Would it be very immodest of me to say that Warm Bread and Honey Cake seems to have attracted a cult following? It has certainly become embedded in the baking repertoire of many people across the world and has made me scores of new friends. This book is special to me in so many ways. It is the result of years of research, testing and travelling and contains recipes from all over the world, accompanied by anecdotes, cultural and historical information, and of course lots of practical information about ingredients, techniques and equipment. Here are a few examples, per chapter:
FLATBREADS contains many types of roti from my Guyanese childhood, such as flaky parathas, soft and tender potato roti and thick seasoned sada roti, as well as Turkish yoghurt dough bazlama flatbread and griddled pasties or Sac börek.
YEAST BREADS, CAKES & ROLLS includes Jamaican hard dough bread, a ‘modern’ lardy cake, Central European walnut rolls (potica), Dutch Duivekater and fruit loaves, Turkish simit, Mallorcan ensaimadas alongside the sweet-and-salty brioche-like Filipino enseymadas, chocolate and hazelnut buns and more.
CAKES, subdivided into Fruit Cakes, Spice Cakes, Chocolate Cakes, Nut Cakes, Coconut Cakes and Other Cakes. Think of banana cakes, layered Chilean drunken apple cake with cream, spiced Indonesian layer cake, a whole collection of speculaas recipes, Sachertorte, Engadine nut and toffee pie, Hungarian walnut Gerbeaud slices, Caribbean coconut cakes and puddings, Latin American tres leches cake, green tea sponge, cheesecakes and many more cakes from around the world.
In SMALL CAKES, PASTRIES & SAVOURIES you’ll find toasted flour polvorón pastries, date-filled ma’amoul, shortbreads, almond paste delights from Holland, chocolate and pistachio sandwiches, Chinese bean cakes, pineapple tarts, meat pastries, steamed Chinese buns and even cocktail cheese biscuits.
LEAF & THREAD PASTRIES means the wonderful world of baklava. Old ladies’ necks, palace rolls, nightingales’ nests, classic as well as fine and fragrant Persian baklava, stuffed rolls made from kadayif thread pastry and other delicious treats. For those who want to make their own filo pastry, there are clear instructions and a simple recipe, ideal for homemade strudel and well-filled nutty baklava. I couldn’t make it difficult even if I tried, because filo pastry is such a simple thing to make.
Warm Bread and Honey Cake, Pavilion 2009; Interlink h/b 2010, p/b 2013. Translated into Dutch as Zelfgebakken, Kosmos Uitgevers 2011. Photography by Vanessa Courtier.