Mary Berry is back with another selection of soon-to-be classic recipes

This is what happened when we tried recipes from Mary Berry’s new cookbook, Simple Comforts…

Putting a Mary Berry cookbook through a ‘tried and tested’ ordeal may seem like sacrilege to some. After all, the former Great British Bake Off judge is a culinary legend, the trusted guide of many a home cook, through many a decade.

Picture credit Laura Edwards/PA

But not even Berry rests on her laurels. At 85, she’s still writing cookbooks and for this one, Simple Comforts, also stars in an accompanying BBC series (and wouldn’t you, if you got to go to Paris and learn to make proper crepes like she did?).

We picked two of the recipes from the new collection and gave them a go, to see if Berry still has it…

Picture credit Ella Walker/PA

Ella Walker tested: brioche frangipane apple pudding
All four of those words sound good: brioche, frangipane, apple, and pudding. Especially if you, like me, have a real thing for frangipane – that slightly gooey, slightly crumbly texture, like the top inch of sponge in a sugar-syrup drenched drizzle cake.

This recipe, as you’d hope from Berry, is an easy to follow doddle. You simply squish slices of brioche into the bottom of a butter greased tin, and mix the rest of the ingredients together (butter, sugar, almond and plain flour, eggs and almond extract).

The trickiest bit is slicing the apples thinly enough, and then arranging them in a circular pattern on top, as though you work in a French patisserie – which, as you can see, I clearly don’t.

I threw the pudding in the oven alongside a tray of wedges for dinner (both took 40 minutes, they didn’t seem to mind each other), and it was still warm in the middle after we’d finished dunking said wedges in mayo and chilli jam.

Nicely golden (same colour as Berry’s – really felt quite proud), it turned out light in the middle and crisp on top, while the apple slices were slightly dried out and chewy (in a good way).

The whole thing tasted like a mellower, cakey take on a Bakewell tart.

Full disclosure, I did forget to brush on the melted apricot jam (it smelt too good to wait and faff with jam, and a dollop of creme fraiche on the side happened before I could stop myself), but will endeavour to apply this golden lacquer when I bake it again. Which I will, because this pudding is autumn in a tin.

Picture credit Lisa Salmon/PA

Lisa Salmon tested: wild bramble mousse
When I looked at the recipe for Berry’s wild berry mousse, I knew it was going to be a little fiddly, mainly because of separating and whisking egg whites, and folding them into the blackberry mixture. But I gave it a go – and, as I cracked open my sixth egg (the recipe only needs two), I wished I hadn’t.

The recipe starts off easy enough, boiling what seemed like a bushful of blackberries with sugar and lemon juice, then adding gelatine leaves and leaving it to cool and thicken slightly. I was nervous about the gelatine, as I’ve not used it for a long time and have memories of problems with gelatinous lumps in the past. But there was no problem with it, and thankfully, my berry mixture remained smooth.

But then came separating the eggs and whisking them. Oh dear… I separated the first two without getting any egg yolk in them, and whisked them, but as the recipe says to be careful not to over whisk, I was paranoid about over whisking. When the egg whites formed peaks I thought I’d whisked them enough, but then decided the peaks weren’t stiff enough, so I whisked them a bit more, and they went less stiff, so I decided I’d over whisked and needed to start again. I cracked open another two eggs, got yolk in them this time and tried to take it out, but was obviously unsuccessful as I whipped it for ages and it just wouldn’t thicken. So I separated eggs number five and six and whipped them up till they looked much like the first lot – I wasn’t sure if the peaks were stiff enough again, but to be honest I didn’t really care anymore. Good job I’d bought a lot of eggs!

After whipping up the cream I folded it and the egg whites into the cooled berry mixture, having sieved it to get the seeds out – Berry says to discard the seeds but after tasting them, I actually ate the lot as they were nice and sweet (and I’m greedy).

I poured the finished mousse into a posh crystal bowl and popped it in the fridge overnight, with a few reserved berries and icing sugar on top to make it look pretty, then we ate it after Sunday dinner the next day. The verdict? “Quite nice” – not even the kids raved about it. After all that egg whites trouble I was hoping for something absolutely fantastic. It was good, but not spectacular.

Picture credit Claire Spreadbury/PA

Claire Spreadbury tested: double baked mushroom souffles
Making a souffle strikes fear into the heart of any home cook, me included. But, I have successfully made one before. And this one comes fresh from the pages of Mary Berry’s latest book, which seems to lull you into a false sense of security – you just trust her, don’t you?

I was wrong, of course, to trust her wholeheartedly. I spent a wonderful afternoon concocting this dish – which you can prep ahead of time and is genuinely relaxing to make. I even enjoyed finely chopping the mushrooms up into teeny-tiny dice, though I did fantasise about owning one of those vegetable chopping gadgets from the 1980s (which no doubt Berry has in a cupboard somewhere).

It was all going swimmingly, but after whisking the whites to stiff peaks, the recipe says to ‘stir about a tablespoon of egg whites into the egg and mushroom mixture and carefully fold it in, keeping everything light and airy.’ So I stirred through a good spoonful and momentarily stared into my mixing bowl, which still had a lot of egg white left in it. It’s obvious when you think about it, that the rest of the mixture also needs to be stirred through, but I trust Berry to be uber-specific, so I left it at that and popped them in the oven surrounded by boiling water. After 15 minutes, they were wonderfully golden but they were also flat as a pancake, and after some Googling, I realised my mistake.

