Get the latest hospitality news and inspiration straight to your inbox. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Recipe extracts: Nostalgic Delights by William Curley

Recipe extracts: Nostalgic Delights by William Curley

Leading pastry chef and chocolatier William Curley revisits his childhood for a grown-up take on his favourites – the Viennetta, the Toblerone and the Walnut Whip – in his new book, Nostalgic Delights. Janie Manzoori-Stamford takes a read

Nostalgic Delights by William Curley

Photography Kevin Summers

Jacqui Small, £25

William Curley “invites us to join him in his humble and worthy pursuit to shamelessly celebrate pâtisserie, chocolate and all things sweet and delicious – whether beautifully simple or more elaborate in design”.

This line from Michel and Alain Roux’s foreword to Nostalgic Delights sums the book up nicely. But then it could just as easily be applied to Curley’s previous books, such as 2014’s Pâtisserie, which he co-wrote with his former wife Suzue, and 2012’s Couture Chocolate. Can you tell I’m a fan?

In chef terms, Pierre Koffmann made the most lasting impression on a young Curley-in-training, but the biggest influence on his relationship with food came from his granny. Growing up in Scotland, his Sundays were spent with Peggy McHoul, boiling jam and baking cakes, so it is little surprise that Curley should look to recapture that sense of nostalgia with his latest collection of recipes.

Confectionery classics like Walnut Whips, Toblerone and Ferrero Rocher inspire contemporary incarnations that are saliva-inducing just to read, never mind eat. The fun Curley had with these creations is apparent throughout. A Praline ‘Viennetta’, Grand Marnier-laced Jaffa Cake tarts, and Tunnock’s-inspired teacakes flavoured with matcha and yuzu are both playful and complex.

And where would this book be without a take on the Curly Wurly or, in this case, a Curley Wurly? Produced with bittersweet chocolate, its appearance is entirely reminiscent of the Cadbury’s classic, but its flavour profile promises a rich and decadent chewy toffee.

Peppered among these are classic pâtisserie dishes that are best filed under ‘spectacular’: glossy raspberry glaze adorns an elaborate raspberry Breton recipe, which follows a fruity black bun that is entirely unassuming by comparison. A many-layered moka gateau recipe sits next to a blackcurrant cheesecake, albeit a fancy one featuring an almond streusel base and fromage blanc mousse.

Few cookbooks make me aspire to attempt every recipe within, but Curley’s do. Whether I can master them to the same level of finesse as presented by Kevin Summers’ photography remains to be seen, but with such delectable results on offer, I’m willing to give it my best shot.

Black Forest gateau

This gateau originates from the Black Forest – the mountainous forest region in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The image of this traditionally very decadent treat was somewhat damaged during the 1980s with an abundance of manufactured versions. However, I think that it is such a perfect combination of flavours that it deserves to be represented with no compromise on quality of ingredients.

Makes one gateau (serving 8)

  • ½ quantity chocolate genoise
  • 1 quantity cherry compote
  • 1 quantity Kirsch syrup
  • 1 quantity Anglaise chocolate mousse
  • 1 quantity crème chantilly

To finish

  • Chocolate shavings
  • Chocolate cherry stalk
  • 30 griottine cherries
  • 1 confit cherry

First, prepare the chocolate genoise. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 16cm cake tin with silicone paper. Prepare and bake the sponge in the prepared cake tin rather than on a tray. Leave the sponge to cool for at least one hour.

Next, prepare the chocolate shavings and cherry stalk, cherry compote, Kirsch syrup and Anglaise chocolate mousse.

Cut the genoise sponge horizontally with a serrated knife into four flat slices. Place the base slice on a cake board, which has been positioned on top of a turntable. Use a pastry brush to soak the sponge well with the Kirsch syrup, then spread a thin layer of compote on top.

Spread an even layer of chocolate mousse over the compote, about 1.5cm high. Place the next layer of sponge on top and transfer to the fridge to set for 20 minutes.

Make the crème chantilly and place in a piping bag fitted with a 14mm nozzle. Strain about 30 griottine cherries from their juice.

