Bake Off winner Peter’s cookbook comes up a treat

The Great British Bake Off is a seemingly unstoppable phenomenon.

There’s something intrinsically British in its appeal and the good cop, bad cop judging formula that was Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood seems to have transitioned nicely with the programme’s change to Channel Four and with Prue Leith’s slightly less good cop taking the reins.

I for one have always felt a compulsion to get behind any Scot who enters the tent and puts his or her hat in the ring. This was certainly the case with the youngest ever winner of the show, 2020 champion Peter Sawkins. Peter is a delightfully polite and charming young man and an incredibly talented baker.

This is his first cookbook and it is perfect for anyone starting out on their baking journey or for fans of the show.

Many of the techniques that he expertly explains in the basics section of this book you will have heard uttered by Paul or Prue and if, like me, you’re a very amateur baker indeed these basic instructions and descriptions will be a really useful tool.

He also runs through a useful kit list that doesn’t include any terrifyingly technical or expensive pieces of equipment.

The recipes are all written clearly and simply enough for homebakers to follow and all have instructions on how to make them gluten free (without any complicated flour blending or sourcing obscure ingredients).

Peter puts this down to having baked for his brother, who eats a gluten-free diet, for many years.

Guiding the reader through mouth-watering chapters on cakes, pastry, puddings, dessert, patisserie, little bakes and bakes for Christmas, there’s something to suit everyone with a sweet tooth here.

The book is full of beautiful and envy-inducing photographs to tempt the reader. I always enjoy a cookbook with lots of pictures as I like to compare the final product in my kitchen to that which is in the book. It’s not that it’s ever quite as pristine or perfect, but just so that I know I’m somewhere in the same ballpark.

There’s a definite Scottish influence here, so if you’re keen to bake some classic Caledonian treats you could do worse than turning your hand to the glorious cranachan cake or a perennial favourite like the empire biscuit.

But whether your baking style lends itself more to Eton Mess than fine French patisserie, I’m sure you’ll find something to tempt you in Peter Bakes.

For all those friends and members of the family who have enjoyed watching the Baked Alaska calamities and ‘custard gate’ episodes of The Great British Bake Off, this is a book they will relish receiving.

Peter Bakes, by Peter Sawkins, published by Black and White, £20.

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