Michelin-starred chef, Jason Atherton’s journey began after he left Sheffield and moved to London when he was 16, and landed a job at a Michelin-starred restaurant as a pot washer. He worked his way up, eventually becoming a pastry chef, then head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze, and has since set up a string of restaurants across the world. His latest book, Social Sweets, is packed with tempting treats – two of which you can try at home.
For the raspberry compote:
50g caster sugar
A twist of cracked black pepper from a grinder
Juice of half a lemon
For the cheesecake:
250g cream cheese
90g icing sugar, sifted
Half a vanilla pod, split in half, seeds scraped out with a knife
250ml double cream
For the crumble topping:
85g digestive biscuits
15g unsalted butter, melted
Tip the raspberries and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan and add the pepper. Gently heat the mixture, stirring initially, until the sugar dissolves and the raspberries start to break down. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool completely. If not using soon, cover the bowl with cling film and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla seeds into a large mixing bowl. Beat the mixture together with a whisk until well combined. Whip the double cream to firm peaks in another bowl, then fold into the cheese mixture. If not using immediately, cover the bowl with cling film and keep in the fridge.
For the crumble topping, put the digestive biscuits into a clean plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin to fine crumbs. Tip into a bowl and mix with the melted butter (you can make this a few hours ahead, but store the crumble in an airtight container). To assemble the cheesecakes, spoon the cheese mixture into individual glasses or bowls. Spoon over the raspberry compote and then the crumble topping. Serve at once.
APPLE TARTE FINE
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
50g caster sugar
300g home-made puff pastry (or shop-bought butter puff pastry)
3 eating apples (such as Pink Lady, Jazz, Braeburn or Royal Gala)
Sifted icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or baking parchment. Brush the lined sheets with a little of the melted butter, then sprinkle over half of the caster sugar. Set aside.
Divide the pastry in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece to 2-3mm thickness. Place the pastry bases on the buttered and sugared baking sheets. Keep the baking sheets in the fridge while you prepare the apples. Peel and core the apples, then cut into neat 3mm slices. Remove the pastry bases from the fridge and arrange the apple slices on top, in overlapping rows, making sure that you leave a 1.5cm margin clear around the pastry rim. Brush the apples generously with melted butter, then sprinkle over the remaining caster sugar.
Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are cooked: there should be no resistance when you pierce them with the tip of a knife (if the apple topping has not browned enough, sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar and place under a hot grill for one to two minutes – watching closely – until the sugar caramelises and the top is nicely golden brown). Cool completely before cutting into slices and dusting with icing sugar.
Social Sweets by Jason Atherton is published in hardback by Absolute Press, priced £25.