Crumb: The Simple Pleasures of Baking – Ruby Tandoh – Ten Speed Press – Published 28 April 2015
A baking cookbook from the young and talented Ruby Tandoh, with a focus on charming, flavorful, and practical dishes that celebrate the pleasure of casual baking.
Crumb’s explanatory and evocative prose promotes everyday baking without sacrificing the joy of the craft, defying the style of both showy, highly decorated baking as well as the dry, informative tone of “serious” baking books. A delight to read as well as to bake from, recipes like Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Pecan and Rosemary Tartlets, Raspberry Whisky Pavlova, and Blood Orange Polenta Cake are interspersed with the virtues of different types of apples, a reminiscence about Belgian buns, and a passage on the need to knead. Covering a range of baking projects from sweet to savory, chapters include cakes, cookies, bread, pastries, pies, tarts, and more.
I am a recent fan of The Great British Bake Off. If you, like me, have watched season four of this show then you will recognise the name Ruby Tandoh. She made the season finale and was pretty consistent in both her good baking and her ability to feel devastated about what she had baked. Well, this cookbook carries Ruby’s no-nonsense, simple approach to excellent home baking.
After a brief introduction about her road to baking and this book, Ruby outlines key equipment and ingredients home bakers will need, as well as basic techniques and conversion charts (I love cookbooks with conversion charts – so helpful). These introductions are all simple to follow and brief. If you are already a seasoned baker it is easy enough to skip straight to the recipes. The recipes are divided, and colour-coded, into cake, bread, sweet dough, cookies and crackers, decadent desserts, pies and tarts, pastries, and extras. Each of these sections begins with an introduction into specific key ingredients, techniques and trouble-shooting. There are plenty of pictures of the finished products, as well as some of step-by-step processes.
The best thing about this recipe book is the creativity of flavours. From Chocolate and Lime Mud Cake to Bay and Black Current Crème Brûlée. While this is exciting, it did mean that when I was flicking through for a recipe I could quickly whip up, there weren’t many I could make without a special trip to the shops. But planning ahead aside, this is a book that is going to inspire many baking adventures to come. I’m particularly looking forward to making the Lemon Meringue Roulade. And the White Chocolate Hazelnut Couronne looks out of this world. There is a great mix of sweet and savoury, thanks to the inclusion of bread and savoury pies and tarts.
I loved that this book also includes recipes and instructions for basics that you just never see in standard cookbooks anymore. For example, there is a comprehensive guide to making puff pastry, and the extras section covers everything from custard and pastry cream to marzipan, icings and lemon curd.
A comprehensive and fresh guide to baking that will delight and excite.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Themes: Baking, desserts, breads, cakes.
Published: 28 April 2015 by Ten Speed Press.
Format: Hardback, ebook. 336 pages.