A letter to the #GBBO haters

The Bake-Off comes to a close for another year with more innuendo, innovation and twitter abuse than ever before. And I’m sad that it is this last point that has come to define this series as far as the press is concerned – reading certain fascist publications, it seems some contestants can cause differences of opinion that drive apart families. I’d love to write about the positive, brilliant aspects of Bake-Off that we’ll see in tonight’s final, but I couldn’t help think about why some people feel the need to be so abhorrent.

As journalists have failed to get hold of this series’ bunch, we as the flavours of yester years have been repeatedly interviewed about “how it felt to be in this position last time” and to give our views on this year’s contestants. And we’ve been glad to comment, as far as I can tell; all of us with something to sell (did you know I’ve got a book out?!)

One thing I haven’t commented on, however, is that this year’s cruelty isn’t a unique occurrence to any particular Bake-Off contestant. It happens across the board; it was there last year and, like these last few weeks, was targeted at the perceived younger and more attractive women…

 

Dear misogynists and other anthropoid assemblages of bitterness,

I respect that some of you hurling your e-faeces at the wonderful Ms Tandoh et al are genuine e-wankers. And I guess that many of you, like Mr Blanc, forgivably don’t understand how the Internet works. But most of you are respectable people in reality, so why do you have to share your difficulty in coping with seeing someone, who you perceive as being beneath your over-inflated self, not doing what you would in an enviable position?

It has become the done thing amongst some to treat those on telly as something to help express yourself by – this can be in a positive way, like by tweeting #TeamRuby #TeamKimberley or #TeamFrances. A bit of harmless fun and something I’m happy to enjoy. But I take a look at your replies and see bitching to a level never before associated with cake.

There are loads of ways I’ve seen this behaviour justified. Those guys are on telly. We don’t know them; they’re just a face on a screen. They’re never going to read what we’ve written. They’re in such a privileged position; they can take it. They put themselves in the public eye; they should expect to divide people. We’d never say any of this IRL, never to their faces!

On any kind of examination, any attempts at justification are just such total nonsense. Unkindness is still being committed.

I’d like to make something clear: the abuse is felt. Do you think that the contestants don’t read their twitter interactions? Back when I was on, I’d search in the little box at the top right for “#GBBO James” in order to find every mention, the good and the worst. This was just my way of coping with a strange situation. 

Please, stop. Whether you get picked up by the “papers” (who will seek out the most vile tweets as examples) or your words are read directly, you will be responsible for making someone, and their family, sad. 

Keep being hurtful, and us at the other end just have to hope that you are for no other reason than you enjoy it. 

Hope you enjoy the final!

James

The Power of Pots

The Power of Pots

Pot2

If you’ve read my book (did you know I’ve got a book out?), you might have noticed I’m a fan of baking bread in cast-iron pots. It’s simple: all you’ve got to do is preheat your pot, lid and all, to as hot as your oven goes. Then, slide your risen loaf into it and bake with the lid on for 20 minutes and another 20-30 minutes with it off.

Cooking on a thick, hot surface helps give you a good crust and even bake all round. The pot’s heavy lid keeps any steam inside, helping to caramelise the sugars on the surface and give a crispy, tasty final crust. On top of that, the humidity delays this crust’s formation to give you a better ‘oven spring’ (the rise of the loaf in the oven).

What I didn’t emphasise enough in the book is just how AWESOME cooking in pots is.

If you’ve read all those wandering words, you might notice I also talk about the two proves and how underappreciated the first prove is. It is far more important than the second. To emphasise this, and the power of the pot, I did a wee experiment.

 

I made a loaf with the following ingredients:

420g strong white flour

80g plain wholemeal flour

10g table salt

7g instant yeast

390g tepid water

And I didn’t knead, I left the rough dough for ½ an hour, gave it a few stretches and folds in the bowl until it had a smooth surface and then I proved for not-far-off 2 hours. By this time, it had got big, but not to the point of collapsing. I scraped it out, shaped into a tight ball and placed it in a proving basket to prove.

Straight away, I put this in the fridge and I put my Le Creuset pot in the oven at 250C for 20 minutes to preheat.

Then I scored and slid my loaf into the scorching pot and baked. When I closed the lid over it was barely bigger then when I put in the fridge and a little squint due to the way it had fallen (not a concern). And then the next I saw, it was spectacular.

