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Easy Baking by Chetna Makan

Posted by Nigella on the 28th July 2022
Image of Chetna Makan's Pear, Chocolate, Star Anise and Hazelnut Tarte Tatin
Photo by Nassima Rothacker

I’m always filled with a gratifying combination of excitement and reassurance when I know there’s a new book out by Chetna Makan: excitement because her recipes are consistently a-brim with flavour; reassurance because I know that they will be utterly reliable and cheerfully manageable. You can find two of her earlier books, Chetna’s 30-Minute Indian and Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian on here already, and now it’s time to welcome Chetna’s Easy Baking to CookbookCorner. I have to say, it is irresistible!

As she promises in her introduction, it’s a collection of both sweet and savoury recipes “with ingredients that are easy to find, but which all contain something new to make your bakes sing and shine”. But there’s a gentleness in this approach, which avoids tricksiness or novelty for its own sake. I’ve already marked page after page with post-its, and when I give you the list (thus far!) you will see why. So let’s go: Mango and Lime Meringue Pie; a sumptuous Beetroot, Chocolate and Coconut Cake; Cardamom and Walnut Sticky Toffee Pudding; a Saffron Fennel Loaf Cake that is particularly up my street; a beautiful Nutty Frangipane (there are walnuts and pistachios along with the almonds) Filo Pie; Rose and Cardamom Cheesecake (and I’m equally lured by the Rose and Cardamom Yum-Yums!), that finds its inspiration in that favourite, a crustless Basque burnt cheesecake; Jaggery Coconut Baklava; Coffee Cream Profiteroles with Chocolate; and, from a generous vegan section, Chocolate, Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies; Peanut Meringues; Chocolate, Coconut and Peanut Cake; and Potato Curry Puffs. Obviously, that last one is from the savoury department, and there are others I’d like to mention quickly: a chard lover, I have to draw your attention to the Rainbow Chard Masala Pasty, but I have to tell you about her fabulous and frilly filo-topped Masala Chicken Pepper Pie and Chutney Cheese Twists, too. And I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t dwell a little on her Giant Onion Cheese Spiral, the cheese in question being crumbled feta; the pastry makes it more of a project than most of the other recipes but not tear-inducingly so!

After much to-ing and fro-ing (there were just too many to choose from!), I decided to share her recipe for Pear, Chocolate, Star Anise and Hazelnut Tarte Tatin for you: a sticky, caramelly, juicy upside down tart which, you may be relieved to find out, is made with shop-bought ready-rolled puff pastry.

Book Credit: Chetna’s Easy Baking: with a twist of spice by Chetna Makan is published by Hamlyn, £20.00.
Photos by Nassima Rothacker.

Book cover of Easy Baking by Chetna Makan

Try this recipe from the book

Image of Chetna Makan's Pear, Chocolate, Star Anise and Hazelnut Tarte Tatin
Photo by Nassima Rothacker
Pear, Chocolate, Star Anise and Hazelnut Tarte Tatin
By Chetna Makan
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