The final series of The Great British Bake Off on the BBC aired last year and secondary school teacher Candice Brown was crowned the winner. The pub landlord’s daughter quietly crept her way to victory by keeping her head down and delivering some seriously impressive bakes. Brown was a worthy winner and quite possibly one of the warmest contestants the show has ever had. I was rooting for her to win from episode one because I loved how she always stretched herself, refusing to stay in her comfort zone.
Since winning the show Brown has been incredibly busy appearing on This Morning and Christmas Kitchen, writing her own Sunday Times column and taken part in live baking demos at The Cake and Bake Show and Foodies Festival. Now Brown has released her first book called Comfort: Delicious Bakes & Family Treats. Anyone who watched Brown on the show will know she often referred to her nan’s and her mum’s recipes and they are very much the inspiration for this collection.
Comfort is split into six sections – Cakes; Brownies, biscuits & traybakes; Tarts & pastries; Puddings & preserves; Savoury bakes, bites & soups; Breads & buns. The first thing to note about the book is how beautifully presented it is. There are gorgeous photos throughout of Brown as well as the various bakes, and it opens with a personal introduction from Brown herself. Each of the recipes is presented in a clear and easy to follow way, with Brown’s personal tips annotated throughout, which I thought was a really nice touch.
Bring a keen (if somewhat amateur) baker myself, the first thing I did was bookmark all of the recipes I wanted to make. In order to give this book a fair review, I wanted to see just how good the recipes were and how easy they were to turn from steps to an actual edible end product. I’m happy to report that Brown’s recipes are superb.
Having never made croissants before, and been put off by how scary everyone tells you they are to make, I successfully made two batches by following Brown’s recipe. My only complaint is that I could have done with a few more pictures when it comes to the more technical steps of the recipe, in this instance the cutting and rolling of the dough. That’s more a comment on my lack of expertise than anything else!
Another recipe I tried was Brown’s Cumin, garlic & parsley flatbreads. Again, despite having never made anything like them before I found the recipe simple to follow with Brown’s directions and timings spot on. In fact now I’ve made them once, I’m very unlikely to bother buying them from a shop again as they are simple to make and damn tasty.
Many of the recipes in the book use almond flour, which is a no go for me due to having a nut allergy. While it’s easy enough to hop onto Google and research substitutions, it would have been a nice touch to have some information on that in the book. More experienced bakers would likely be able to substitute ingredients with ease but those of us finding our feet, could probably do a little extra help.
Overall I loved Comfort. The book does what it says on the tin and it’s full of fantastic ideas and recipes. I’ve got plenty of recipes bookmarked to make in the coming weeks (the chocolate and ginger plait, and the macaroni pies are definitely next on my list). Brown doesn’t skimp on choice with this collection and there really is something for everyone, and every occasion. The thing I loved the most about Comfort is that simplicity is at its heart and thanks to Brown’s wonderfully clear recipes, I felt like I could bake anything!
Released By: Ebury Press Release Date: 13th July 2017