Thankfully, the leftover ingredients from my Ocado delivery (which cost just over £20 and serves 6-8 as an indulgent starter, or main with salad or veggies) contained enough to make another two souffles. So I divided the recipe into thirds and started again. The second coming was much more successful, though it’s worth noting that these souffles don’t rise enormously, and tall or flat, they all tasted utterly delicious. I might even make them again at Christmas.

Simple Comforts by Mary Berry is published by BBC Books, priced £26. Photography Laura Edwards. Available now.

Words by Ella Walker, PA

Give these recipes a try for yourself and tag us in to any photos, we would love to see your creations…


Picture credit Laura Edwards/PA

Brioche frangipane apple pudding, serves 8


  • 1/2 a brioche loaf
  • 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • 175g ground almonds
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 25g plain flour
  • About 2 red dessert apples, skin on, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp apricot jam
  • 1tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • Icing sugar, for dusting


  1. You will need a large, shallow ovenproof dish, about 28cm in diameter. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6 and grease the dish with butter.
  2. Slice the brioche into thin slices, about 5mm (quarter of an inch), and arrange these over the base of the dish. Make sure you cover the base and fill in all the gaps, but don’t overlap the slices.
  3. Measure the butter and sugar into a food processor and whizz until pale and fluffy. Add the almond extract, ground almonds, eggs and flour, then whizz again until the mixture is soft and creamy and there are no lumps. Be careful not to over-process.
  4. Spoon the mixture over the brioche base and spread it to the sides. Arrange the sliced apples in a neat overlapping circular pattern over the top. Bake the pudding in the oven for about 40 minutes until lightly golden all over and firm in the centre when lightly pressed.
  5. Melt the jam with two tablespoons of water in a small pan. Brush over the surface and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Dust the pudding with icing sugar and serve warm.


Picture credit Laura Edwards/PA

Wild bramble mousse, makes 6


  • 600g blackberries
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 5 leaves of gelatine
  • 150ml pouring double cream
  • 2 egg whites

To serve:

  • 50g blackberries
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • 100ml whipped cream


  1. You will need a 1.1 litre (2 pint) glass dish or six small dishes.
  2. Tip the blackberries, lemon juice and 75g of the caster sugar into a saucepan. Stir, cover the pan and simmer for five to eight minutes until soft. Pass the blackberries through a sieve back into the pan, then discard the seeds. Reheat until piping hot.
  3. Put the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water and leave for five minutes. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add them to the hot blackberry juice. Stir until dissolved. Set the mixture aside until it is cold and has thickened slightly.
  4. Whip the cream to soft peaks. In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites, adding the remaining 100g of caster sugar a teaspoon at a time. Keep whisking until all the sugar has been incorporated and the whites are stiff and look like a cloud (as for a meringue). Take care not to over whisk or it will be tricky to incorporate the egg whites into the blackberries.
  5. Add two large tablespoons of the whipped cream to the blackberry and gelatine mixture and stir in gently. Carefully fold in the rest of the cream and the egg whites until the mixture is smooth and light, with no white bits visible. Pour into the dish or dishes and place in the fridge for about six hours, or ideally overnight, to chill and set.
  6. Decorate with a few blackberries, dust with icing sugar and serve with some whipped cream.


Picture credit Laura Edwards/PA

Double-baked mushroom soufflés recipe, makes 6


  • 75g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
  • 50g plain flour
  • 300ml hot full-fat milk
  • 50g Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 300ml pouring double cream
  • 50g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2tsp Dijon mustard


  1. You will need 6 x size 1 (100ml) ramekins. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7 and butter the ramekins generously.
  2. Lay a piece of kitchen paper in the base of a roasting tin – the paper stops the ramekins for slipping in the tin.
  3. Melt 25g of the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry them over high heat for a few minutes.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and cook for another four minutes, then remove the lid and fry over a high heat to evaporate the liquid. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
  5. To make the soufflé base, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour to make a roux and cook for a minute.
  6. Gradually add the hot milk and whisk over a high heat until you have a thickened, smooth sauce.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until the sauce is smooth.
  8. Add the mushrooms and the cheese and season, then set aside to cool a little.
  9. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir about a tablespoon of egg whites into the egg and mushroom mixture and carefully fold it in, keeping everything light and airy. Continue doing this until you’ve folded in all of the egg whites.
  10. Divide the soufflé mixture evenly between the ramekins and sit them on the paper in the roasting tin. Pour enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  11. Bake the soufflés for about 15 minutes until risen and lightly golden.
  12. To make the sauce, pour the cream into a jug and add the spinach and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  13. To serve, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7. Carefully run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and remove the soufflés.
  14. Sit the soufflés, browned side up, in an ovenproof dish, then spoon the sauce around them. Reheat for about 12 minutes until piping hot.
  15. Serve with dressed leaves or some brown bread.

Simple Comforts by Mary Berry is published by BBC Books, priced £26. Photography Laura Edwards. Available now.

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