Pot6

Explanation:

In that first prove, there are loads of bubbles that you then smoosh whilst shaping. But if you’ve shaped well, those bubbles aren’t gone, you’ve just squeezed most of the CO2 out of them. The potential space is still there. Then, because of the steam that’s kept in by the pot, you’ve got a humid and unrestricted environment for what little gas is there to expand HUGELY. As a result, you get the most phenomenal oven spring.

The result is a loaf that is just about as massive as a loaf that has had a 2nd prove that is 3x as long. So check out these pictures (sorry, just taken on my iPhone) and remember: take your time with the first prove.

 Pot1

Pot3

(you’ll notice it’s a bit wonky – this is due to the sliding and will affect it’s appearance but not it’s overall texture)

Pot4

Pot7

NB: Some bakers don’t like this. Some would say this loaf was “underproved”. But it’s not – it has been proved enough to plenty it a good flavour and good structure. It’s just been baked and shaped at different times. It is still of exceptionally light texture.

 

Order Brilliant Bread here!

Behind Brilliant Bread

This article was originally published in Shetland Life magazine and was written upon receiving my first copy of “Brilliant Bread”

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Writing a book not long after finding yourself churned from a reality television show, you come to expect a standard set of questions from tabloid journalists: “Has your life changed? How long did it take you to write your book? Did you write it all? Did you bake everything in the pictures?”

If you’re interested, the answers are: yes; two months; yes; yes. But then comes the most inevitable and quickly the most exhausting: “Why bread?” Normally I try to shyly shrug this off with a few mentions of satisfaction and science and with the frequent use of the word ‘awesome’. All of what I say is true and bread really is awesome. But the most genuine answer would take too much time and reveal far more about myself than I’d rather.

For whatever reason, now, here’s why and how I wrote about bread.

 

Soon after we filmed the third season of the Great British Bake-Off, a few of us were put in touch with literary agents. It was put to us: 5 of the 6 previous finalists now have book deals. It was taken as a given that we would follow in a cold new exercise to capitalise on our temporary popularity. It seemed a purely financial exercise in which the production company had a reasonable cut.

It was expressed to me in no uncertain terms that a general baking book encompassing a wide variety of culinary categories would be both easiest to sell to the publishers and to the public. This is what people would expect. But gradually, through meetings and tele-conferences with producers and agents, my own suggestions and ideas were, to my surprise, encouraged. I was tentatively told to start down the route I suggested above all else: bread. If my enthusiasm was to be ignored by those who mattered, we could always re-strategize. That was the theory.

My obsession with the idea of a bread book was that I loved it more than any other baking discipline, but that there wasn’t a single book on the subject that didn’t have irritating faults. I saw them all as both single minded and subjective; they advocated one particular set of techniques and skills and denounced all others, without any evidence to justify it.

Not one approached baking from an evidence-based perspective. But more than that, every bread book so far has been written by a professional baker. The worst contain nothing but toned down commercial recipes without much introduction or thought for what the home-baker can replicate at home. The best contain too much detail on copying professional loaves and so become too complicated and alienating for most.

I wanted to write the best bread book on the market. And the concept I devised, as far as I could tell, was mostly that. I didn’t want to churn out 100 recipes and pose with a superimposed cake on the cover of a glossy book for sale for a fiver in Tesco. I didn’t want to be another reality TV reject, even though that is what I clearly am (and I’ve come to terms with it). I wanted to do something well – nay, I wanted to do something the best; better than anyone else had done before. And that is why I picked bread; I thought I could do it justice and start to make a name for myself that didn’t involve the Bake-Off.

I’m sitting with one of the first advance copies of “Brilliant Bread” and I’m proud to say I’m happy. It’s overwhelming to hold it; it is everything I wanted it to be. And I can’t leaf through it without thinking of how it got here.

The first hurdle is the ‘proposal’. This is where you set out exactly how you see your book looking and what it will contain, in just a few pages. This is sent off, via your literary agent (many publishers will simply refuse to read manuscripts not submitted through agents) to a variety and in turn they send a response. For some, it was a blanket “we’ve got too many bread authors already” and others “we’re not interested in the bake-off”. But a few saw enough potential to get me down to London for a meeting.

