Guy shares his secrets for delicious sweet treats – happy baking!

Hints & Tips for perfect patisserie 

Using leaf gelatine is far easier, and has a better result, than powdered but if using powdered you will need one teaspoon to two leaves worth

Gelatine can only be re-used if it has not been boiled in the first instance, the higher the heat, the less the gelatine works

Gelatine should always be soaked in cold water before using

When using gelatine with fruit, the more acidic the fruit the more gelatine you will need

When making mousses don’t whip the cream past soft peaks, preferably slightly less as this is when the cream has most volume

When rolling pastry don’t press down on it as this will stretch the gluten molecules and they will pull back later, making your pastry shrink

Roll pastry between two sheets of parchment paper, place back in the fridge for a couple of minutes before removing the paper, this saves you rolling on a floured board and drying your pastry out

I believe the best pastry is made by hand, not machine

When making cakes make sure the eggs and butter are at the same temperature as this can help stop the mix from splitting when beating together

Raising agents, like baking powder, start to work on contact with moisture so as soon as you add to the mixture, don’t leave it standing around for too long – get it cooked!


Tempering Chocolate in the microwave

You could invest in a chocolate thermometer; they are not expensive and make it easier

Never temper less than 250g chocolate this way, the less you use the more likely you will burn it.

Melt dark chocolate to between 40 and 50c on half power, when removed from the microwave sit the bowl on a cloth not directly on the surface as it will cool too quickly

Stir gently adding a tablespoon of chocolate, this is called seeding, do this a couple of times. Don’t add the next tablespoon of chocolate until the other one has melted. If you feel that the by adding more chocolate it won’t melt any further then stop.  By adding small pieces of room temperature chocolate to the warm chocolate it changes the crystals in the chocolate which gives it a ‘snap’ that you want to achieve.

The pre-crystallising state has now begun, leave the chocolate to one side and stir occasionally – the crystals are now starting to form. How long this takes all depends on the environment, the cooler the room the quicker it happens. Ideal room temperature at 21c or 70f is best.

Once the chocolate has reached 27c / 82f it is now tempered but is not at the best temperature for working so place the bowl back in the microwave and heat to 31-32c / 88-89f – you need to take care of this and don’t go above temperature.

You can do this on the stove use a stainless steel or glass bowl, fitting tightly over a pan of simmering water. You mustn’t let the steam or water escape as a tiny drop of water will cause the chocolate to ‘seize’ and it will be unworkable.


Melting Temperatures


Dark Chocolate


Melt until it reaches 40 – 45c / 104 – 113f


Cool to 27 – 28c / 80 – 82f


Reheat to a working temperature of no more than 31 – 32 / 88-89f


Milk Chocolate


Melt until it reaches 32.5c / 90f


Cool to 27c / 80f


Reheat to a working temperature of no more than 30c / 86f


White Chocolate


Melt until it reaches 30c / 87f


Cool to 27c / 88f


Reheat to a working temperature




Chocolate Mousse for plated desserts


360g dark chocolate, buttons are easier to use than a block, if using a block you will need to chop it up in small pieces


100ml milk


60g caster sugar


2 leaves of gelatine


500ml whipping cream (double cream is OK but whipping cream will make a lighter mousse)




Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water.


Place the chocolate in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the milk and sugar, place over a medium to low heat and stir until dissolved and warm but not hot, remove from the heat.


Remove the gelatine from the water and give it a squeeze to remove any excess water, now add to the chocolate and stir until dissolved.


When the chocolate is about 25c whip the cream until it just forms soft peaks, now fold into the chocolate.


Pour into moulds and chill or freeze (this mousse freezes really well and is easier to handle when frozen)


When you are ready to serve remove from the mould or ring, decorate as you wish and serve.


Crème Anglaise (Vanilla Sauce)


125ml double cream


125ml whole milk


60g caster sugar


3 egg yolks


1 vanilla pod, halved and scraped


Pour the milk and cream into a heavy bottomed pan, add the vanilla and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat and allow to sit for five minutes so the vanilla can infuse.


Beat the yolks and the sugar together until pale in colour and sugar has dissolved.


Pour the cream onto the eggs beat together, pour back into the pan and place on a low heat and stir until it starts to thicken – do not let it boil otherwise you will have scrambled egg.  Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve and cool down.  The sauce can be used hot or cold.




Should you take the custard too far and the eggs start to scramble, if you have a stick blender give it a blast with that and pour through a sieve – it should be fine.


If you want to make a chocolate anglaise, add 100g of good quality chocolate to a bowl and sieve the warm anglaise over it, leave for a few minutes and whisk in


Other flavours:  Cinnamon, rose water, cardamom, bay leaf, and jasmine tea.  Just replace the vanilla with a small quantity of the above and infuse as you would do normally and sieve.




  • Always make sure there is no yolk in the white as the fat will stop the white from working


  • It helps to clean the bowl with white wine vinegar on a piece of kitchen paper, just give the bowl a good wipe around


  • Old egg whites give a greater volume, new whites will give a firmer texture – freezing your whites makes for a stronger firmer mixture


  • A meringue that weeps sugar is because the meringue was beaten for too long or not long enough


  • If you get a gritty texture this is due to the sugar not dissolving during the whisking, this is more likely to happen if you are whisking by hand


  • Beads of sugar on the finished meringue, rising or cracking is due to the oven being too warm


  • You can add the sugar at any point whilst making the meringues if using the same quantity of sugar to egg then add at the beginning.


