Skip to main content

Leon - Baking and Puddings: A Review

I didn’t realise a 3rd Leon book was in the pipeline until it (Leon: Baking and Puddings) landed on my doorstep – a pleasant surprise for someone who uses the first two books a great deal in the kitchen.

It also pleased me that on a quick initial look through the almost 300 pages of recipes I came across a recipe for ‘Good Scones’ with the jam and cream the correct way round – the Cornish way! We immediately got off on the right footing.

Leon: Baking and Puddings is co-authored by Henry Dimbleby, co founder of Leon restaurants and Claire Ptak, the former pastry chef at California restaurant Chez Panisse and now the chef proprietor of Violet Cakes in London.

Illustrated in the ‘classic’ Leon style the book is split into two halves – part one: Everyday, including chapters on breakfast, snacks, tea time, puds, cooking with children, bread and sweets; part two: Celebrations  including chapters on Christmas, Easter, Bonfire Night, Halloween, birthdays and even wakes.

Throughout the book there are ‘how to’ sections sharing with the reader basic techniques and tools as well as comprehensive information on typical baking ingredients such as flours, sugars and sweeteners and eggs. There is also inspiration for the more experienced home cook too with recipes for Baked Alaska and Honeycomb. But what makes this book really stand out for me is that three quarters of the recipes in it are either sugar, dairy, wheat or gluten free – so great for people with food intolerances or allergies.

On to some of the stand out recipes. First up the ‘Better Brownie’ on page 76 which uses fructose instead of sugar – something I’ve never used before myself. Tea Time treats includes lots of lovely cakes – with the Clementine Polenta Cake looking particularly good. The gooey Lemon Bars on page 94 are also going on my must try list.

The famous Leon Chocolate Mousse can be found on page 144, again sugar free! There are fruity sorbets and parfaits, ice creams (Raspberry Ripple – my all time favourite) and bombe’s as well as more traditional pudding recipes such as Spotted Dick and Sussex Pond Pudding.

Of particular interest to me was the cooking with children chapter – which if I am honest was a little light on recipes. My eldest is a keen baker and she liked the look of the Technicolour Dreamcake on page 187 and has asked for it for her birthday.

On to the Celebration section where traditional recipes like Simnel Cake, Pumpkin Pie and Mince Pies stand alongside more contemporary offerings such as Meghli – a sweet scented Lebanese rice pudding traditionally served at Christmas and the amazing Triple Chocolate Fantasy Cake on page 272.

There is a quirky extra helpings chapter right at the end of the book including the Leon Salted Caramel Banana Split recipe – with a montage of diners attempting to eat it (it is huge!). All in all a book that I’m sure will be well used in my kitchen and would make a lovely Christmas present for someone with food intolerances or allergies.


  1. Ohh, I'd spotted this the other night in Leon and thought it would be a good 'un to add to my (ever expanding ) collection!

  2. I've only seen the first book which I bought as a present for a friend. Would love to have it myself and this one sounds good too.

  3. Good idea.Will hunt for Leon book.Sounds interesting:)

  4. This is on my Christmas list. Looks great!

  5. I must have a flip through this book next time I go past the bookshop. Everyone seems to be raving about it.


Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment!

Popular posts from this blog

Honey and Peanut Butter Flapjacks

These flapjacks are now my official weekday grab and go breakfast. I make a big batch on Sunday evening and I'm all set for the week. Oddly I don't really like peanut butter but it works well in this recipe. You can always substitute it for an extra 100g of ordinary butter if you wanted. A handful of raisins makes a nice addition too.

OTHER FLAPJACK RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKEBanana and Coconut Flapjacks from Jam and Clotted CreamCherry Oat Bars from A Mummy TooChocolate and Banana Flapjacks from Tinned TomatoesDark Choc Chip Flapjacks from Munchies and Munchkins

print recipe
Honey and Peanut Butter Flapjacks by Beth Sachs October-8-2012 These flapjacks make a great grab and go breakfast or after school snack Ingredients 100g Butter100g Peanut Butter200g Demerera Sugar200g Clear Honey400g Rolled Oats Instructions Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c and line and grease a 30 x 20cm tin.Step 2: Melt the butter, peanut butter, sugar and honey together…

Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne (No Browning Required)

My slow cooker is my best friend on week days, especially when it's a recipe like this Chilli Con Carne that requires NO pre browning of the meat. It takes all of 3 minutes to 'make' before leaving the slow cooker to do all the hard work during the day. Then, when you get in from a long day at work and the kids are starving, all you need to do is cook some rice and grate some cheese! If you have any leftovers you can stir them into cooked pasta the next day along with some creme fraiche and grated cheddar for a super simple chilli pasta bake. Everyone in my house loves this recipe...well apart from the kidney beans which the kids aren't too keen on!

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING SLOW COOKER CHILLI CON CARNEIf your children actually like kidney beans (mine usually pick them out) add another tin for extra fibre.Instead of adding the spices separately you could buy a Chilli Con Carne spice sachet (e.g. Schwartz) and use that instead.If you like a bit of heat add a tsp of dried chi…

Golden Syrup and Oat Cookies

My Mum used to make these moreish buttery cookies all the time and they bring back great childhood memories of licking the syrup spoon clean. They take less than 10 minutes to make and 10 minutes in the oven so they are super speedy for busy days...and most importantly the kids love them.


print recipe
Golden Syrup and Oat Cookies by Beth Sachs August-17-2009 A super easy golden syrup and oat cookie recipe. Ingredients 100g Butter100g Caster Sugar2 TBSP Golden Syrup100g Self Raising Flour100g Oats1/2 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda Instructions Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°c/160°c Fan and line two baking sheets with baking paper.Step 2: In a large pan melt the butter, syrup and sugar then stir in the flour, oats and bicarbonate of soda.Step 3: Roll into large walnut size balls and place well apart on the baking trays. Bake for 10 minutes.
Details Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 MinutesTotal time: 20 Minutes
Yield:Makes 15 cookies

Pin the Golden Syrup and Oat C…

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake: An Alternative Christmas Cake

Every year I make a Christmas cake and every year I'm the one that ends up eating the thing. So in a concerted effort to maintain my waistline, this year, instead of a traditional Christmas cake I'll be making an alternative Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake to enjoy. After all, who can resist the quintessentially festive chocolate orange combo?

The beauty of a biscuit cake is that it can be made 3 or 4 days ahead and left in the fridge until you want to serve it (or a cold garage if the fridge is bursting at the seams!). All you need is a dollop of clotted cream and you're sorted. If this is being made for an entirely adult audience I would use all dark chocolate in the topping.

TIPS FOR MAKING A FESTIVE BISCUIT CAKEAdd some fudge pieces or nuts if that's what your family likesDecorate with festive sprinklesIf you prefer make in a large square baking tin and cut into slices
OTHER BISCUIT RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKENo Bake Malteser Cake from Lucy LovesChocolate Honeycomb Mince…