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According to chef Jessica Elliott Dennison, breakfast bakes don’t always require you to spend half a day labouring over a complicated recipe. In fact, her new cookbook is full of “lazy bakes” that are as easy as they are tasty…
While working breakfasts may be a speedy affair (rushed bowl of cereal, anyone?), we like to treat weekend mornings with a more leisurely approach. Wandering to a local café for an almond croissant and a milky coffee is very much our Sunday vibe, but we’ll happily admit that we don’t often attempt to DIY our favourite bakery treats.
You’d be forgiven for assuming the worst but, according to cook Jessica Elliott Dennison, rustling up delicious morning baked goods isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as it may first appear. Founder of Elliott’s, a cult kitchen and shop in Edinburgh that serves a relaxed seasonal menu alongside simple bakes and excellent coffee, she’s adept at creating recipes that fit seamlessly into jam-packed days. Case-in-point: Elliott Dennison’s previous cult-favourite cookbook, Tin Can Magic, released in 2019.
Now, she’s set to publish a new recipe encyclopaedia that’s sure to become a kitchen bible. Lazy Baking: Really Easy Sweet and Savoury Baking, is packed with foolproof, reliable recipes that can be made as easily on WFH mornings as they can on low-key Sundays. Set alongside beautiful images that capture Elliott Dennison’s signature relaxed aesthetic, each bake is pared-back, brilliantly tasty and, best of all, will slot easily into your morning agenda. Can’t wait to get started on a batch? Below, you’ll find three of Elliott Dennison’s “lazy” recipes, all best-suited to breakfast….
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If you’re a fan of citrus, you’re certain to love her fennel seed and lemon pastries. She zests three whole lemons to give the parcels a deliciously sharp zing, and fills ready-made puff pastry with a zesty frangipane mix. Think: almond croissant, but 187 times more delicious.
Love homemade bread but can’t dedicate half a day to making it? You’ll want to try Elliott Dennison’s porridge soda bread rolls. She combines oats, flour and plain yoghurt for a no-kneed-needed dough that, when baked, becomes deliciously fluffy. We’ll be slathering these with butter and re-making them as often as we can.
Finally, while Yorkshire puddings and pancakes are individually tasty, Elliott Dennison’s ingenious hybrid is infinitely more delicious. She makes a classic pancake batter, then quick-cooks it in a hot oven, Yorkshire pudding-style, so that it puffs up spectacularly. Paired with blackcurrants and a squeeze of lemon, it makes the perfect morning centrepiece. Breakfast will never be the same again…
Fennel seed and lemon pastries
Jessica says: “Fennel seeds aren’t just for pasta, curries or sprinkling over sausage rolls. Here, the pops of aniseed that the fennel seeds offer magically combine with sweet, sticky frangipane and lemon zest to transform shop bought puff pastry into something that tastes far more sophisticated than it is. Yes, I’m aware that asking you to zest three lemons might sound extreme for a single batch of pastries, but it’s the citrus zest that really makes these, trust me.”
Makes: 12 small pastries
Takes: 25 minutes, plus 35–40 minutes baking time
- 1 sheet ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry (about 35 x 23 cm)
- 1½ tbsp icing sugar
- For the fennel seed and lemon frangipane:
- 50g ground almonds
- 30g butter, soft/at room temperature
- 70g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of sea salt flakes
- 2 tbsp milk (ideally whole), plus 1 tbsp for brushing
- 1½ tbsp fennel seeds, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling
- grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 1 lemon for zesting after baking
First, preheat the oven to 180°C fan (gas 6) and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Next, make the frangipane by putting all the frangipane ingredients (except for the zest of 1 lemon) in a food processor and blitzing until smooth. (Or mix in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon using lots of elbow grease.)
Unroll the sheet of pastry on a clean work surface. Using a sharp knife, cut it into 12 small rectangles, measuring about 8 x 5 cm.
