During lockdown, there are many things we’re missing that we used to take for granted in our daily lives – seeing our friends, colleagues and nearest and dearest, popping out whenever we like and all forms of social interaction, to name just a few. But another of life’s little luxuries we’re desperately missing is a good old Pret a Manger lunch.
The reliable, failsafe lunch spot of choice for so many city workers and dwellers, since the temporary closure of Pret stores back in March, we haven’t even been able to console ourselves with a warming cup of Souper Tomato Soup or one of their delicious baguettes.
The new WFH lifestyle many working people are now experiencing also means having to think of new lunch ideas every day – for some people, this might be the highlight of their day, while for others the challenge is not quite so welcome. Enter, those fantastically generous people at Pret.
Many of the stores may be closed but the people behind the sandwich and coffee chain are continuing to serve the nation in whatever way they can, even if that means divulging their top secret recipes. That’s right, Pret has announced they will releasing recipes on Instagram on how to recreate your Pret favourites at home.
The series, dubbed the #PretRecipeBook, started with a recipe for recreating Pret’s Breakfast Omelette at home, and it’s both easy and delicious according to the people who have already tried it. ‘We did this tonight & it was amazing! Thanks for the inspo!’ commented one Pret fan on Instagram, while another said: ‘This was so delish! Thank you 🙌 can we have the mac & cheese recipe please 💯’.
Since then the chain has been consistently (and generously) revealing the recipes for other Pret favourites, including their chocolate chip cookies, Love Bar and the amazing macaroni cheese. See below for all the best Pret recipes released so far.
We have no doubts that Pret’s Love Bar is named just so for a very good reason – everyone seems to love it! Equal parts crunchy and gooey, we can’t wait to try our hands at making our own at home. To make the base, you will need: 50g golden syrup, 1 tbsp clear honey, 200g unsalted butter, 350g rolled oats and 60g soft brown sugar. For the toppings, you’ll need: 150g unsalted butter, 150g dark brown sugar, 397g can condensed milk, a pinch of salt, 35g pumpkin seeds (pepitas), 45g dark chocolate chips, 35g shelled pistachio nuts and 35g chopped almonds.
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius/Gas 2. Grease and line a 23cm (9in) square baking tray.
- To make the base, warm the syrup, honey and butter in a large pan over a low heat until blended. Add to the oats and soft brown sugar and mix well until fully combined.
- Press the mixture into your baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until the surface is golden. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the caramel topping by heating the dark brown sugar and butter in a non-stick pan and gently stirring until melted.
- Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Add the salt and cook for 1 minute or until the caramel has thickened.
- Pour the caramel over the oat base and spread lightly with a palette knife. Whilst still warm sprinkle over the seeds, nuts and chocolate.
- Allow to cool completely and cut into slices.
Who can resist picking up a coconut bite when queuing in Pret? Now we can make our own at home with this easy recipe. You’ll need 100g desiccated coconut, 3 1/2 tbsp carob syrup (or agave or maple), 2 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp salt, 85g dark chocolate (vegan).
- Combine the desiccated coconut, carob syrup, 2 tbsp coconut oil, vanilla and salt in a food processor and blitz until well blended.
- Line a 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper and pour in the blended mixture. Press down firmly with the back of a spatula until fully compressed then place in the freezer until firm.
- Break the chocolate into a glass bowl over a simmering pan of water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) and heat gently until melted. Add the 1 tsp coconut oil and mix thoroughly.
- Take the coconut bar out of the freezer and cut into small rectangular bites and dip into the chocolate until fully coated.
- Place on greaseproof paper and allow to set for a couple of hours.
A lunchtime favourite of so many, here is the recipe for Pret’s mac and cheese with adaptable extras. To make enough to serve four, you’ll need 300g dried macaroni, 60g butter, 4 tbsp plain flour, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 600ml whole milk, 250g mature cheddar cheese (grated), 200g blanched cauliflower florets, handful of chopped parsley, 50g parmesan, 3 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp olive oil and sea salt and black pepper.
For added extras, Pret suggests trying kale and prosciutto, four cheese mac and cheese (using mozzarella and Red Leicester), salmon and kale, sundried tomato and bacon, chorizo and red pepper, butternut squash and sage, mushroom and truffle oil or lasagne-style mac and cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/gas 6.
- Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water until ‘al dente’, then drain and refresh under cold, running water.
- Heat the butter in a pan on medium to low heat and stir in the flour and mustard to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, beating continuously with a whisk, until the mixture os smooth. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat and whisk frequently until the mixture thickens.
- Stir the cheddar cheese into the white sauce and mix well until the cheese has melted. Add the cooked macaroni, cauliflower, parsley and your added extras (if you’d like) to the sauce and mix well. Season with sea salt and black pepper and spread the mixture into a large, wide gratin dish.
- Combine the parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs and olive oil, sprinkle over the top of the macaroni mixture and bake for around 30 minutes until the topping is golden and crisp and the middle is piping hot. Serve immediately.
Dark chocolate vegan cookies
Vegans rejoice, you can create Pret’s dark chocolate vegan cookies at home. You’ll need 43g caster sugar, 112g soft light brown sugar, 4g salt, 40g almond pieces (for best results, use flaked almonds lightly smashed up, but whole almonds, chopped into small pieces will also work), 112g dark chocolate pieces, 205g flour, 20g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 65g coconut oil, 72g almond butter, 100g golden syrup and 40g water.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Pour the caster sugar, soft light brown sugar, flour, almond pieces, salt and chocolate pieces into a large bowl (for best results sieve the cocoa, flour and bicarbonate of soda).
- Mix the almond butter, oil and golden syrup together and add to the bowl.
- Mix together with a wooden spoon and then bring the dough together using your hands.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Spit your dough into 8 golf ball-sized balls and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes (this will vary depending on thickness – if the edges of cookie feel firm but centre is still soft, it should be ready to take out).
- Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Pret chocolate chip cookie recipe
Pret has also been so kind as to share the recipe for their magnificent dark chocolate chunk cookies – and it’s surprisingly much simpler than you’d think. To make eight cookies, all you’ll need is 110g unsalted butter, 170g caster sugar, 85g light brown sugar, 1 whole egg, 190g self-raising flour, 3g salt and 120g large dark chocolate buttons.
- Preheat the over to 180 degrees celsius. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave, until just melted (but not hot).
- Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter with the caster and brown sugars until well combined. Add the egg and beat on low speed until just incorporated – 10-15 seconds or so. Don’t overheat as this will result in a firm dough.
- Add the flour and salt. Mix until a smooth dough forms – again, be careful not to over mix!
- Add the chocolate buttons to the dough and combine with your hands. For a good distribution of chocolate, don’t be afraid to break up some of the buttons into pieces or chop them slightly beforehand.
- Scoop out 8 balls of dough and place on a non-stick or lined baking tray. Make sure there is plenty space between them as the dough will spread out in the oven. Press them down lightly with your palm to flatten them out a little and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies look puffed up and golden.
- Let the cookies cool on the pan for around 30 minutes as they will settle and sink into a dense buttery cookie.
- Best enjoyed warm (or place in an airtight container and eat within 3 days).
Pret baked Omelette recipe
To make your own Pret breakfast omelette at home, you’ll need three eggs, 90ml milk, salt and pepper and whatever toppings you fancy – Pret chef Charlotte suggests picking a combination of vegetables (could be spinach, peppers, frozen peas, mushrooms, tomatoes or spring onions), meat (she suggests ham, bacon or chorizo), cheese (chose from mozzarella, feta, parmesan, soft cheese or cheddar) and store-cupboard ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, herbs or chilli will do).
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/180 degrees celsius fan.
- Crack your eggs into a bowl or jug and add your milk.
- Season with salt and pepper and whisk.
- Find a small baking dish/individual pie dish.
- Add your chosen ingredients into the dish, filling to about half way.
- Pour the egg mix into the dish, covering the ingredients. The egg mix should come up to 2cm from the top of the dish.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the egg is set and the top is golden.
If you’re itching to get more Pret goodness into your life right now, there are even more recipes on the Pret website – how about trying their coconut chicken curry soup, cauli & sweet potato dhal hot pot or mango chia pot?
We welcome you back into our lives with open arms, Pret – please keep the sharing going!