Saturday, 19 May 2012
Our questions for...Mary Berry
Mary has kindly taken the time to answer some of our questions.
Q: How long does it take you to put together a cookery book? And where do you get your inspiration from?
A: It usually takes about a year from start to finish, but it depends how much help I have. Lucy Young my assistant of 22 years and Lucinda Kaizik helps me part time so if we have a book we are writing we spend a couple of days a week testing recipes and the rest writing.
Q: Do you have a quick mid-week supper dish you could share with us?
A: I have a couple of favourites, Penne pasta with fried parma ham, mushrooms, cream, parmesan and fresh basil. Or a quick fish pie - layered spinach, smoked haddock, hard boiled eggs and cubed potatoes all in a white sauce with a cheese topping.
Q: Do you choose which of your recipes are used for the technical challenge on the Great British Bake Off? If so, how do you go about choosing from all of your recipes?
A: Yes I do - we have to think of technically difficult recipes which are technical to bake and show skills and expertise.
Q: Have you learned any new baking tips from working with Paul Hollywood?
A: I have learnt that it is best to have a wet dough for bread and when kneading a plain dough to knead on an oiled surface not on a floured surface.
Q: I have heard that using a fan oven is not so good for cake baking. In your experience how much of an effect does this have on the end result?
A: I think fan ovens are good if you take care, I use a fan oven for testing recipes as most people have them at home.
Q: What is your opinion of all in one cake recipes? Would you recommend this as a time saving method for a quick bake or should I stick with the standard creaming butter and sugar first method?
A: I think the all in one method is the best and most simple method for making most cakes.
Q: I've read that you recommend using Stork for baking - is this really better than using good quality butter?
A: Stork Perfect for cakes has 70% fat and gives a very rewarding result, I use it at home. Using butter, which has 80% fat means the cake will last longer as it contains more fat.
Q: Do you ever use duck eggs for baking?
A: I have never used them!
Q: Do you have a favourite cake (to eat rather than bake!)?
A: Oh I do love a lemon sponge!