The Humbova, 2020, by Laura Wilson

Hammer out something sweet (the way an artist would)

World-renowned artists share their recipes via our new book, The Kitchen Studio. Here are two sweet-toothed inclusions with a twist

If you love art and cooking, then you should really get The Kitchen Studio. In this new book, we’ve collected together 100 recipes from world famous artists, including Jimmie Durham, Kiki Smith, Danh Vo and Olafur Eliasson.

In most cases, the artist has not only shared the details of their dish, but also offered a little background as to why they chose it, and provided a fun, engaging illustration of the recipe too. There’s plenty of variety, with food to suit every setting, from simple snacks to stunning meals

Quite a few inclusions actually relate back to earlier, fine art projects, such as Pierre Bismuth’s Milk Chocolate Bar, which, as our book explains, was first produced in Belgium in 2019 as a limited, signed edition of 100 copies. Back then Bismuth was given a helping hand by the artisanal chocolate manufacturer MIKE&BECKY of Brussels. You can try making a bar yourself, though the artist’s recipe is pretty exacting, and does require a few fairly rare pieces of equipment, such as a cacao winnowing machine.


Pierre Bismuth's Milk Chocolate Bar
Pierre Bismuth's Milk Chocolate Bar


For an easier but no less exciting dessert opinion, perhaps you should try this recipe, from Belfast-born artist, Laura Wilson (top). “When I was growing up in Northern Ireland, I spent a lot of time next door following Auntie Pauline around her kitchen,” writes Wilson. “When I was 8 or 9-years-old, she made a recipe given to her by someone at the hairdresser’s – a sort of marshmallow and peppermint meringue cream. Light and fluffy, it was unlike anything I had ever tasted. Unfortunately, the original recipe is now lost. My mum and I have re-created it from our memories and it is called The Humbova.”

Wilson does advise cooks to wear eye protection when cracking the recipe’s hard candies. The artist also suggests you make the Humbova the night before. “It is built in layers and letting it rest in the fridge overnight enables the flavours to develop,” she explains. “When you take a spoonful, imagine you are quarrying for clay to make bricks, or are an archaeologist surveying the geological layers of a landscape."

To make it you’ll need four eggs; a pinch of salt; 250 g of caster (superfine) sugar; two teaspoons of cornflour (cornstarch); a teaspoon of white wine vinegar; 600 ml of double (heavy) cream; 100 g of peppermint humbugs (hard black-and-white striped peppermint candies).

First preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking sheets with baking (parchment) paper. Separate the egg whites from the yolks, then whisk the egg whites in a large, clean mixing bowl with a pinch of salt until they form peaks.

Whisk the sugar, one third at a time, into the egg whites until the whites are stiff and slightly pearlescent. Gently fold in the cornflour (cornstarch) followed by the vinegar.

Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking sheets using a large spoon to form two circles around  20 cm (8 inches) in diameter. Transfer to the oven, close the door, reduce the heat to 150°C (300°F) and cook for 1¼ hours. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool completely – do not open the oven door.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a mixing bowl and whip until firm. Put half of the whipped cream into a bowl and place in the refrigerator. Set the other half aside in a separate bowl; keep to hand. Place a chopping (cutting) board on a stable work surface (such as a solid workbench or on the ground outdoors), put the humbugs inside a sealed plastic bag and, wearing safety goggles, hammer the humbugs into very fine pieces (almost a dust). Working quickly, mix most of the smashed humbugs into the whipped cream (reserve a bit of the humbug dust to scatter over the top), cover it with cling film (plastic wrap) and transfer to the refrigerator.

When the meringues have cooled, make a sandwich with the two meringue circles (imagining they  are the bread slices), put the humbug-flavoured cream between them, then  top with the plain whipped cream. Scatter the reserved humbug dust  over the top. Cover with cling film and place in  the refrigerator overnight so that  the layers have time to settle. Serve one generous slice per person.


The Kitchen Studio
The Kitchen Studio


For a more detailed version of this recipe, as well as much more besides, order a copy of The Kitchen Studio here.