Spring has arrived in the form of a cookbook. Published to celebrate Chef Skye Gyngell’s new restaurant in London, Spring presents a collection of artful and luxurious recipes from the menu.
Crab salad with chilli, pumpkin, curry leaves and lime, Pappardalle with oxtail ragu, Guinea fowl with faro and parsley, Kimchi and Warm chocolate and espresso puddings are just a few of the recipes on offer.
But Spring is much more than a collection of new recipes from this talented chef. It also provides a fascinating insight into the creation of the restaurant itself, from Skye’s first visit to the space at Somerset House, through the design and development of the site to the opening of the restaurant. She describes how the menu evolved, from the early days testing recipes in her kitchen at home to the opening in October 2014.
Skye Gyngell Born in Australia, Skye Gyngell has worked as a chef in Sydney, Paris, and London, where she trained with the likes of Anne Willan. In 2004 she became head chef at Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, Surrey, which soon acquired a reputation for exceptional food and was awarded a Michelin star in 2011. Skye is an established food writer, having written regularly for Vogue and the Independent on Sunday for several years. This is her fourth book.
Serves 6 to 8
I love this simple, classic, understated tart. The secret lies in the crisp, fine pastry. I like to eat it still slightly warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Choose a firm, flavorful dessert apple, such as Braeburn or Cox’s.
For the pastry
1½ cups [180 g] all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup [170 g] chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
⅓ cup [80 ml] chilled water
For the almond layer
3 Tbsp ground almonds
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
⅓ cup [60 g] superfine sugar
For the apple topping
6 to 8 apples (depending on size)
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp superfine sugar
1 cup [100 g] shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
1½ Tbsp [20 g] chilled butter, cut into small flakes
To make the pastry, put the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor and process 5 seconds. The butter should still be visible and in small pieces. Add the water and process 5 seconds more—just enough time for the dough to start holding together. Little pieces of butter should still be visible throughout (this is important to achieve a delicate, flaky pastry). Remove from the machine and lightly gather into a dough with your hands. Form into a ball, flatten slightly, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the refrigerator 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF [200ºC]. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured cool surface to a large, thin round, about 12 in [30 cm] in diameter. Lift the dough onto a baking sheet.
For the almond layer, toss together the ground almonds, flour, and sugar and scatter over the pastry.
Peel, quarter, and core the apples, then slice into 1_8 in [3 mm] wedges. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and all but 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Toss well to combine. Taste and add a little more salt if the apple seems too sweet.
Arrange the apples evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2 in [5 cm] clear border. Fold the edges of the pastry up over the fruit, crimping and tucking them gently as you do so. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top, scatter over the walnuts, and dot with the butter.
Bake in the oven 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. For the best possible flavour and fragrance, eat within 1 hour.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Raincoast Books.