Royal Recipes: Chef recreates Queen Mary's chocolate cake
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Queen Elizabeth II was officially welcomed at Balmoral last week, where she was reunited with a cheeky Shetland pony and greeted by the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Darren McGrady, a former royal family chef, has shared the delicious recipe he used to make for the Queen’s afternoon tea during her stay at Balmoral. McGrady used to work in the kitchens at Kensington Palace, cooking for the Queen as well as Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry when they were young.
The royal chef now has his own YouTube channel with over 68,000 subscribers, where he shares his dishes, desserts, and drinks that were loved by the Royal Family.
McGrady often includes sweet anecdotes about his time serving the Queen, so is a great resource for royal fans to discover new recipes and insights into the family.
In a YouTube video, the chef revealed the secret ingredient for traditional Scottish shortbread, a treat he used to make for the Queen when she visited Balmoral.
The chef said he used to make the sweet bake at least once a week, as it was always on the afternoon tea menu.
He added that the Queen loved Balmoral and that he wanted to share the special recipe in tribute to the beautiful setting, which covers over 50,000 acres.
McGrady revealed they used a lot of local produce from the grounds in their cooking, as the castle has its own vegetable garden.
He even recalled the Queen going berry picking herself, which she started doing as a child with Princess Margaret.
In the video, the chef showed viewers how to make the Queen’s favourite shortbread, explaining that it had an important fourth ingredient to give it the perfect Scottish texture.
Shortbread recipes usually use flour, butter, and sugar, which McGrady said can be granulated or powdered.
However, for the Queen’s Balmoral recipe, the royal chef added corn starch to the ingredients.
He explained that this softens the shortbread so that instead of snapping like a biscuit, it crumbles and melts in your mouth.
He also used a special mould for the recipe to make it look traditional, just like it would in Balmoral.
The mould featured a thistle design, which is the floral emblem of Scotland, in a rounded shape.
To make the shortbread, McGrady took the flour, butter, corn starch and sugar and mixed them in a bowl by hand.
The chef advised viewers to rub them all together until it’s a crumb-like consistency, before adding the vanilla extract for flavour.
It can then be pressed into the mould before being put onto parchment paper on a baking tray.
McGrady advises to take a fork and pierce the top of the shortbread before placing them in the oven.
This is so that as the shortbread bakes, the heat will go to the base and help to cook it faster.
They can then be put in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until they are golden brown – but there is a vital step you must take to stop them from crumbling.
The chef explained that you must cut the shortbread into slices while they are still hot.
This involves a special technique of just cutting a third of the way through, rather than all the way to the base.
Once the shortbread has cooled after about an hour, it can then be carefully broken into pieces without crumbling, ready to be served with a cup of the Queen’s favourite Earl Grey tea.
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