Marco would be the first to agree that the gap between restaurant cooking and home cooking is vast. For example, he has a full-time pastry cook producing puff pastry, all manner of biscuits, creams, caramels and sauces, to assist him with these masterpieces.
But he makes no apology for offering no short cuts in indicating how to achieve these dishes at home, and perfectly understands that you may not be able to find ingredients of the quality he would demand. You may not have the time, either, to attempt every stage or all the accompaniments. There's no need to slavishly copy him, he argues. Adapt these dishes to your own taste, and express yourself.
The photographs on these pages show how Marco transforms such ordinary materials into high gastronomic art skills that have made him the first Englishman to win three Michelin stars, and the youngest chef ever (at 32) to do so. But don't be discouraged by his credentials, or by how lavish his creations look. He insists that how the dish tastes is the essential thing.
Marco, who was brought up on a Leeds council estate, credits his Italian mother with the inspiration for his success. There's a distinctly Italian touch to some of the desserts he offers us this week. Enjoy.
This is Marco's sensational version of the restaurant novelty of the 1990s. It's obviously more of a tour de force if you choose to serve it as he does with tuiles, but he suggests you could serve it in a coffee cup or similar. In his restaurant, Marco serves tiramisu with his own little dipping biscuits, biscuits cuilleres, but you can use langues de chats bought from a shop.
70g/234oz caster sugar
125g/412oz mascarpone cheese
120ml/4fl oz double cream
To finish and serve: 16 langues de chats or biscuits cuilleres
about 100ml/312fl oz espresso coffee
about 50ml/2fl oz Amaretto
8 cooked and shaped tuiles or tulip baskets (see basic recipes on page 53)
To make the tiramisu cream, whisk the egg and sugar in a bowl in a bain- marie until it reaches 50C/122F. Take out of the bain-marie, and cool the sabayon by whisking firmly.
Cream together the mascarpone cheese and the double cream, and whisk into the cold sabayon until smooth. Set aside.
A few minutes before you want to serve the tiramisu, soak 8 of thedipping biscuits in a mixture of the espresso coffee and the Amaretto.
To assemble, place the tuiles or tulip baskets on individual plates, and pour a little tiramisu cream over the bottom. Place a soaked biscuit on top, then top with more cream to the rim of the tulip case. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with the remaining biscuits to dip.
APPLE TART WITH VANILLA ICE-CREAM
This is Marco's famous Tarte Tatin, the upside-down tart first credited to the Tatin sisters of Normandy. You can equally make it with bananas or pears, instead of apples.
300g/11oz puff pastry (see basic recipes on page 54)
200g/7oz unsalted butter, melted
For the vanilla ice-cream (10 portions): 6 egg yolks
120g/12oz caster sugar
500ml/17fl oz milk
6 vanilla pods, split
200ml/7fl oz double cream
To serve: 1 quantity creme anglaise (see basic recipes on page 54)
Make the ice-cream first. Mix the egg yolks and sugar together well in a rounded bowl. Put the milk, the vanilla pods and scraped-out seeds in a pan and bring to the boil.
Pour the hot liquid over the yolk mixture and mix well. Return to the pan and to the heat, and cook very slowly, stirring until the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon.
Remove from the heat and pass through a fine sieve into a bowl over ice to cool it down quickly. When cold, whip in the whipped cream. Put in an ice-cream machine and churn until frozen, or freeze in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Roll out the puff pastry to a circle 25cm/10in in diameter, then pleat the pastry all the way around the edge. Leave to rest.
To prepare the apples, slice very thinly widthways, and arrange carefully and neatly on top of the pastry base, making sure there are no gaps. Brush the melted butter over the tart, then sprinkle with the caster sugar.
Place the tart on a tray and cook in the preheated oven for one hour. Halfway through the cooking, place another baking tray on top of the tart, and invert the tart on to it, apple side down. Return to the oven to cook, to make sure the apple is nicely caramelised.
To serve, cut the tart in generous wedges, and accompany with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for each guest, and the creme anglaise.