All the summits were set for a single day – 5 hours down on the train, 5 hours pottering around from posh parts of London to posher, then 5 hours’ journey back up to Glasgow. A whirlwind of coffee, biscuits and enough free cookbooks in branded canvas bags to scar my shoulder.

Within a few weeks, they come back to you with whether they’d like to publish the book and their rough terms. At this point, every publisher wants to get as much out of you as they can: they don’t offer much money and the contracts are one sided. Long negotiations ensue between agents and editors and one emerges triumphant. In my case, I’ll admit Ebury won me over as soon as I walked in and they said, beaming: “We’re the biggest publisher and we don’t have a bread book.”

The problem is that at this point, a contract is concluded and everyone’s celebrating, but the book is still merely an idea. I’ve got a rough plan, jotted down quantities and three months until my exams. I gave myself a month to study, and vowed to write furiously for the first two. This desperate struggle worked out, undramatically; I submitted my manuscript on time and proceeded to pass my exams with comfortable margins.

It’s often pointed out to me that writing 60,000 words in two months on top of a medical degree is a tough ask. It was hard, but it was do-able. If I’d been writing a cake book, though? Patisserie? Nope. I wouldn’t have had the enthusiasm or drive to get it in on time. Because it was bread, I was fervent to get on to the next chapter or the next section. I saved ‘Sourdough’ to the very end as a treat; I indulged in going over and over it and cutting many a superfluous word.

I hope this boyish excitement comes across inside– and I hope I do Shetland justice. Please don’t shout at me for my (girdle) bannock recipe until you’ve tried it, because it’s actually pretty good.

 

Order now!

Focaccia

UPDATE! Check out this awesome video for a comprehensive guide. For the full recipe, see down the bottom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh5WLi0kYWo

Hullo everyone!

One question I get asked most often by those who have got my book is: “what recipe should I start with??”

Usually, what I suggest tends to vary depending on my mood. But the most frequent answers will be focaccia or pita breads if you’re a complete beginner, or my “never-fail” rye and raisin if you’re experienced.

Focaccia and Pitas are both from the “basic breads” chapter of my book – these breads don’t require any kneading if you don’t want to, or any other prior thought really. They just let you get on with making great loaves without any fuss. Each is designed to take the beginner through a different aspect of breadmaking and to suggest concepts that will help you later on. Because these are so simple, we’ve put together a few recipe cards to give everyone a chance to bake brilliant bread!

45193_RAND_BBR_P0045.pdf

So here I present my focaccia recipe and why it is so awesome. This one is designed to introduce the beginner to really wet doughs – and it is very wet (though not as sticky as some in the book). To view it full size, just click below!

(Direct link to image if above doesn’t work: FOCACCIA)

Cheers!

James

Brilliant Bread is OUT NOW and available to purchase HERE

 

Bread Beckons

Last night’s GBBO4 debut brought back some memories.

The initial exhilaration at meeting Mel and Sue. Memories of the massive marquee and the hundreds of insects that would congregate in the peaks of its rolling ceiling. And memories of the intense nausea brought on by faltering self-control in the face of unlimited cake and its constituent ingredients. I imagined half the chocolate chips involved in this year’s cocoa-showstopper went raw into the mouths of the contestants and crew and comediennes.

After our first two days of filming, we were all averse to sweetness – the mere thought brought on the boak. There was one flicker of optimism and that was that next week was bread week. Savoury week. The week where we were released from our saccharine shackles and could pig out without fear of repercussion.

45193_RAND_BBR_P0052.pdf

And now, today, next week is bread week. I’m worried. My own bread experience on GBBO was less than ideal – I was frustrated with my results in every challenge and selfishly lashed out at Paul and producers for setting such short challenges. Good bread takes time. Great bread takes a lot of time – with spells that can be spent doing other things. By asking us to produce a plaited loaf in 2 hours (TWO HOURS) you’re simply condoning this drivel to the population.

Last year, I pleaded for a challenge for next year’s contestants in which there was an unlimited or protracted time limit – let us see the best of the best of what they can do. Today, I can see why they won’t do this (it’s TV, after all) but I still live in hope. I want to see some acknowledgement of this glorious school of baking that often seems as diverse as all others combined; I want to see sourdoughs and wholegrains and not just underproved and underbaked white breads with each contestant’s own desperate ‘twist’. I’m guilty of using the beyond-clichéd ‘Ispahan’ combination (rose, lychee, raspberry) but last night we saw it too many times. Maybe when bake-off becomes tired and the format needs rejigging, maybe we’ll see true innovation. But the problem is that for the moment, it’s just too darn good to change.