Remove the gateau from the fridge and soak the top sponge with Kirsch syrup. Pipe a spiral of chantilly, leaving a 1.5cm gap between each ring. Fill the gap between the cream with the strained griottine cherries.

Place the next layer of sponge on top of the chantilly and soak with Kirsch syrup. Spread a thin layer of compote on top, followed by an even layer of chocolate mousse about 1.5cm high. Place the final layer of sponge on top and soak well with Kirsch syrup.

Use a scraper to coat the entire gateau with a thin layer of chocolate mousse. Transfer to the fridge to set for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the fridge and coat with chantilly. Cover with chocolate shavings and place a confit cherry with a chocolate stalk in the centre.

Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Best eaten the same day.

Chocolate genoise

Makes two 30cm x 40cm baking trays

  • 300g whole eggs (about 6 eggs)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 230g flour and 60g cocoa powder sieved together
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line two 30cm x 40cm baking trays with silicone paper.

Put the eggs and sugar in a clean, sterilised bowl. Whisk over a bain-marie to 37°C. Remove the bowl from the saucepan of water and continue to whisk to the ribbon stage.

Fold the flour through the sabayon mixture using a spatula. When the flour is three-quarters folded through, take two large scoops of the mixture and add it to the melted butter.

Add the butter mixture to the base sabayon mixture and continue to fold through. Fold in until the mixture is incorporated and smooth.

Pour into the prepared baking trays or non-stick baking mat and spread out evenly with a step-palette knife. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown and the sponge springs back when pressed gently. Leave to cool.

Cherry compote

Makes 200g

  • 15g caster sugar
  • 5g pectin
  • 100g cherry purée
  • 100g cherries

Mix together the sugar and pectin in a small bowl. Put the cherry purée and cherries in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and pectin and cook for two to three minutes.

Pour into a shallow tray. Leave to cool, then put in an airtight container and transfer to the fridge.

Kirsch syrup

Makes 400ml

  • 225ml water
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 1½ peels of lemon zest
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 200ml Kirsch

Put the water, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the water and drop in the empty pod too. Bring to the boil and cook for two to three minutes. Take off the heat and add the Kirsch once the syrup has cooled.

Anglaise chocolate mousse

Makes 1.1kg

  • 550ml whipping cream
  • 150ml milk
  • 60g egg yolks (about 3 eggs)
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 320g dark chocolate (66% cocoa solids), chopped

Put 150ml of the cream in a saucepan and add the milk. Bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the mix becomes light in colour, about two to three minutes.

When the milk has boiled, pour half of it onto the egg and sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour this mix back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 82°C-84°C.

Take the saucepan off the heat and pass the mix through a fine sieve onto the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Using a spatula, mix until smooth and emulsified, then leave to cool.

Put the remaining cream in a mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the chocolate. Use immediately.

Crème chantilly

Makes 375g (13oz)

  • 180ml whipping cream
  • 180ml double cream
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 18g caster sugar

Whisk both creams, the vanilla seeds from the pod and the sugar together until soft peaks form. Use immediately.

Chocolate shavings

Hold a tempered block of chocolate at an angle and use a small knife to scrape the back of the block to create shavings. For smaller shavings, use just the tip of the knife. Leave the shavings to stand for a few minutes to firm before moving.

Cherry stalks

Lightly stick a sheet of patterned or plain acetate to a plastic tray with a little oil and rub all over with cotton wool to remove any bubbles. Pipe curved lines in the shape of cherry stalks and leave to set.

Confit cherries

Makes 600g

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 200g cherries, pitted
  • ½ a lemon
  • 100ml apple juice

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. When all of the sugar has dissolved, add the cherries and the lemon half. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the syrup thickens. Remove from the heat and leave for at least two to three hours (overnight ideally) for the cherries to marinate in the syrup. Strain the cherries and reserve the excess syrup.

