Weekend Cooking: The Messy Baker by Charmain Christie


I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.


Title: The Messy Baker: More than 75 delicious recipes from a real kitchen

Author: Charmain Christie

Published: Rodale Books August 2015

Status: Read on August 09, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

After a sweet introduction, more properly a dedication to her mother, Charmain Christie opens The Messy Baker with ‘The Messy Manifesto’ and proclaims, “Never trust a person with a clean kitchen.”

The Messy Baker is cookbook for the enthusiastic home baker with a mix of over 75 sweet and savoury recipes. Full page photograph’s complement the appealing design, though not every recipe is featured.messy2

The first chapter, ‘Basics’, suggests ‘Can’t-do-without items’, Nice-to-have items, and ‘I’m-a-baker-and-I’ve-earned-it items’, before listing Essential ingredients that every baker should have on hand, their uses, tips for prep where applicable, and proper storage of said ingredients. And if you are still feeling a little lost, the Appendix includes a glossary, a measurement conversion chart, and a list of emergency ingredient substitutions.

Christie then begins with recipes for puff, shortcrust, and Pate Sucree pastry, as well as tips for working with phyllo pasty. The recipes are sorted into seven chapters categorised by texture.

messy1Flaky recipes include Morrocan Lamb Parcels, Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Scented Palmiers and Cherry and Lemon Macaroon Meringues. Crumbly treats include Stuffed Tomato, Arugula, and Cilantro Focaccia, Savoury Pecan and Cheddar Bites and Deep, Dark Cherry and Chipotle Brownies. The Dippable recipes are for dunking in coffee, tea, milk, soups, or sauces and include Rosemary and Black Olive Grissini, and Espresso and Hazelnut Biscotti. If you prefer foods that drip or ooze their filling then the Smoky Mushroom Crepes or Boozy Chocolate Torte (shown on the book’s cover), found under Sloppy, might appeal. The Peppery Pear and Smoked Gouda Dutch Baby and Burnt Caramel and Sea Salt Sticky Buns are two recipes found under Smudgy. Gritty sweet and savoury recipes include Many-Seed Lavash Bread and Citrus-topped Poppy Seed Bars. Drippy recipes include temptations such as Lime-Cilantro Dipping Sauce, Boozy Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and Chocolate Anything Sauce.

I liked the tone of this cookbook, Christie’s notes are encouraging, her tips are useful and of course there is no expectation of perfection, though there is an art to pulling off the ‘messy’ look. What it does lack is an index, and Christie’s timing ‘Commitment’ approach is a little eccentric.

You can get a feel for Charmain Christie’s approach to baking on her blog, themessybaker.com

Available to Purchase via

Rodale Press I Amazon US I IndieBound


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurie C
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 02:29:30

    I like the idea of an I’m a Baker and I’ve Earned It list! I have a messy kitchen most days, so I’m glad to know that’s actually a good thing!



  2. mysm2000
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 03:04:58

    Sounds like fun!



  3. Beth F
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 05:24:22

    This does sound like a fun book! And Phew on the messy kitchen thing — I’ve got that one down pat.



  4. Vicki
    Aug 12, 2015 @ 00:37:21

    I’ve been on a cookbook kick lately and have been thinking about getting back into baking too. This sounds like it’d be a great help.



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