[PLUG ALERT]

On Tuesday next week, there will be GBBO’s bread episode. I fully expect it to reduce breadbaking to a circus and will not in any way shine light on the remarkable abilities of 12 beautifully talented individuals left.

But if you want a proper introduction to bread, wait until Thursday. To see just how hard bakers can make loaves look (and how easy it really is), to see how you can bend baking amazing breads around the busiest of lives and to be taken through every step in as much or as little detail as you and still always make something to be proud of, wait until Thursday.

On Thursday, my first book is out. It’s called “Brilliant Bread”. Notice: Mr Hollywood’s book is merely “Bread”.

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And I’m proud of those 60,000 words. My aim was not just to take bread baking to a new and younger audience, it was to try and produce the best beginner bread book on the market. I think we’ve done that.

Inside, you’ll find a full set of step by steps for every process I felt couldn’t be accurately portrayed in words. And the step-by-step theme continues: you’ll find a range of breads for a range of circumstances and abilities. Begin as a book is meant to: at the beginning. Read my spiel about the ingredients and the processes and take it one step at a time. I promise that do it this way, listening to what I have to say and baking just a bread or two from each chapter, you’ll soon be baking loaves as good as the best Artisan Bakeries in the world. Truly: world-class bread is achievable by the even the indifferent amateur. I love that about bread.

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And people say to me: “YOU can bake great bread in 5 minutes, maybe. But me? Naw.” Please trust me: anyone can. Just read the book and don’t try a sourdough or a panettone as your first go. You’ll be grand. Moreover, you’ll save the full cost of the book after just the first two times you leave a bottle of wine at home bring fresh focaccia or magnificent miche round as a dinner party gift instead.

45193_RAND_BBR_P0177.pdf

Order here and it will be with you on Thursday: AMAZON

Mars Bar Macarons

So, this is the first blog in a while. But I’m going to get back into it. Whilst I’ve been quiet here and on the twittersphere, I’ve been busy polishing off a book, writing plenty of recipe columns for the Sunday Mail (note: not associated with the Daily Mail) and trying to learn lots of stuff about cardiology. Hopefully, bits and pieces of all of these will end up on here!

But far more importantly, Mars Bars. Battered, they are excellent, as we all know. But there are few other chocolate- and chocolatebar-related recipes that, I feel, actually become better than if you were to just eat the pure product. So in the interests of proving Scotland can do more than fry the Mars and in finding a way to combat that soft-sickly texture the original bar can sometimes have, I came up with this. It’s a bit of fun. And it’s actually really, really good. And it’s easy.

image-8

Mars Bar Macarons

110g icing sugar

60g ground almonds

2 medium egg whites

40g caster sugar

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

3 standard Mars Bars, chilled in the fridge

 

Makes about 12 sizeable macarons

1 Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. In a food processor (or using a blender/stick blender if you don’t have one), grind together the icing sugar, cocoa and ground almonds until there are no lumps – you want them as powdery as you can.

2In a large bowl (don’t use plastic), whisk your egg whites and caster sugar until stiff. Add your sweet almond powder to your airy sugary egg whites and mix everything together until you’ve forced most of that air you’ve captured out, so that the mixture tumbles from your spoon, gradually but gloopily. Stop when it reaches exactly the consistency of flowing lava – when you drop some into your bowl, the surface should slowly flatten out to leave no visible peak.

3 Scoop your mixture into a freezer or piping bag and pipe little circles onto your prepared baking sheet –  anything between 1-2 inches in diameter. Once your macarons are piped, lift your baking tray about a foot or two above your work surface and drop it so it smashes down dramatically. Repeat 2-3 times – this removes any big bubbles that might be left in the mixture.

4 This is the most important step. Leave your piped macarons uncovered and at room temperature for, at the very least, 30 minutes. The longer the better. You want the surface to dry out and a skin to form. At this point, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan. Your oven must be properly preheated.

5 Bake for between 10 and 12 minutes, depending on the size you’ve gone for. You must take them out before they begin to go brown. A good tip is to open the oven fully, then quickly close it again, at least twice during cooking. This will remove excess steam.