FEUILLANTINE OF RED FRUITS
A very generous dessert, crammed with delicious fruit. You can choose the berries according to taste and availability. Marco does a feuillantine made entirely with raspberries, about a punnet or more per person. He has a top pastry chef, so he makes his own puff pastry but you can use the bought version instead.
200g/7oz puff pastry (see basic recipes on page 54)
450g/1lb mixed berries (raspberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackberries)
1 quantity raspberry puree, made with 300g/11oz raspberries and 100g/4oz caster sugar, blended and sieved
For the sabayon of Kirsch: 1 egg
1 egg yolk
25g/1oz caster sugar
1 gelatine leaf, melted in a little water
350ml/12fl oz double cream
2 tablespoons Kirsch
To serve: confit of orange zest (see basic recipes on page 53)
Roll the pastry out on a work surface sprinkled with icing sugar, to form a rectangle about 3mm/ 18in thick. Roll the rectangle up like a Swiss roll and chill in the fridge for two hours.
Slice the puff pastry roll into circles roughly 1cm/12in thick, and roll out each circle until it is paper-thin. Place on non-stick paper on baking trays, and cut into tidy discs using a plain 10cm/4in cutter, if you have one as part of a kitchen set, or a bowl or cup if you don't. Rest for an hour or so in the fridge.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220C/ 425F/Gas 7. Bake the pastry circles in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. As soon as you take them out of the oven, press flat immediately with the clean base of a heavy pan. The circles should be completely flat, not risen like conventional puff pastry. Leave to cool.
To make the sabayon, mix the egg and the egg yolk with the sugar in a bowl over a bain-marie. Whisk over a gentle heat until warm, then cool down.
Add the melted gelatine to the egg mixture, and mix in well. Whip the double cream to firm peaks, whisk in the Kirsch, then combine with the egg mixture. Chill for 30 minutes.
Keeping a few spare berries for garnish, mix all the fruit in a bowl, together with about half the sieved raspberry puree.
To serve this spectacular looking dish, spoon some puree (coulis) on to each plate. Place a puff pastry disc on top, and top that with 2 drained tablespoons of the mixed berries. Top this in turn with 1 tablespoon of the sabayon. Place another puff pastry disc on top of that, dust with icing sugar, and decorate with the orange zest, the mint and the retained berries.
RED WINE JELLY
This is a cleaner, lighter, fresher alternative to summer pudding in the soft-fruit season. It's slightly alcoholic, of course. Vary the fruits according to availability and quality and, if you can get them, use leaves of gelatine (small, flat squares) instead of poorer quality powdered gelatine. The quality of the wine isn't that important as it is heavily sweetened, but it shouldn't contribute a coarse flavour. Use a nice young red wine like a Beaujolais.
250g/9 oz caster sugar
325ml/11fl oz red wine
2 star anise
4 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water to soften
1 punnet raspberries; 1 punnet strawberries; 1 punnet blackberries;1punnet blueberries
To serve: 1 quantity raspberry puree, made with 300g/11oz raspberries and 100g/4oz caster sugar, blended and sieved
To make up the jelly, put the sugar and red wine into a pan with the star anise, and melt the sugar over a gentle heat. Take off the heat, add the softened gelatine, and leave to cool but not set. Warm it from time to time, if necessary, to keep the jelly runny.
Arrange a layer of raspberries on the bottom of four moulds. Pour over a little of the jelly and leave it to set, then add a layer of thinly sliced strawberries, more jelly, a layer of blackberries and blueberries mixed, more jelly, and repeat with strawberries and jelly as a final layer. Leave to set each time between layers. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
To serve, turn the jelly out on to a plate (dip the base of the moulds briefly in hot water). Accompany with the raspberry puree, and some extra red fruit if you like.
There need be no fear about whether this souffle will succeed or not, for it is comprised of little more than a mass of keenly flavoured frothy egg white. Make a blackberry souffle the same way, using creme de cassis for the reduction and marination. Use a little less water, as blackberries contain more water than raspberries. Bake the souffle for 7-8 minutes instead of 10.