Put the reserved syrup in a saucepan and add the apple juice. Bring to the boil and cook for five minutes. Reduce the heat and add the strained cherries. Cook slowly to 104°C. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three months

Charlotte royal

The original Charlotte cake was a hot dessert made with bread and baked apple. It is thought it was created by an English chef in the late 1700s in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. It wasn’t until Marie-Antonin Carême came to Brighton to cook for George IV that it evolved to become the cold set dessert we know today.


Makes 1 royale (serving 8)

  • Chocolate joined-up curves, to decorate
  • 1 quantity of raspberry jam
  • 1 quantity of Kirsch syrup
  • 2 quantities of Swiss roll sponge
  • 1 quantity of raspberry bavarois
  • 1 quantity of vanilla bavarois
  • 1 quantity of apricot nappage
  • 150g raspberries (setting aside one, halved and glazed with nappage, for decoration)
  • 1 quantity of crème chantilly
  • Edible gold leaf, to decorate

First, prepare the chocolate joined-up curves, raspberry jam and Kirsch syrup.

Next, prepare the Swiss roll sponge. When cooled, turn one of the sponge sheets upside down onto a piece of silicone paper. Cut in half widthways and trim the edges. Spread a thin layer of jam on the sponge, ensuring it is evenly covered. Roll lengthways into a tight spiral and repeat with the other half. Wrap in silicone paper and place in the freezer for at least two hours.

Cut two discs out of the second sponge – one 14cm and the other 16cm in diameter. Set aside until ready to use.

Now, prepare the vanilla bavarois. Line the 18cm half-sphere mould with cling film. Remove the frozen Swiss roll from the freezer and cut it into 1cm slices and place them in the dome mould, starting in the centre and working outwards. Gently push them together to ensure there are no gaps and continue until the entire dome is covered.

Place a 14cm entremet ring on a tray, then place the half-sphere mould on the ring to stop it from wobbling. Pour in the vanilla bavarois until just over one-third full and put it in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

Next, prepare the raspberry bavarois. Generously soak the prepared sponge discs with Kirsch syrup. Use a small palette knife to spread jam onto the discs so that they are evenly covered.

Remove the dome from the fridge and place the 14cm sponge disc, jam side down, onto the layer of vanilla bavarois.

Pour the raspberry bavarois into the dome mould, leaving a gap of about 1.5cm at the top – enough for the fresh raspberries and the final piece of sponge. Put the dome in the fridge to set for a further 10 minutes.

When semi-set, remove from the fridge and gently push the raspberries into the bavarois. Place the larger sponge disc, jam side down, on top of the raspberries. Return to the fridge for two hours to fully set.

To finish, melt the apricot nappage and remove the dome from the fridge. To demould, turn upside down onto a serving plate and gently lift the mould away and the layer of cling film. Brush all over with nappage.

Prepare the crème chantilly and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a D6 star nozzle. Pipe rosettes around the base of the dome. Decorate with the reserved raspberry halves glazed with nappage, chocolate joined-up curves and gold leaf to finish. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Best eaten the same day.

Chocolate decorations

Cut a rectangle of acetate 4cm x 18cm. Pipe thin, straight lines of chocolate with some of the lines overlapping along the acetate, then leave to semi-set. Carefully lift the chocolate-coated acetate and curl it around to create a spiral. Place it on a curved tray to set.

Raspberry jam

Makes two 200g jars

  • 150g raspberry purée
  • 150g raspberries
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 20g pectin
  • 10ml lemon juice

Put the raspberry purée, raspberries and 75g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix the remaining sugar with the pectin in a small bowl. Whisk the pectin mixture into the boiling raspberry liquid.

Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture reaches 104°C. Add the lemon juice and continue to cook for a further two to three minutes.

Test to see if the jam has reached setting point. Spoon a small amount of jam onto a cold plate or saucer, then put in the fridge for two minutes. Gently press the edge of the jam with a spoon. It is set if a skin has formed and the edges wrinkle. If it doesn’t, continue to cook the jam for another two minutes, then check again.

Pour the jam into a sterilised jam jar and leave to cool before closing the lid. Store in the fridge for up to one month.