6. Once done, cool the macarons on their tray whilst you make the filling. First, take 1 and a half of your mars bars and melt them in a microwave until smooth – this filling hardens up quickly, but you can just re-melt as many times as you like. Add a teaspoon of filling to the underside of a macaron shell, then cut a sliver off your remaining bars using your sharpest knife and place this on top. Sandwich with another macaron shell then place another sliver on top. Repeat.

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BakeryBits Bread Baking Kit Giveaway

Yet another corporate sell out having to resort to free giveaways to generate traffic for his blog? No, actually.

This is something I’ve been working personally to organise for a while. The unadulterated truth is that for getting professional bread baking results at home, there is only one place I get my bread stuff: BakeryBits. I think I’m right in saying GBBO Judge Mr Hollywood goes here too. There are good reasons: everything is really good quality and very reasonably priced. It’s great for hard-to-get-at-home stuff like Aroma Panettone and Diastatic Malt Flour. But it’s even better for it’s selection of basic equipment for home and trade alike.

I have been through the entire website and have compiled a list of essential bread baking kit that I think will help take any home baker’s bread to the next level. These are the EXACT SAME products that I use at home. I own at least one of everything that BakeryBits.co.uk have kindly agreed to donate for one lucky winner (and no, they didn’t give them to me; I’ve owned them for a while).

This includes:

A BakeryBits Dough Scraper

A BakeryBits Stainless Steel Dough Cutter

A proper High Sided Loaf Tin

A super-sharp Landaise Lame

A BakeryBits 1kg Round Banneton (proving basket)

A BakeryBits Dough Whisk

 

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is enter below. Click the wee ‘tweet’ button to tweet a link to the competition and then confirm it. You can also like the BakeryBits facebook page for a chance of winning.

 

(some people saying they are having trouble tweeting – enter with your email address and the little tweet button definitely should come up)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmas Mincemeat Tarte Tatin

Let’s face it: Christmas should be care-free. It should be for curling up near something warm with a hot and spicy mug of mull.

Is it ever?

I’ll concede that when it comes to baking and Christmas, sometimes it’s really worth making the effort. Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, panettone… I wouldn’t ever rush them. As the days grow shorter, though, I don’t want to take time or make effort. I want television and alcohol and paper hats.

This recipe is for the short days,

Ingredients shameless and shop-bought and proud.

 

Christmas Mincemeat Tarte tatin

1 packet of shop-bought all-butter puff pastry

6-8 sweet apples (any kind will do)

200g golden caster sugar

50g unsalted butter

A splash of water

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

A wee pinch of salt

1/2 a jar of cheap mincemeat

A wee pinch of cinnamon (optional)

 

Flour, for rolling

 

Makes one large tarte tatin

1. Preheat the oven to about 180C. Peel, slice and core the apples in any way you like. I cut them into 12, by cutting them in half, then in half again, then each bit into three. It doesn’t matter if they start to turn brown – this helps them hold their shape.

2. In an ovenproof frying pan, weigh out the sugar, butter, water, lemon juice and salt. Place the pan on a medium heat, stirring to combine the ingredients. Once it’s boiling, turn it off.

3. Add the apples, the mincemeat and the sprinkling of cinnamon. Return to a high heat and don’t be afraid to boil furiously for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples themselves (not just the surrounding caramel) are beginning to blush brown. The lemon juice will stop the caramel from crystallising.

4. Whilst the apples are bubbling, roll out the pastry with plenty of flour so it is wide enough to cover your frying pan. Once the apples are ready, place the rolled out pastry on top of the pan and trim around the edge using a sharp knife. Tuck the edges of the pastry inside the pan, around the apples.

5. Place the whole pan in the oven to bake for at least 30 minutes – you don’t want a soggy bottom. The pastry should be a deep, golden brown and nicely puffed up. Enjoy hot, with cream.

 

Have a very, very merry Christmas,

James

 

Yum Yums

The artisanal Yum Yum is the best thing you will ever taste.

 

At the request of a certain sister of a certain member of One Direction, I tentatively present my very best recipe: Yum Yums. I’ve got a feeling I’ll have to spend the rest of my life dealing with the health repercussions of this post.

If you’ve not had a Yum Yum before, it’s basically a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. Then drenched in icing. And the ones you bought from the shops may have been the most delicious thing in the world – until now. Thankfully (or dangerously), this method is so very easy. You don’t need to own any special equipment or do any kneading.