Frozen raspberries are actually better than fresh for the puree (or coulis) which is used as the base of this souffle. They contain more moisture than fresh, and are much cheaper.
50g/2 oz unsalted butter
220g/734oz caster sugar
16 fresh raspberries
100ml/312fl oz Framboise (raspberry eau de vie)
12 egg whites
200ml/7fl oz raspberry reduction (see basic recipes on page 54)
To serve: 1 quantity raspberry puree,made with 300g/11oz raspberries and 100g/4oz caster sugar, blended and sieved
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and thoroughly grease four souffle dishes 7.5cm/3in in diameter and 6.25cm/212in deep with half the butter. Place in the fridge until the butter sets hard, then butter again just before pouring in the souffle mixture. Sprinkle with 20g/34oz of the caster sugar to coat, tipping out any excess.
Marinate the fresh raspberries in the Framboise until ready to use.
Put the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer and begin to beat. When they start to take shape, start adding the remaining sugar, a quarter at a time. When thoroughly mixed in, add another quarter and so on.
Put the raspberry reduction the souffle base in a round bowl and whisk in a third of the beaten egg white; this loosens the base. Fold in the remaining egg white carefully.
Half fill the souffle dishes with the mixture, then place three drained, marinated raspberries in the centre. Fill to the top with the mixture, then scrape off evenly with a palette knife. Run your finger around the edge to push the mixture away from the sides. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
To serve, place the dish on a plate with a raspberry on top, and some of the pre-prepared raspberry puree, or coulis, on the side.
CREME BRULEE WITH VANILLA PODS
75g/3oz caster sugar
5 egg yolks
2 vanilla pods
50ml/2fl oz milk
450ml/15fl oz double cream
100g/4oz demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Mix the sugar and egg yolks together well in a bowl. Split the vanilla pods in half and scrape the seeds out into the milk and cream in a pan. Pour the cream and milk on to the yolks, mix well, then pass through a conical strainer to strain out the pods etc, but not the seeds.
Divide the mixture between eight small, round-eared dishes or ramekin dishes, and cook in a bain-marie in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool and set, then chill in the fridge.
Sprinkle the tops with the demerara sugar, and glaze under a hot grill. Allow the sugar to set hard. Serve in the dish.
CREME CARAMEL WITH SULTANAS
Marco says he learnt this dish in his first top restaurant, The Box Tree at Ilkley in Yorkshire, where it was one of the specialities. A dariole mould is a circular metal cup used in kitchens; you can substitute small ceramic souffle dishes, or even coffee cups.
1 egg yolk
120g/412oz caster sugar
500ml/17fl oz milk
1 drop vanilla essence
200g/7oz caramel sauce (see basic recipes on page 54)
50g/2oz sultanas, soaked in a little dark rum
Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1, and have ready four dariole moulds. Mix the whole eggs, egg yolk and sugar together, then add the milk and the vanilla essence. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean container.
Divide the caramel sauce between the dariole moulds; place the sultanas on the caramel. Pour in the custard to the rim of the mould, and cook in the bain-marie in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Leave to cool. To serve, turn out the moulds on to plates so the caramel surrounds the sultana-topped shape.
CONFIT OF CITRUS ZEST
A useful garnish for desserts and occasionally meat dishes. Prepare at least the day before.
zest of 1 orange, 2 limes or 2 lemons (or a mixture)
syrup to cover, made by dissolving about 50g/2oz sugar in about 2fl oz water
Cut the citrus zest into very thin julienne strips and blanch briefly in boiling water. Refresh in cold water. Repeat this blanching and refreshing twice more, to get rid of any bitterness. Drain well. Place the zest julienne in a small pan with just enough syrup to cover. Bring to the boil, then cook gently until the zest is tender, about 20 minutes. Leave to cool in the syrup. When required, drain off surplus syrup.
