Lorraine Pascale might not be a household name here in the U.S., but she is a bestselling cookbook author across the pond. Jamie Oliver calls her “the undisputed queen of the kitchen.” She came to the public’s attention with her BBC2 television series, Baking Made Easy, and went on to write books that included savory cooking as well as desserts. Her newest book, A Lighter Way to Bake, has both sweet and savory recipes. Some of them are all-new, some are lighter revamps of her most-requested, previously published recipes. We chatted by phone about her approach to lightening up desserts.
Dédé Wilson: Lorraine, Thank you for spending some time with us. I’d like to hear about your approach to baking with a lighter hand. You stick with basic pantry ingredients as opposed to using alternative ingredients. Tell us about that.
Lorraine Pascale: It was important to me to use real– and everyday – ingredients. Alternative ingredients can be difficult to find, and expensive. Then to make one recipe, it becomes about going to several places to shop. I didn’t want to ask that of my readers.
How about ingredients like alternative sugars? Splenda and the like. I get asked to create recipes with these all the time.
I know sugar. I know how it is going to work in a recipe. It has gotten a bad rap, but these recipes are lighter in every way – less sugar, less fat. I am not comfortable working with a sweetener like Splenda. I don’t know enough about its effects on the body.
I totally agree. This is what attracted me to your book, that you use real ingredients. Tell us about the Skinny Caffe Latte Butterfly Cakes. How did you develop that recipe?
In the U.K., butterfly cakes, or fairy cakes, are quite popular. In America, you have cupcakes. We have butterfly cakes!
Are they mostly found in bakeries?
No, mostly in people’s homes. We serve them at tea parties. I gave mine a coffee flavor while lightening the recipe at the same time.
With making the desserts lighter, what were your greatest challenges?
It was challenging to create light and fluffy texture and still have a dessert that tasted good. I didn’t want to sacrifice anything! It is a balancing act to get it just right.
Do you have a favorite recipe?
The Baked Coconut Shrimp. It has a mango salsa and it is so fresh and light – and impressive and quick! For sweet, I do like the butterfly cakes as well as the banana muffins. I freeze them and reheat in the mornings.
How do you hope people will use this book?
I want people to bake up these treats and be able to see that they are lighter and healthier and that they can have indulgences like these everyday. At the bottom of each recipe, there is a comparison of my recipe and a comparable one. You can see the reduction in calories, fat, sugar and salt as well as the protein content.
Well, Lorraine, thank you so much for your time and your new book. We will be featuring your butterfly cakes as well as your Lemon “Yogurt” Pound Cake with a Tangy Citrus Glaze.
Image: Myles New