All hail to the day the Hawksmoor cookbook was thoughtfully placed under our Christmas tree. Hawksmoor at Home is not just a flick through recipe book, it’s one to sit down and really really savour. The 6 page description of the perfect burger had my mouth watering and I knew I had to take on the challenge. After digesting each page, I realised that the only thing I had to put my time towards was where I sourced my ingredients, the rest was easy (ish).
The burgers were absolutely to die for: rich, moist and pink with the tastiest juices dripping from the great layer of meat into the soft, sweet and bouncy brioche. The cheese was awesome, perfect for melting with a similar texture to American processed cheese but with a richer, fruitier finish. The lettuce gave the whole thing just the right amount of crunch and both the onion and the cucumber added a lovely bite of acidity. Do it, just cook them as soon as you can.
I tried my best to follow the list of ingredients to the letter and sourcing them around Borough Market was like taking part in a Hawksmoor treasure trail. I told the butcher at the Ginger Pig my plan and he knew what to do.. Within minutes he was coarsely mincing rib-eye steak and adding the fatty cap that sits just above it (as a substitute for bone marrow that Hawksmoor recommended as they’d run out), until I had about 70%-meat, 30% fat. Onto Neals Yard Dairy and after a quick phonecall to their suppliers, I was £5 lighter, a bit fuller after some yummy samples, and leaving with a chunk of Ogleshield cheese. If you choose to make your own brioche like we did, you have a bit more work to do, otherwise with a few salads, you’re pretty much ready to go.
Brioche Buns (makes 8)
- 50g Custard Powder
- 550ml milk
- 25g unsalted butter
- 2 tsp sugar
- 750g strong white flour
- 1 sachet of instant dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- A beaten egg for glazing
Whisk the custard powder into the milk and pour into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar until melted, then pour into a mixing bowl and leave until barely warm. Add the flour, yeast and salt, mix well and leave for 10 minutes. On a lightly oiled surface, lightly knead the dough until smooth, then return it to the bowl and leave covered for an hour and a half.
Divide the dough into pieces (about 200g) and using a little flour, shape them into balls. Place them on a lined baking tray and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Cover and leave to rise for about an hour or until they have doubled in size.
Finally, brush the buns with beaten egg and bake at 200c for about 20 minutes until lightly goldne. Leave to cool before using.
Slice a cucumber and cover with salt. Leave to sit for 20 mins so that the cucumber absorbs the salt. Wash off the salt under cold water. Return the cucumber to a bowl and add white wine vinegar and chopped ginger. Marinade for as long as you have (preferably a couple of hours).
Burgers (makes 4)
- 500g beef cuts minced coarsely (we used rib-eye)
- 50-100g bone marrow/fat minced coarsely
Mix the meat and the fat/marrow thoroughly and divide into 4. Shape them into patties, pressing the meat together firmly. Make a slight hollow in the centre of the burger with your thumb to stop it from rising. Season the patties with sea salt and pepper. Preheat the griddle pan over a high heat until almost smoking. Lay the burgers on the griddle and cook for 2 mins, then turn continuing to cook them for another two minutes. Flip and repeat until they are charred, ensuring you get a nice pink interior.
Preheat the grill to melt the cheese. Whilst the burger is still in the griddle, add slices of cheese to the top then place the whole pan under the grill to melt the cheese for a couple of seconds.
Remove the burgers from the pan and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.
Assemble your burger by toasting the brioche buns. Spread the bottom with a mix of mustard and mayonnaise and the top half with ketchup. Place a couple of slices of lettuce, a slice of red onion and a few slices of cucumber on the bottom half, top with the burger and finish with the top half.