relevant enhancements.
A small taste of the other recipes contained within:-
* Summer Pudding
* Cherry Clafoutis
* Strawberry Cream Meringue
* Baked Bananas with Chocolate Fudge Sauce
* Baked Cheesecake
* Frangipane Flan
* Pumpkin Pie
* Bakewell Tart
* Tarte au Citron
* Tarte Tatin
* Fruit and Chocolate Fondue
* White Chocolate Cherry Tart
* Tripe Chocolate Brûlée
* Hot Chocolate Liqueur Soufflé
* Sticky Toffee Pudding
* Brown Betty
* Proper Sponge Pudding
* Christmas Pudding
* Knickerbocker Glories
* Classic Crème Caramel
* Rice Pudding Scented with Rosewater
* Old-fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
* Earl Grey Sorbet
* Lemon Granita
* Strawberry Mousse
* Proper Custard
* Brandy Butter
* Pâté Sucrée
* Brandy Snaps
* Simple Chocolate Fudge
Spectacular photography, as always, from Jason Lowe, perhaps on the light side for some, with some pages looking a little bare on balance and crying out for a snap-shot to be slotted in! Having said that it is easy to forgive that slight hint of a negative as one continues to peruse this sweet book and is captured by the stunning sight of 'Chocolate Fudge Cake', on page 80, and I can't help myself as another shopping list begins for the cake which:-
* '....does take a bit of work but like all good things it is well worth it. When you slice through that chocolate topping to find the yummy layers below, you'll be glad you made the effort'!
My favourites are far too many to mention, especially if I get onto the contents of the 'Chocolate Chapter', and the likes of 'Chocoholic's Alaska' - but 'Autumn Pudding' and 'Autumn Fruit Crumble' went down very well, last night, at a themed cook-in evening, not only giving me a great excuse to show off some produce from my new bread-maker but also used up some of the apples that are starting to fall in the orchard!
Super book with should appeal to all, not just to those of us with a sweet tooth but also to those who are looking for a simple and reliable but concise approach to that all important last course, when the need is more formal but not laced in designer restaurant-style speak!
Oh, we are getting sophisticated now. This is professional stuff. The name actually derives from the French word for tile. Its curved shape is supposed to represent the curved roofing tile you see around the Mediterranean.'
Yet another flavour I simply can't live without. I first encountered it as a child in 'Angel Delight', would you believe, and once sampled I was completely hooked.'
Far more than just a simple 'pudding book'!