TUILES (TULIP BASKETS)
These crisp, filigree, bowl-shaped biscuits make wonderful containers for many different kinds of dessert the tiramisu on page50, for instance, and sorbets and ice-creams.
Makes 8-10 biscuits
100g/4oz unsalted butter
120g/412oz caster sugar
4 egg whites
100g/4oz plain flour
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, and grease a large baking tray (or trays) with a little extra butter. Cream the butter and the sugar together until they are white and creamy, then add the egg whites, breaking them in one at a time. Finally, fold in the flour.
Spoon a few tablespoons of the mixture on to the tray(s) and spread out in thin circles. Don't let them touch. This makes 8-10 tuiles.
Cook until golden brown in the preheated oven, for about 4-5 minutes (though this depends on the oven), then remove.
Quickly shape each soft tuile over an inverted mould (a ramekin or small pudding basin bottom, for instance). Leave to cool and set over the mould. Store in airtight containers.
This sauce is wonderful with an apple tart, or just with vanilla ice- cream. Make it a couple of days in advance if you like.
60g/214oz caster sugar
125g/4fl oz double cream
Melt the sugar gently in a heavy-based pan, then cook to a dark caramel. Add the cream carefully, as the hot caramel will make it boil and spit and stir to a sauce consistency.
This is the basis for the raspberry souffle on page 53. The puree is made simply by blending 300g/11oz raspberries with 100g/4oz caster sugar and sieving. Frozen raspberries are moister, and cheaper, than fresh ones.
Makes about 400ml/14fl oz
1 quantity raspberry puree, sieved
25ml/1fl oz Framboise (raspberry eau de vie)
100g/4oz caster sugar
100ml/312fl oz water
Put the raspberry puree in a pan and simmer very gently to reduce it by half. Dissolve the cornflour in the Framboise, and add this to the reduced puree. Stir and cook together until thickened, then remove from the heat.
Mix the sugar and water together in a separate pan, and boil up to 121C/250F. Add to the raspberry mixture, mix in well. Leave to cool.
Chef's note: blackberries can be substituted for the raspberries. They need less water 25ml/1fl oz instead of 100ml/312fl oz and you use creme de cassis instead of Framboise.
This pastry will keep for a day or two in the fridge, and freezes well. It is mainly used for desserts, but it is good as a wrapping for skate.
Makes about 1.1kg/2121b
450g/1lb strong plain flour, sieved
1 teaspoon salt
450g/1lb unsalted butter, softened slightly
180ml/612fl oz water
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 Sieve the flour into a circular mound. Make a well in the middle and put into this the salt, 60g/214oz of the butter, the water and vinegar. Mix and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Mould into a ball and score a cross with a knife across the top. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest in a cool place for an hour.
2 On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a sheet 20cm/8in square, rolling the tails of the cross more thinly than the centre.
3 Place remaining butter in a block in the centre of the dough. Bring up the four corners of pastry over the butter to make an envelope.
4 Roll this out into a rectangle 25cm x 15cm/ 10in x 6in and fold in three. Turn through 90 degrees. This constitutes a "turn".
5 Ensuring the rolling pin is at right-angles to the folds, roll out again to a rectangle the same size as before, and fold in three again as before. Again turn the pastry through 90 degrees (in the same direction as before). Two turns have now been completed.
6 Cover and rest in the fridge for an hour.
7 Roll out again twice in a rectangle, fold and turn as in steps 4 and 5. Four turns have now been completed. Rest the dough again in the fridge for another hour. Repeat stages 4 and 5 again. Six turns have been completed. Rest dough for one more hour in the fridge.
This basic sweet sauce is served with a variety of desserts. On these pages it is used as an accompaniment to fruit tart and ice-cream.
Makes about 10 portions
6 egg yolks
120g/412oz caster sugar
500ml/17fl oz milk
1 vanilla pod (optional)
Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl; bring the milk and vanilla to the boil in a pan. Pour the hot milk into the egg yolks in the bowl, mix well and swiftly, then return to the milk pan.
Cook very slowly over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pass through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl. Leave to cool. Cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.'!Reuse content