  • If you are using double then try to add in stages as the meringue starts to form, add the first 1/3, allow it to form then add the next 1/3, just before its ready add the last 1/3, whisk a little longer, then stop and its ready to use


  • Should you add all the sugar at the end, the meringue will most likely go soft and lose its volume


Lemon Meringue


My twist on Lemon Meringue Pie


1 sheet of classic sponge cake, 1cm thick and cut to the size of a tin or 6-8 individual rings


Italian Meringue


6oz egg whites


12oz caster sugar


3oz water or lemon juice


Mix the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a pan, brush around the sides with water to stop crystallising.  Place on a high heat and reach 110c – at this point start to whisk the egg whites.


When the sugar reaches 121c and the egg whites are stiff, slowly pour the sugar over the whites, whisking slowly all the time until incorporated, whisk until completely cold.


Use immediately or cover tightly, place in a fridge and use later, it keeps well in the freezer for up to a month.


Lemon Curd


Juice of 5 lemons


5 eggs


190g sugar


210g melted butter


2 leaves of gelatine


Soak the gelatine in cold water.  Place the butter, lemon, sugar and eggs into a bowl, whisk together until smooth.  Place the bowl over a pan of hot water, make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens, it should leave a trail when drizzled with a whisk.


Squeeze the gelatine and whisk into the hot mixture.  Pass through a sieve and place in a liquidiser or food processor and blitz for one minute.


Soaking Syrup


Juice of one lemon


20ml white wine


40g sugar


Boil together until the sugar dissolves and cool slightly


Assembling the Lemon Meringue


Cut the sponge to how you want it – squares or rounds


Brush with the soaking syrup, pour the lemon curd over the top so that its quite thick – 2-3cm deep.  Place in the fridge to set.


Once set, pipe on the meringue and place under a grill or blast with a blow torch to colour.


Black Forest Gateau


Chocolate Sponge Cake


140g self raising flour


10g cocoa powder


140g butter


140g soft light brown sugar


3 large eggs, separated


85ml water


85g dark chocolate melted


5g salt


You will need the oven at 180c or GM 4

One 6” cake tin with the base lined with parchment paper


Sieve the flour and cocoa in a mixing bowl


Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy


Gradually add the egg yolks and water, then add the melted chocolate, flour and cocoa a little at a time.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff, fold in a ¼ first, then fold the rest into the mixture.


Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until firm to touch and the cake springs back at you.


Remove from the oven and cool.


Dark Chocolate Mousse


250g dark chocolate


500ml whipping cream


Melt the chocolate to 50c, whisk the cream just to aerate, but should still be liquid.  Add ½ the cream to the warm chocolate and mix with a whisk.  Add the rest of the cream and whisk until thick.  Pour into a piping bag.


Black Forest Assembly


1 small quantity of stock syrup – 100g sugar and 100ml sugar, bring to the boil allow to cool


I can of black cherries in syrup


50ml kirsch


150g melted chocolate


  1. Cut the sponge ring in half through the middle so you have two discs, now brush the outside with melted chocolate but not the cut side.


  1. Mix the kirsch and the stock syrup together and brush on to the sponges so they soak it all up, keep the cake chocolate side down this will help stop the syrup from running out.


  1. Place one sponge ring into an 8” ring which has a good centimetre gap between the ring and the sponge.


  1. Half fill the ring with the chocolate mix, around the sponge and over the top, now spoon some cherries over the top of the mousse not to close to the edge, place the second sponge chocolate side down over the top, press down slightly and fill the rest of the ring with the chocolate mousse, place in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for a couple of house until set.


Cover with Chocolate Ganache


500ml dark chocolate melted


500ml whipping cream, warmed but not boiled


Heat the cream, pour slowly over the melted chocolate, stirring all the time


Allow to cool.


Remove the cake from the freezer, remove the ring – if you have a blow torch give it a little blast and it will slide off, if not warm in your hands and push it out. If all else fails run a warm knife around it!


Tip:  Use food grade acetate rolls – they are very good for lining moulds with, then you can just slide it out of the ring and peel off the strip


Pop the cake on a wire rack, over a tray and pour the ganache over the cake so that it slides down the sides. Smooth the ganache so that any gaps are covered.




600ml whipping cream


2 leaves of gelatine


30g icing sugar


Soak the gelatine in water until soft


Bring 50ml of the cream to the boil, then add the gelatine, squeezing out the excess water


Allow the cream to cool until just still warm, then add to the rest of the cream with the sugar and whisk to firm peaks.


Pipe on to the top of the cake and leave to set.


Slice up and serve!


Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies


360g self raising flour


180g soft brown sugar


180g butter


2 eggs


210g dark chocolate chips


Oven: 150c / GM3 / 300f


Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.


Gradually add the eggs and then the flour, stir in the chocolate chips.


Place in the fridge and rest for 30 minutes to firm up.


Roll into small to medium sized balls and bake on a lined try in the oven for 20-25 minutes.