Irish chef, Rachel Allen has been creating extraordinary dishes including luscious bakery bits since completing her studies at the Ballymaloe Cooking School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland. A well known celebrity in the UK and Ireland, American audiences are just getting to know Rachel through her show Bake! on Cooking Channel.
Each episode of Rachel Allen’s Bake! is broken into two segments. First, she guides her viewers through a recipe or two, complete with tips and shortcuts. Then her students file in for instruction. As amazing a baker as Ms. Allen is, it is during the teaching segment that she really shines. Calm, confident, and hands on, Rachel helps her students overcome the stumbling blocks of cracked custard and improperly separated eggs. Alternatively, you can cook them in an egg cooker.
During an episode entitled “Quiche & Meringues,” to bring home the importance of stiffly peaked egg whites when creating the perfect meringue, after her students finished whipping their egg whites, she laughingly turned the bowl of whip upside down over their head. One student had not quite gotten the hang of separating eggs and a bit of yellow had slipped in, rendering the whip too soft to use. Rachel showed cheerful sympathy and instead of dumping the eggy mess on the student’s head, simply helped her to start again. It was a light-hearted and instructional moment for both the students at hand and those tuning in from home.
In addition to Rachel Allen: Bake! on Cooking Channel, the accomplished chef has several popular cooking programs currently running on the BBC’s Good Food Channel. She is the author of five cookbooks to date, teaches class at the Ballymaloe Cooking School, which was founded by her mother-in-law Darina Allen, and writes extensively for food related publications including the Sunday Tribune magazine.
Best Rachel Allen Tip: When blind baking crust for pies or tarts, place a plastic wrapped pouch of dry beans on top of the crust after arranging it in the tin. The plastic wrap will not melt and the beans will provide enough weight to keep the dough in shape as it bakes.
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