Introduction

Introduction

By
Gabriel Gaté
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742703862
Photographer
Mark Roper

Mangoes and cherries, chocolate cake and pavlova, rhubarb and raspberries, meringues and fruit tarts, trifles and mousses, crêpes and passionfruit soufflé … I love desserts and have enjoyed making them since I was a child.

Growing up in the Loire Valley in France, we had more than fifty fruit trees in our garden and small family vineyard. Among other things, my parents grew raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb and redcurrants, and we often went out in search of wild blackberries, wild strawberries, hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts.

We lived with my maternal grandmother, who was the queen of the kitchen, making glorious cakes, fruit tarts and superb family desserts, like crêpes and custards. My very first kitchen memory is helping her make an apple tart when I was about five years old.

My grandmother was a delight to be with. From her I learned the love of cooking. And from my mum I learned the joy of eating. Not surprisingly, my eldest brother became a pâtissier/boulanger (pastrycook/baker) and I became a cuisinier/pâtissier (chef/pastrycook). I trained forty years ago with the best Master Chef of my generation and after some solid experience in restaurants I began to freelance, concentrating on teaching, writing and presenting recipes and cooking shows on television.

Most of my work over the last twenty-five years has focused on home cooking. There is something really special about homemade cakes and desserts, about using the best seasonal fruits, and learning to make pastries and other sweet concoctions. Dessert-making is an exciting and creative hobby. It’s a satisfying way to spend an hour or two in the kitchen, and your family and friends will love you for it. Most home cooks have a repertoire of about half-a-dozen desserts. If you try a new dessert every month, you’ll have made more than one hundred and twenty new desserts over ten years and you’ll be a great cook!

When baking, you need to carefully measure the ingredients. I use measuring cups and spoons as well as digital scales. My most prized piece of equipment is my electric mixer, which has a large bowl and a whisk attachment to beat egg whites and to cream eggs and sugar. It also has a beater attachment for mixing pastry and for creaming butter and sugar. Use good-quality ingredients — cakes, pastries and desserts taste better when made with fresh eggs, butter and flour, and the sweetest, freshest fruits.

Involve your children in making your desserts. And be easy on yourself — if your first try at a new recipe is not perfect, you will usually master it after a second or third attempt.

I hope this book brings much pleasure to you and your family.

Best wishes,

Gabriel Gaté

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