Spread a heaped teaspoon of frangipane in the centre of each pastry rectangle. Roll each pastry rectangle lengthways. Twist the rolled pastries slightly, as you would a cheese straw. Bring the two ends together to make a horseshoe shape and pinch them together. Transfer to the lined baking trays.
Using a pastry brush, dab the horseshoes with the extra tablespoon of milk. Sprinkle over the extra tablespoon of fennel seeds and bake for 35–40 minutes or until golden.
Using a sieve, dust the pastries with icing sugar while still warm from the oven. Using a Microplane or fine side of a box grater, zest the remaining lemon over the pastries. Leave to cool.
The pastries will keep well for up to 2 days in an airtight container. Enjoy with a strong coffee.
Porridge soda bread rolls
Jessica says: “There’s something incredibly homely and comforting about these rolls. Simply split in half, lightly toast, slather with an inch-thickness of butter and enjoy with a big pot of breakfast tea.”
Makes: 8 rolls
Takes: 10 minutes, plus 25–30 minutes baking time
- 150g rolled porridge oats, plus extra for sprinkling
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp caster sugar, brown sugar or honey
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 egg
- 350g plain natural yoghurt
- splash of milk, for brushing (optional)
First, preheat your oven to 180°C fan (gas 6). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Next, place the oats, flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or balloon whisk, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients to ensure the bicarbonate of soda is evenly distributed. (Biting into a clump of raising agent is no fun!)
Make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Crack the egg into this well and, using a fork or balloon whisk, mix the egg into the mixture. Pour in the yoghurt and then stir until it becomes a scruffy-looking dough.
Dust your work surface and hands with a few spoonfuls of flour and then, using your hands, gently knead the dough until combined. (You don’t want to knead very much.)
Pat the dough into a rectangle measuring 25 x 15 cm, then divide into 8 equal-sized rolls. Rather than being perfectly circular, I prefer my rolls to be a rough triangle-ish shape, as shown opposite, but you do as you please!
Transfer the rolls to the lined baking tray. If using, gently dab the milk over the rolls with your fingers and then sprinkle a few extra oats onto each roll.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.
These rolls are best eaten on the day they’re made, or they will keep until the next day when stored in an airtight container.
Yorkshire pudding pancake
Jessica says: “Preheating your oven to high means this simple pancake batter will puff up in a similar way to a Yorkshire pudding or a popover, making a dramatic, brunch-table special. I’ve used blackcurrants here, but of course, feel free to use whatever berries you have. If you want to go all out, serve the pancake with maple syrup and bacon instead of the extra sugar and lemon juice.”
Makes: 1 large pancake/to fill a 14cm cast-iron pan (scale up the recipe accordingly to make more)
Takes: 5 minutes, plus 15 minutes baking time
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp caster sugar, plus 1 tsp for sprinkling
- 50ml milk (ideally whole)
- ¼ tsp vanilla paste
- 40g plain flour
- tiny pinch of sea salt flakes
- grated zest of 1/3 lemon, plus ½ lemon for squeezing over
- 5g butter
- handful of blackcurrants
First, preheat the oven to 220°C fan (gas 9) and place your cast-iron pan in the oven to warm for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, using an electric whisk (or balloon whisk with plenty of elbow grease), mix together the egg, sugar, milk, vanilla, flour, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl until really fluffy.
Wearing oven gloves, carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Add the butter to the pan, swirling it around so that the melted butter coats the base and sides.
Pour the batter into the pan and then scatter over the blackcurrants. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp on the edges. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door as the pancake may collapse and flatten.
Wearing oven gloves again, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the pancake to a plate. Sprinkle the pancake with the extra sugar and squeeze over the lemon juice. Eat straight away.
Lazy Baking: Really Easy Sweet And Savoury Baking by Jessica Elliott Dennison (£16.99, Hardie Grant) is out 30 September. Pre-order here
Photography: Matt Russell