Chef: Samuel McClurkin
Position: The Dog At Wingham. Kent, United Kingdom
How did you get started?
I fell in love with food at a young age. Distinctively, I have a vivid memory of my Nanna and I creating a strawberry cheesecake. Remarkably, I have a Polaroid somewhere, dated September 2003. So cooking and baking has always grown with me throughout my childhood. It wasn’t always frequent or consistent as I would only be blessed with these cooking demonstrations when I visited my grandparents. However, it remains a consistent, fluid memory of mine.
I believe this sculpted a young, unaware Chef Samuel McClurkin.
What was your first position?
My first position I ever held within a restaurant was a kitchen porter at the age of 14. I always knew I wanted to work hard.
The story behind the dish:
I came up with this last summer. When I was younger, brandy snaps were my favourite thing and I wanted to utilise them somehow in a dessert. I played around with a few ideas - that’s how the particular dish came about.
Brandy Snap Baskets
What you need:
Cast iron baking tray
50g unsalted butter
50g brown sugar
50g golden syrup
50g sifted plain flour
¼ tsp ground ginger
Half a lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon
1 tsp brandy
Preheat the oven to 175C, set to the lowest fan setting.
Line a cast iron baking tray with baking parchment or a good quality Silpat mat.
Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter and sugar have melted.
Put the flour and ginger in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the lemon zest and juice and the brandy. Pour in the butter mixture and gradually beat it into the flour until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Use a teaspoon to dollop 3 - 4 heaps of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Two heaped teaspoons is enough for a basket. Space them well apart as they will spread.
Cook in batches for 8 – 10 mins until set, golden brown and lacy in appearance. Do not allow it to go too dark as they will taste bitter. Leave for a minute before shaping – the snaps should still be pliable but set enough to move without tearing.
Transfer to a cooling rack.
To make baskets, oil the base of small ramekins or narrow tumblers and drape the biscuits over them. The top of the biscuit should touch the base this time as this is the bit you’ll see. The base of the biscuits should be the bit that touches the mould so that the top ‘presentation’ side of the biscuit is seen.
If not using straightway, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Select 4-5 different varieties of seasonal fruits and berries local to you. In the heat of summer I personally love to choose between gooseberries, raspberries & blackberries accompanied by a few pieces of white wine poached pear and a couple of ripe damsons.
To lift your dessert to the next level, try dressing your fruits either with the poaching liquor from the pear or alternatively with some lemon juice and honey.
Pick a plate that will showcase your simplistic yet exceptional sweet treat.
Begin by dotting a little dollop of clotted cream in the centre of the plate. Place the brandy snap basket on to the clotted cream. This will anchor the snap in place, preventing it from toppling over or moving.
Dress your chosen fruits accordingly. Arrange with care, filling up your basket. I recommend keeping the less pretty looking fruits at the bottom of the edible basket.
With a warmed spoon, scoop a nice helping of fresh clotted cream on top. Dust with a little icing sugar.
Being a chef is my life. I know I’m still young and that realisation enables me to remain humble. With that attitude I know I can learn and be great things!
Please comment, like, or share! Let's hear your story!
Story on the Pass