Acclaimed British Pastry Chef Ravneet Gill Tells Us All About Her New Cookbook—It's a Love Letter to Dessert
British pastry chef, Countertalk founder, and Junior Bake Off judge Ravneet Gill really does love sugar. The title of her new book says it all: Sugar, I Love You: Knockout Recipes to Celebrate the Sweeter Things in Life ($29.95, target.com). But it's a love that's been a constant in her life since childhood; even while earning a psychology degree, she says she spent much of her time baking for her classmates.
Despite what its name might suggest, Gill wants you to know that the book isn't filled with cloyingly sweet recipes you can only take a few bites of. "If I'm making a cake, I want people to sit and enjoy the whole slice." When asked to describe her perfect dessert, balance was the key word she used. "I'm a really big fan of sweet things, but only when they're in balance," Gill said. "My perfect dessert has to have the perfect balance of sweet and salty––I love sugar and salt together––plus something crunchy and texturally pleasing."
In addition to thoughtful recipes and gorgeous photos, Sugar, I Love You has essays about Gill's life, family, and what it's like working as a pastry chef. Her previous book, The Pastry Chef's Guide ($24.95, barnesandnoble.com)—a handbook geared toward people who may be interested in going to culinary school and deep diving into technique and the theory behind pastry—is a bestseller. Her new tome, however, is intended for a broader audience. "[Sugar, I Love You] has more photos; it's very anecdotal and beginner-friendly," she says. "You can come in as a beginner or having read my first book and then apply those skills for more challenging things like entremets. It's all about building your skill set and putting your own twist on things."
The recipe in Sugar, I Love You that Gill is most excited about has a fun title. It's the LPC, or Lazy Person's Cake, and, "It's a really easy, quick recipe that, after you make it once, will be your go-to chocolate cake," she says. It wasn't that easy to nail the recipe, though; it took her 50 to 60 tries (plus a baking brainstorm with fellow pastry chefs) to get to it just right, but that just means that we can bake it at home without any problem. When we spoke to Gill, it was the day Sugar was published in the U.K. and she had an LPC waiting in the fridge, which tells us that it's a staple but also just right for a celebration, or as the books subtitle has it, a knockout.
Gill is also a fan of the soufflé. The Roasted Hazelnut Soufflé with Chocolate Sauce is another of her favorite recipes from the book. "It's a little difficult, but I think if you can nail the soufflé it soon becomes an easy thing that you'll be able to make for dinner parties," she says. We're up for the delicious challenge.