I was delighted to be invited along to the Waitrose Cookery School to spend the day testing out and making some fabulous puddings with Tate & Lyle (the largest cane sugar brand in the UK – just in case you weren’t aware) I’m not great at baking but this day taught me so much and I came away with some delicious treats.
Read on to find out how I got on and for the recipes so you can try it yourself…
We arrived at the Waitrose Cookery School on Finchley Road at 9:30am and weren’t completely sure what the day would hold (I’ve never been to a cookery school before – as many people may have realised from the state of my cooking…). We received a friendly greeting and were told to help ourselves to the breakfast spread that had been set up. There was a whole host of delicious foods to try including; pastries, cereals, fruits and yoghurts. Not to mention the most tasty and fresh bread I’ve had in a long time. We could quench our thirst with orange juice, tea, coffee or an incredible dairy free berry breakfast smoothie (my personal favourite). It was clear that this was going to turn out to be a great day.
We chowed down on our brekkie whilst chatting across the table to a few of our fellow, friendly bakers before the team introduced themselves. Today we were taking directions from Kendall, a Canadian pastry chef who had previously worked with Marcus Wareing before moving to the Waitrose Cookery School just 3 months ago. She was great, so good at what she does and you could almost see her knowledge just spilling out in front of you as she explained what to do. She was also really friendly and approachable – even when we did silly things wrong that she’d told us not to do…
We made our way to the kitchen area and picked our workspace which was almost like a mini kitchen, I assume it would be like the type of work area you would have used at school if you did food technology (which I didn’t because our school didn’t think it was important and now I’m stuck eating pot noodle or pizza every night. Jeez.) We then all drifted into the theatre where we sat and faced the stage, or in this case, the mini kitchen at the front. It was at this point that Kendall told us today we’d be making Banoffee Tartlettes and a Greek Yoghurt Blueberry Bake…Both sounded amaaaazing.
Firstly, we watched as Kendall made her pastry for the tartlettes before we were let loose on the ingredients. My friend (Abbie) and I rarely bake due to a lack of time, patience, skill and cooking equipment in our flat (basically lazy) and so our hopes weren’t overly high for these bakes. We created our pastry and left it to chill in the fridge whilst we headed back to the theatre for another mini masterclass, this time of how to create our blueberry loaf.
The recipe for the blueberry loaf (you can find both recipes below) was so simple, and as the ingredients were already weighed out it was just a case of mixing them together correctly. Also, Kendall told us that she has never sieved flour and that there is no need to do it!? Mind = blown. I’ve been wasting so much time.) We then popped the loaves into the oven and headed back to the main table for lunch.
It was about 1pm and the bakers were hungry so we were all very excited for our beef ragout and pasta that the chefs had been slaving over for us while our cakes baked. They explained that they had used some of the meat that was left over from the steak masterclass that had taken place at the school the night before and then been left to cook overnight. The meat was incredible – so tender and flavoursome. It was served with salad and various Italian styled breads and was the perfect lunch for a day of hard work in the kitchen (and the accompanying glass of wine went down beautifully).
After lunch, we returned to our work spaces to see our cakes in all their glory after being taken out of the oven. NAILED IT.
As the loaves cooled down we watched how Kendall used the pastry from earlier to create perfect little cases for the tartlettes and then followed her lead and put them into the oven to bake until golden brown as we started on creating the caramel filling…It’s surprisingly easy if you’re careful, I thought it’d be a difficult skill to master. We also whipped the cream for the top of the tart and chopped the banana, ready for when the pastry had cooked and cooled.
If you’re wondering what the small blobs of pastry are in my photos… we had some left-over pastry and so we did what any mature adults would and made some pastry boobs. Obviously.
Multitasking at its finest, we also created the cream cheese and yoghurt icing for our blueberry loaf and finished it off with some glorious blueberry jam and blueberries – doesn’t it look b-e-a-uuutiful (Bruce almighty reference intended). Although it looked and tasted fabulous, it was a little bit drippy and proved to be a nightmare to get home.
