Book review: 100 best cakes and desserts by Gabriel Gate

100 best cakes and desserts

By Gabriel Gate

Published by hardie grant books

Chef, author and Gourmet Tour De France presenter on SBS Gabriel Gate recently launched yet another recipe book, 100 best cakes and desserts, which will surely appeal to all dessert lovers.

Growing up in the Loire Valley in France, Gabriel credits his grandmother for instilling a love of cooking in him and his mother for sharing the joy of eating with him.

He trained as a cuisinier/patissier (chef/pastrycook ) in France over 40 years ago and after plenty of experience in restaurants, he focussed on teaching, writing and presenting cooking shows on television.

I remember him recalling his early years as an apprentice when he said the head chef at the restaurant where he was working would lock up all the young apprentices in their bedrooms at night, so they would not go out partying and be too tired to work the next day!

100 best cakes and desserts has delectable recipes for cakes, tarts and pies, cremes and mousses, fruits, sorbets and ice creams and hot desserts.

If you don't know the difference between choux and puff pastry, go to the basics section, where you can also learn how to make sponge finger biscuits, sauces and fruit coulis.

Try these recipes for a start.

French apple tartlets

Serves 6

This dessert brings back beautiful memories of my youth, cooking with my mum and grandmother at home. At its best, it is heaven. - Gabriel Gate

6 Granny Smith apples

400g (14oz) puff pastry (page 180 or store bought)

2 tbsp thick (double/heavy) cream

1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

70g (2 and 1/2oz) smooth apricot jam, warmed


Preheat the oven to 230 deg C (450 deg F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Peel and core the apples and cut two of them into 8 pieces.

Place the apple pieces in a saucepan with 2 tbsp water, cover and cook for a few minutes or until tender. Mash the apple, then set aside to cool.

Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 2mm (1/8inch) and cut into 8-10cm (3-4inch) rounds.

Place the rounds on the prepared tray and prick with a fork to prevent the pastry from shrinking. Refrigerate the pastry while you prepare the apples.

Halve the remaining apples and cut them into thin slices about 2mm (1/8inch) thick.

Stir the cream into the mashed apple and spread it over the pastry, leaving a 1cm (1/2inch) border. Overlap the apple slices on the pastry, working in a spiral pattern from the outside towards the centre, leaving no gaps.

Sprinkle the sugar over the tarts and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp and the edges of the apple are lightly browned.

Lightly brush the tarts with the apricot jam and serve warm.


Pineapple and raspberries with creme fraiche chantilly

Serves 4

Choose a very ripe and sweet pineapple and the best raspberries for this dessert. If the raspberries are not sweet, use strawberries or blackberries.

Juice of 1 lemon

55g (2 and 1/2oz, 1/4 cup sugar)

seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod

8 round slices of fresh pineapple, about 5mm (1/4inch) thick

200ml (7 fl oz) creme fraiche or cream (40% fat)

2 tsp milk

400g (14oz) raspberries


Combine the lemon juice, 2 and 1/2 tbsp water and 40g (2oz) of the sugar in a small saucepan.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.

Transfer the syrrup to a heatproof bowl. Stir in the vanilla seeds and set aside to cool.

Trim off the pineapple skin and cut out the hard centre core from each slice.

Place half of the lemon syrup in a small tray and top with the pineapple slices, taking care not to break them.

Pour the remaining syrup over the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Using electric beaters, beat the creme fraiche and milk in a bowl until almost firm. Beat in the remaining sugar. Refrigerate until required.

Place a pineapple ring on each plate and top with the raspberries. Add a second pineapple ring and spoon some of the syrup over the top.

Pipe or spoon a little of the creme fraiche mixture into the centre of the pineapple ring and serve immediately.




100 best cakes and desserts. By Gabriel Gate
French apple tartlets
Pineapple and raspberries with creme fraiche Chantilly