Kirsch syrup

Makes 400ml

  • 225ml water
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 1½ peels of lemon zest
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 200ml Kirsch

Put the water, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the water and drop in the empty pod too. Bring to the boil and cook for two to three minutes. Take off the heat and add the Kirsch once the syrup has cooled.

Swiss roll sponge

Makes one 30cm x 40cm baking tray

  • 150g whole eggs (about 5 eggs)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 20ml Simple Syrup (make the Kirsch syrup but omit the Kirsch)
  • 125g plain flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking tray with a non-stick baking mat. Put the eggs, sugar and simple syrup in a clean, sterilised mixing bowl and whisk together over a bain-marie to 37°C. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and continue to whisk until it reaches ribbon stage. Carefully fold the sieved flour through the whisked sabayon.

Use a step-palette knife to spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes until it begins to colour and the sponge springs back when gently pressed. Cover with a sheet of silicone paper and leave to cool. Use immediately.

Strawberry bavarois

Makes 1.1kg

  • 12g leaf gelatine
  • 500ml strawberry purée
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • 80g egg yolks (about 4 eggs)
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 450ml whipping cream

Soak the gelatine in a bowl of ice-cold water for a few minutes until soft. Squeeze to remove any excess water.

Put the strawberry purée in a saucepan, add the vanilla seeds and scraped pod and bring to the boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they are well combined and light in colour.

Pour half the boiled liquid onto the egg mixture and mix well. Return the mixture back to the saucepan of strawberry purée and return to the heat. Stir with a spatula. Continue cooking the liquid until it thickens, coats the back of the spatula and reaches a temperature of 82-84°C on a thermometer.

Add the soaked gelatine to the custard and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl set in an ice bain-marie.

Whip the cream in a separate bowl to the ribbon stage. When the custard is cold, remove the bowl from the bain-marie. Be careful not to let it set. Fold the whipped cream into the cold custard. Use immediately.

Flavour variations

Turn this into a vanilla bavarois by replacing the strawberry purée with the same amount of milk.

Apricot nappage

Makes 850g

  • 200g Cox apples, washed and roughly chopped
  • 200g fresh apricots, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 12g pectin
  • 5ml lemon juice

Put the apples and apricots in a saucepan with half the sugar and the water. Cook over a low heat for about 15-20 minutes until the apples become soft. Remove from the heat, then leave to cool slightly.

Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Put the puréed fruit in a clean saucepan, return to the heat and bring to the boil.

Mix together the remaining sugar with the pectin in a bowl. Take the boiling purée off the heat, add the pectin and sugar, return to the heat and cook over a low heat for five minutes.

Add the lemon juice, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Pass though a fine sieve into an airtight container and leave to cool before transferring to the fridge. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within one week.

Crème chantilly

Makes 375g

  • 180ml whipping cream
  • 180ml double cream
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 18g caster sugar

Whisk both creams, the vanilla seeds from the pod and the sugar together until soft peaks form. Use immediately.

Fruits of the forest tart

‘Fruits of the Forest’ was originally an Italian flavour called Frutti di Bosco. During the 1980s, it became a firm favourite in commercial British desserts. Although it sounded very luxurious, even in my boyhood years it never lived up to expectations. It wasn’t until my late teens, when I used to get the night bus to Paris and gaze at beautiful fruit tarts in the windows of top pâtisseries, that I realised what ‘fruits of the forest’ should really represent.

Makes 1 tart (serving 12)

  • 1 quantity of pâte sucrée
  • 1 quantity of Grand Marnier syrup
  • 1 quantity of light fruit nappage
  • ½ quantity of crème pâtissière
  • ½ quantity of almond cream

To decorate

  • Fresh strawberries, halved, raspberries, blackberries, golden raspberries, pineberries, blueberries and redcurrants
  • Chocolate squares and curls
  • Edible gold leaf

First, prepare the chocolate decorations and leave in a cool, dry area to set for one to two hours.

Next, prepare the pâte sucrée and chill for two to three hours. Prepare the Grand Marnier syrup, light fruit nappage, crème pâtissière and the almond cream.