 

 

500g strong white bread flour

2 sachets (or 14g) fast action yeast

8g salt (or about one heaped teaspoon; reduce if using salted butter)

30g sugar

250g water (a tiny bit warm; weigh out rather than use a jug)

1 medium egg

100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced

 

Oil, for frying

More flour, for rolling

 

Icing:

250g icing sugar, sifted

60ml (4 tablespoons) water

 

Makes 14-16 Yum Yums

 

1. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast. Lightly rub the salt and yeast into the flour on opposite sides of the bowl, then rub in the sugar.

 

2. Dice the chilled butter into thin pieces (as shown). Add this to the flour and don’t rub it in – you don’t want it like breadcrumbs. Just lightly stir the butter into the flour.

3.Add the water and the egg to your mixture and mix using a wooden spoon until begins to come together. Then, use your hands to mix until your dough has mopped up all the flour. Cover your bowl with cling film (or a wet teacloth) and rest for at least half an hour at room temperature.

 

RESTING TIP 1: For a better Yum Yum with more complexity of flavour, rest in the fridge overnight.

 

4. Once the dough is rested, it’s time to laminate. Flour a work surface and roll your yum yum dough out into a long rectangle. Turn your rectangle so the long side is facing you. Take both ends, and fold them into the middle. Then, close the whole thing like a book (shown). Roll out again and repeat the whole folding process until your lumps of butter have disappeared (3-5 times). Wrap your laminated dough in cling film and put in the fridge for another half an hour to rest.

RESTING TIP 2: 30 minutes is the minimum resting time recommended for a good Yum Yum. For a more open structure, leave to rest here for as long as possible (ie over 2 hours).

 

5. Once rested, roll your dough out one final time on a floured surface into a big rectangle. Cut into strips of your desired size. To each strip, make a cut down its length, but leaving at least a centimetre attached at both ends. Twist this round into a Yum Yum shape as shown:

    

6. Leave to rest on an oiled surface in a warm place for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Near the end of the rest, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and water, then prepare the oil

 

OIL TIP: If you don’t have a deep fat fryer (I don’t), heat a big pan of oil ON A LOW HEAT that’s going to be deep enough to take a Yum Yum. It should be constant at 170-180C. If you don’t have a digital/sugar thermometer, be careful and reserve bits of dough to test your oil regularly to make sure it’s not too hot. Please seek full and proper safety guidance before handling hot oil.

7. Fry your Yum Yums until a golden brown on each side. As soon as they’re done, remove from the oil and brush liberally with the icing. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack before enjoying.

 

14-Hour Meringues

Why the hell would you spend 14 hours making meringues? How the hell CAN you spend 14 hours making meringues?

Because these are quite lovely. They are somewhere between your traditional crisp meringue and the soft and light poached meringue. They are fluffy and cloud-like, but have a light and delicate crisp coating around the outside. These actually don’t require much effort at all, but I’m afraid they do take rather a long time – your best bet is to bake them overnight.

The secret is a big slab of stone, on which to bake. My baking stone is a Tesco Granite Surface Protector. At home in Shetland, our oven is full of roofing slates. It doesn’t need to be fancy – just scour your streets for flat slabs and give em a good wash. Granite floor tiles are good. The stone is normally used to stone-bake bread; it retains heat, so you can just switch the oven off and let the meringues cook slowly on the stone overnight.

And you’ll want an electric mixer, if you don’t want a sore arm.

 

Makes 6 huge meringues

 

6 egg whites

300g caster sugar

 

1. About 1 hour before you intend to bake, preheat your oven with a baking stone inside to 220 degrees C.

2. Put the egg whites in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Set to it’s noisiest setting.

3. Weigh out the sugar. Once the egg whites are light and fluffy and big, start adding the sugar, without turning the speed down. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, one straight after the other. You may find this quite a slow process, but this is right.

4. Once all the sugar is all added, continue whisking for about 1 minute. Turn the mixer off and remove the whisk – it should be a proper stiff peak.

5. Scoop out the meringue into 6 big piles (leave plenty of space between them) on a greased and lined tray (non stick baking paper if possible). Place in the hot oven on the stone and turn the oven off straight away.

6. Wait until the oven is totally cool – best to leave it overnight.

 

Enjoy with blueberries and whipped cream. Nom.