Sunday, 27 September 2015

Casdon Annabel Karmel My Perfect Pastry Set

Annable Karmel doesn't need any introductions. She is a leading expert on children's nutrition and kitchen gadgets, and has inspired a range of baking kits for budding chefs. Both of my boys are interested in cooking, Sasha enjoys his cooking lessons in school, though he's more of an observer when it comes to cooking at home. He also watches a lot of cake-baking videos on Youtube, the more garish, the better. Eddie loves to help me in the kitchen, whenever I bake cookies or cupcakes. Decorating is his favourite bit.
I knew he would be thrilled to try a Casdon Annabel Karmel My Perfect Pastry Set.
Toy company Casdon has created a range of cooking tools for young chefs as inspired and approved by Annabel Karmel. These are perfectly normal kitchen utensils, only suitable for little hands. This set is aimed at children aged 5-11.
Annabel Karmel has written special recipes to go with the range (which also includes a Mini Pizza Set and an Ultimate Baker's Set).

This set includes:
1 round baking tin
1 mini tart pan
10 cookie cutters
6 measuring spoons
1 silicone spatula
1 measuring jug
1 mixing bowl with anti-slip base
1 silicone handle whisk
10 recipes

As you can see, all the tools are colourful and cheerful. Most of them are made of plastic (apart from the tins). They are light in weight, and can be easily handled by younger children, like my 5-year-old son. He loved the cookie cutters the best
The bright yellow mixing bowl has an anti-slip base. We have tested most of the tools in the set (except the handle whisk which we haven't had a chance to use yet).

During out first baking session we baked a bigger apple and rhubarb pie, using the bigger tin, a spatula and a butterfly cookie cutter for making pastry decorations on top of the pie.
I used the ready-made Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry as the base for both this pie and the mini-tart, which Eddie wanted to fill with raisins. Once baked blind, we filled in both pastry cases with the apple and rhubarb filling, which I cooked with sugar and a bit of water. Both were then baked in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes.
Apple and rhubarb pie
Eddie insisted on adding raisins to his mini-tart.
And yes, wearing a Superman costume while baking helps to be efficient
Later, when we had our pie and tea in the garden, he ate his own creation with gusto.

Mmm, mmm, good
The apple and rhubarb pie was lovely too. I served it with a bit of cream. And it disappeared very fast.

Today we baked a big batch of lemon cookies. The original plan was to follow Annabel Karmel's recipe as printed in the leaflet. You need 100g of cubed soft butter, 50g caster sugar, 150g plain flour and zest of 1 lemon. So far, so good, but the dough was not right in consistency, it was too crumbly and dry, there was no way I'd be able to roll it out. I added 1 medium egg and a tablespoon of lemon-flavoured olive oil.
Now I had a good working dough, which I rolled on the working surface, dusted with flour.
We had enough cookies to fill in 3 trays.
Once baked for about 10 minutes at 180C, we left them to cool.

Lemon cookies, raw and baked
In the meantime, I made some icing.
Eddie was very enthusiastic when decorating the cookies. I gave him different kinds of sprinkles, sugar hearts and silver pearls.

Again, the proportions for icing seemed not quite right: if you add 3tbsp of lemon juice to 200g icing sugar, the ratio of liquid per dry ingredient is not working. I cut the amount of icing sugar in half, and even then 3tbsp of lemon juice were not enough, I added one more spoonful to get the icing of the consistency I wanted.
I appreciate that it might be considered presumptuous of me to criticize the recipe created by the queen of baking, but her recipe for lemon cookies didn't work for me.

However, once we tweaked the recipe, the cookies were delightfully light and zesty.

The testing of biscuits is a serious business

We loved working with this set. I would only suggest to expand the kit by adding several tart pans, as usually you wouldn't bake one small tart at a time. Several would have been much handier.
I may also suggest relying on your own expertise while following the recipes. We haven't tried all the recipes, but the lemon cookies recipe definitely needed adapting and adjusting. If we followed it, we'd have had a pile of crumbs rather than lovely cookies. Saying that, my son and I are planning to cook some chocolate biscuit cookies some time soon.

Thumbs up to lemon biscuits!

Disclosure: We received the pastry set for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.

Ed's decorated biscuits


  1. What a fab set. Loving the biscuits, he did a great job

    1. It is lovely, and I'm sure we'll make a good use of it.