Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Personal Challenge - Baking My Way Through An Entire Book

choux pastry caramel
When the amount of time available for baking is limited by a full time job, a long commute and the everyday tasks of running a house (and a husband!) it can sometimes feel that I end up making the same things over and over.  Delicious they may be but it's hardly developing me into a better baker or expanding my repertoire.  In the past when I've had more free time I have definitely been more experimental and I've been thinking of ways I can push this a bit more again.

millionaires chocolate
One of the ideas I've come up with is to bake my way through a whole book.  Not only will this force me to try more difficult and new things, it will also encourage me to branch out into new flavours that I might not otherwise try.  We all know our tastes change over time and doing this could open my taste buds to all sorts of things I didn't know I like whilst gaining new skills along the way.

bananas caramel
I'm really excited at the prospect of this and the only thing left to do once I'd formed the plan was to decide which book to use.  Most of the cookbooks on my shelves are dedicated to all things sweet so I had a few at hand already to choose from.  I immediately dismissed any that were dedicated to cupcakes or brownies or similar as they don't provide the variety of recipes I was looking for and would hardly push me into new areas.  I have a book full of recipes that all contain chocolate in some way shape or form and whilst this fulfils the brief in terms of being a good mixture of hot and cold desserts, cakes, pastries and biscuits it doesn't give the variety of flavours that I am after.

champagne mousse
Happily though one of my more recent purchases is absolutely perfect and it is this book that I have settled on for my personal challenge.  It's obvious really for a sweet based objective that I should choose a book by the God of pastry himself - Michel Roux.  Desserts is perhaps the most delicious looking and sounding cookbook I have ever seen.  Beautifully photographed it contains approximately 120 tantalising recipes with a great mixture of modern and classics, including many things that I've never made before.  Quite simply I can't wait to cook everything in it.

tarte tatin
Bearing in mind the purpose of this challenge is to try new things I'm going to make as few changes or substitutions as possible and only do this when a recipe contains something I really can't eat.  No corner cutting, no sloppiness, no excuses.  I also won't be sharing the actual recipes unless there is a link to one already published officially online.  I encourage you all to buy the book, it's brilliant.  Let's get on with the show.

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