Saturday, 29 March 2008

Nigel Slater - god of desserts or devil incarnate?

People are complex. Fact. No-one is entirely angelic and blemish free, we all have a dark side. A case in point is Nigel Slater.

On the one hand Mr Slater is an unequivocal dessert recipe genius. The composition of ingredients, textures and flavours are a day trip to paradise. But, the man has a fatal flaw. He is a consummate liar when it comes to cooking times.

The first time I try a new Nigel Slater pudding it invariably results in burnt offerings. It took me three attempts to crack his chocolate brownies, by reducing the cooking time from the recommended 30 minutes to 20 minutes, (The Kitchen Diaries p.325). It was worth persevering because they are the taste bud equivalent of a trip to Willy Wonkers factory with the oompa loompas. They are amazin.

Last night I finally cracked the Bramley Apple Shortcake (The Kitchen Diaries p.124). I managed to cremate it on Easter Sunday for Janice and John. Tres embarassing because Janice is a culinary goddess of the highest order and I regard every meal I prepare for her in much the same way as the Romans would a ritual offering to the goddess Juno.

So you can imagine how determined I was last night that I was not going to take such paltry offerings to Andy and Jen's for dinner. Last time we went for dinner at their house I took an almond and chocolate cake which can only really be described as an supersized jaffa cake without the orange, the moisture or the flavour - it was in fact a cake frisbee. So I had to get the apple pie right on the money.

And so reader... I did it. But only be reducing the recommended cooking time by half! Nigel Slater what are you playing at?

So to cut a long story long, a heartfelt plea to you all. Please do try Nigel Slaters' Bramley Apple Shortcake - it is pure pie heaven. But don't pay a blind bit of notice to the recommended cooking time, simply pop it in the oven for 20 minutes and then check it to see if it's golden brown.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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