As we left we were given a lovely goodie bag (LOVE a goodie bag as many of you will know) by Tate & Lyle which contained numerous varieties of sugar which I’ll hopefully be allowed to use in the not-so-distant future to try and recreate the treats that we were taught about.
I’d like to thank both Tate & Lyle and Waitrose Cookery School for such a fun day – particularly Kendall who was an absolute star throughout, she was an amazing teacher and I think everyone on the course would agree that she was fantastic. I’m hoping to return to the cookery School at some point when I’m richer to learn how to make sushi! I’ve always wanted to learn.
More information about the Waitrose Cookery School and their courses HERE
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Sweet Pastry – Banoffee Tartlettes
Makes 4 x 10cm round tarts. Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 for chilling the pastry and 10 minutes for chilling the tart. Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes.
For the Pastry:
– 135g unsalted butter – softened (cut into 1cm cubes)
– 90g Tate & Lyle Caster Sugar
– 1 large Waitrose Blacktail free range egg
– A pinch of fine sea salt
– 270g Waitrose Leckford plain white flour
For Banoffee Filling:
– 75g unsalted butter – softened (cut into 1cm cubes)
– 75g Lyle’s Golden Syrup
– 75g Tate & Lyle light soft brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
– 2-3 bananas
– 350ml Double Cream
For the Sweet Pastry
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then gradually add the egg and beat until emulsified.
2. Add the flour and salt and bring together to form a soft dough. Divide the dough into 4, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 190c/Gas mark 5. Spray your tart mould with some grease spray.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll to about as thick as a £ coin, then line the moulds with the rolled out sweet pastry, careful to avoid any holes and gently pressing into all the cavities. Rest again in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
5. Remove the rested pastry shells from the fridge and line with a double layer of cling film and fill with baking beans right to the top.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the edges turn golden, remove the baking beans and place back in the oven for a further 8 – 10 minutes to gain an even golden colour all over.
7. Lightly beat the egg yolk with a splash of cold water. Remove the tart from the oven, brush all over with the egg was and return to the oven for 1-2 minutes to set.
For the banoffee tartlettes
1. For the toffee/caramel, put the Lyle’s golden syrup into a saucepan with the Tate & Lyle light soft brown sugar and butter. Heat gently until melted and smooth, then boil steadily for 1 minute. Cool slightly. (We were told not to touch the caramel if we could help it)
2. Spoon the toffee filling into the cooked pastry tarts and leave until cold.
3. Slice the bananas and arrange them on the toffee filling. Whip the cream in a chilled bowl and pipe or spoon some onto each tart. Serve sprinkled with a little extra Tate & Lyle light soft brown sugar.
Greek Yoghurt Blueberry Bake & Topping
Makes 2 Loaves Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour
For the Loaf:
– 350g Butter (softened)
– 6 Large eggs
– 450g Self-raising flour
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– 200g blueberries
– 350g Tate & Lyle Golden caster Sugar
– 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– 300g of Greek Yoghurt
– 4 tablespoons of blueberry jam
For the Topping:
– 300g medium fat soft cheese
– 2 tablespoons of Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar
– 8 tablespoons of blueberry jam
– 200g Greek yoghurt
– 200g blueberries
1. preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven 160C, gas mark 4). Grease a 1kg loaf tin measuring 10cm x 20cm with a little bit of butter and then line with baking paper.
2. Put the butter and golden caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and then fold in the flour, baking powder and salt with a large metal spoon. Stir in 300g yoghurt and the blueberries and gently fold in the 4tbsp blueberry jam.
3. transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level surface. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the tin and peel away the baking paper. Cool completely.
5. For the topping, beat the soft cheese with the greek yoghurt and icing sugar. Spread onto the cake and sprinkle the blueberries on top. Drizzle with jam and serve.
Cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, serve at room temperature to enjoy the flavour at its best.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you make any of the above creations be sure to send me a picture!