Book makes baking lighter

#1 bestselling cookbook author in Britain comes to us with Lorraine Pascale’s “A Lighter Way to Bake.”

From her BBC television show, “Baking Made Easy,” Pascale’s fans have asked for a healthier alternative to treats – to be able to enjoy with less calories. Pascale writes that she has been looking for ways and tweaks for her cupcake shop for years and through this cookbook is finding ways to cut calories and carbs for home cooks.

With a soothing, very British tone, Pascale walks cooks through each recipe, nothing when a cake serves 16, it means very small pieces, where she herself had trouble preparing something or ways to change things up, and when not to use substitutions. And there is plenty of mouth-watering photos along the way too!

The book is divided into Breakfast & Brunch, Bread, Savory Bakes, Desserts, Cakes, Cookies & Bars, Teatime Treats, Special Occasions & Entertaining and Pastry & Basics.

Breakfast & Brunch recipes include Raspberry & Banana No-Knead Breakfast Loaf, Apple & Apricot Spiced Hot-Cross Muffinskis and Double-Chocolate Chip “Cupcake” Muffins.

Bread recipes include Honey & Oat Bread, Green Onion, Thyme & Sage Rolls and Sesame Pretzel Buns.

Savory Bakes include main dishes like Moroccan Chicken Pot Pies with Cumin & Cilantro & a Crisp Phyllo Top, Herbed-Baked Chicken Strips with Honey & Mustard Dipping Sauce and Quickish Thai Fish Pie.

Desserts include Key Lime & Lemon Cheesecake Loaf, Victoria “Meringue” Sponge with Mango & Lime & A Vanilla “Cream” Filling and Chocolate Chocolate Torte.

Cakes include such delights as White Chocolate & Cherry Torte with Creme Fraiche Chantilly, Victoria Sponge and Really Tasty Chocolate Fudgy Orange & Beet Cake.

Cookies & Bars include White Chocolate & Pistachio Sponge Blondies, Oatmeal & Ginger Cookies and Cardomom and Ginger Shortbread.

Teatime Treats include Skinny Caffe Latte Butterfly Cakes, Moist Spiced Pumpkin Tea Cake and Chewy Coconut Macaroons with a Cheeky Touch of Lime.

Special Occasions & Entertaining recipes include Petite Phyllo Quiche Lorraine (Pascale) with Red Onion, Bacon and Thyme, Gruyere & Thyme Souffle and Raspberry, Vanilla & White Chocolate Cake with Almond Flowers.

I made Blooming Brownies one day when we were snowed in and there wasn’t much else to do. I had all of the ingredients in the pantry, including two different kinds of chocolate and cocoa powder. These reminded me a bit of flourless chocolate cake – as they only had 3 tablespoons of flour in them and no raising agent, relying on the whipped eggs for the puffiness. These are very rich and chocolatey and serve 16 at 165 calories each!

One bit of warning – I found a bit of the instructions vague – for example, at one point it says to mix until the mixture is really light and mousselike. Which means what exactly? When whisking egg whites, stiff peaks I understand, but light and mousselike not so much. I must have been correct in what I did, because mine turned up just like the picture.

I loved the variety of treats in this book that will make enjoying them a bit less guilt-inducing. I look forward to making more from it!

“A Lighter Way to Bake” is published by Ecco. It is $29.99.


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