Place the rested dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 3mm thick. Line the tart case with the pastry, then chill for at least 30 minutes.

To bake and assemble, preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the prepared tart case from the fridge. Put the almond cream in a piping bag fitted with a 14mm nozzle and pipe a spiral of cream into the tart, filling to just over half the depth of the tart.

Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until golden. Leave to cool before demoulding from the tart case. Soak the top of the tart with the Grand Marnier syrup.

Spoon the prepared crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a 12mm nozzle and pipe the cream in a spiral on top of the tart, leaving a gap of about 2cm from the edge.

Cover the top of the tart with a layer of fruits. Build up the tart with more fruits, then carefully glaze them with the light fruit nappage. Decorate with the prepared chocolate decorations and gold leaf to finish.

Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Best eaten the same day.

Pâte sucrée

Makes 1kg

  • 250g room temperature unsalted butter, cubed
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g whole eggs (about 2 eggs)
  • 500g plain flour, sifted
  • 3g salt

Put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until soft and smooth. Add the icing (powdered) sugar and beat together until smooth.

Gradually incorporate the eggs, making sure the mixture becomes fully emulsified. Add the flour and salt and mix to a smooth, homogeneous mass.

Turn the dough out onto the work surface, shape it into a block and wrap it in cling film. Put the dough in the fridge to rest for two to three hours.

This pastry can be kept refrigerated for three days and frozen for up to one month.

Grand Marnier syrup

Makes 400ml

  • 225ml water
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 1½ peels of lemon zest
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 200ml Grand Marnier

Put the water, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the water and drop in the empty pod too. Bring to the boil and cook for two to three minutes. Take off the heat and add the Grand Marnier once the syrup has cooled.

Light fruit nappage

Makes 625g

  • 300ml water
  • 300g liquid glucose
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 18g pectin

Place the water and glucose in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix together the sugar and pectin in a small bowl, whisk into the boiling mixture and cook for about two to three minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and leave to cool before transferring to the fridge.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Crème pâtissière

Makes 750g

  • 500ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 120g egg yolks (about 6 eggs)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

Put the milk in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the milk and drop in the split pod too. Bring to the boil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture slightly thickens and turns light in colour, two to three minutes. Add the sifted flour and whisk again until smooth.

Pour half the infused milk into the mixing bowl and whisk again until there are no lumps.

Pass this mixture through a fine sieve, then return the mixture back to the remaining milk in the saucepan.

Continuously whisk the mixture until it comes to the boil. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and continue to stir and cook for five to six minutes.

Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the crème pâtissière into a shallow dish or tray. Cover with cling film and cool rapidly. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to two days.

Almond cream

Makes 1kg

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g whole eggs (about 5 eggs), beaten
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 50g plain flour, sifted

Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light in colour. Gradually beat in the eggs and mix until combined. Fold in the ground almonds and the flour and mix until smooth. Use immediately.

Chocolate decorations

Lightly stick a sheet of patterned or plain acetate to a plastic tray with a little oil, with the pattern facing up if applicable. Use a palette knife to thinly and evenly spread the tempered chocolate over the top.

Leave to semi-set, then cut or score the chocolate using the required equipment as specified below. Place another sheet of acetate on top of the chocolate followed by a plastic tray to keep it flat while it sets.

Squares

Cut with pastry wheels 2cm apart to create squares.

Curls

Cut a rectangle of acetate 4cm x 18cm. Pipe thin straight lines of chocolate along the acetate, then leave to semi-set. Carefully lift the chocolate-coated acetate and curl it around to create a spiral. Place it on a curved tray to set.

To make a paper cornet

Cut a sheet of silicone paper into triangles, making sure that you have one long side and two smaller sides.

Curl the paper around to create a cone with the tip in the centre of the long side of the triangle.

Tuck in the excess paper to hold it in place.

 

 

Start the discussion

Sign in to comment or register new account

Start the working day with

The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign up now for:

  • The latest exclusives from across the industry
  • Innovations, new openings, business news and practical advice
  • The latest product innovations and supplier offers
Sign up for free