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Taste of Europe: Edoardo Pellicano’s honey cake

Food writer JOSH BARRIE brings readers a recipe from a chef who captures London's endless multiculturalism perfectly.

Edoardo Pellicano's honey cake.

Few chefs capture London’s endless multiculturalism more than Edoardo Pellicano, who was brought up in London by his Italian father and his Chinese-Singaporean mother.

Such diversity fostered Pellicano’s cooking and helped to propel him to become the executive chef at Mãos, the Michelin-starred restaurant in East London, which operates much like a supper club, immersing diners in the experience.

Before Mãos, Pellicano worked at various other high-profile kitchens, including Locanda Locatelli, Nuno Mendes’ Viajante, and Portland.

He honed his skills as a teenager at his father’s Italian restaurant Ibla in Rome, working part-time to support his research and development at college.

Today, Mãos is hot property and bagging a booking isn’t easy. While you wait, you might like to try cooking this sunken honey cake, a dish dreamed up by Pellicano.

It is quite complex, but worth the effort.

To create a sunken honey cake is to pay homage to Winnie the Pooh, which I think probably everyone should do at some stage.

Makes 1 cake (serves 4)

Ingredients

130g egg yolks
12 egg whites
24g icing sugar
130g heather honey (a clear style honey is also suitable)
60g plain white flour

Optional ingredients
13g whisky – Kaiyo whisky is recommended

Specialist equipment required
1x16cm diameter spring-form cake tin, at least 9cm depth
Hand mixer/stand mixer
Rubber spatula
Balloon whisk
Cooling wire rack

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180C, place the honey into a small pot and heat up to a gentle simmer. Maintain this for two minutes then take off the heat and let it cool naturally to body temperature.

2. Place the egg whites into a mixing bowl and sieve the icing sugar into the whites, whisk the whites to a stiff peak.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the cooled-down honey, until the mixture is very fluffy and has at least doubled in volume.

4. Incorporate ½ the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture, folding with a spatula. Once fully incorporated, add the remaining half and fold until fully incorporated to make a fluffy batter.

5. Sieve the flour into the batter and whisk by hand until the flour is dispersed. Take care not to over whisk it and lose the air in the mixture.

6. Cut a sheet of baking paper into a circle with a diameter of 35cm, grease the paper with a touch of oil or non-stick spray, then dust lightly with flour. Stuff this paper into the cake tin, folding the sides to make it neat on the edge of the cake tin. Pour the cake batter in.

7. Gently tap the cake tin on your work surface to knock the larger bubbles out of the batter. Place into the oven and bake for at least 14 minutes. Don’t open the oven during this time because it will affect the rise of the cake.

8. Once the time is up have a look at the cake, give it a little shake to see if there is a slight wobble on the surface – ideally, you want a bit of wobble as this means the centre of the cake is still runny, which is what you want. If it moves in a very liquid kind of way, it may need more cooking. If so cook for an additional 1-3 minutes, depending on the performance of your oven.

9. Take the cake out and release it from the tin, using the paper to pick up and handle the cake and allow to cool in the paper on the wire rack for 8 minutes.

10. Once cooled the cake is ready to serve. It’s best served once the 8 minutes of cooling is finished as it’ll still be runny and warm. If you choose to, you can then pour whisky on the top of the cake and flambé the top before cutting into it.

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