Desserts, Great British Bake Off Challenge: Season 8

Great British Bake Off Challenge – Week Nine Showstopper: Meringue Sculpture (Take 1)


The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.

Total Cooking Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I chose to start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!

I am going to something a little different for the showstopper this week. I am going to do this challenge twice! Why? Because the first one became a massive mess… The recipe for this showstopper is still good, just avoid making some of the mistake that I did…

For this showstopper challenge, I tried to recreate Kate’s showstopping rainbow meringue from the show! I was flying blind on this one because the recipe offered online is a simplified version of the showstopper. But I’m not about to simplify anything! I wanted to make the most complicated thing possible apparently. So, I went for the full rainbow.



Ingredients

There were so many ingredients. And all the fruit. This recipe was a celebration of fruit and flavor. For the meringue, I used quite a few eggs, cream of tartar, sugar, and a copious number of flavors.

I also made a mango and strawberry cream that used heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, mango, and strawberries. The last part of this desert is a fruit salad consisting of mangoes, kiwi, cherries, and raspberries (or whatever fruits you want).

Process

01

The Rainbow Meringue – The Giant Batch

The rainbow Meringue was the most intensive part of this whole experience. Never before, have I washed out one bowl and utensils so much in such a short period of time. This is also where I made my biggest mistake. I made an ungodly amount of meringue. I used approximately 8 eggs and created a monstrous blob. This also came down to some mistake made in piping which I’ll get into in a little bit.

The first step was to create the monstrous blob. I started with the eggs. For meringue, you only need top use egg whites, so I separated the eggs in bowl and gave them a bit of a whisk to create a frothy layer. I like doing this because it opens up the egg whites and makes them more susceptible to the other ingredients.

After the eggs has some foam, I added in the cream of tartar and cornstarch and whisked until soft peaks were achieved. And now it’s time to add the sugar. It’s really important to add the sugar one tablespoon as a time because it allows the sugar to become more incorporated. This is important because meringue can become grainy if the sugar is not fully incorporated. Adding a bit at a time will prevent this.

I whisked until the mixture achieved stiff peaks and became white and glossy. I had made so much; I wasn’t sure if it would fit in the bowl… Again, this is an ungodly amount, and I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are making it for a party.

02

The Rainbow Meringue – Making a Rainbow

Then it was time to add color and flavors! I divided the meringue into seven different parts for seven different flavors: cherry (red), peach (orange), mango (yellow), green apple (green), blueberry (blue), blackberry (purple), and vanilla (white).

As I did each color, I piped it onto a baking tray to make my rainbow. This is where I made a critical error, I piped mine a little too high which made it unwieldy to work with. But more on that later.

With each color making up part of the rainbow. I also pipe the white meringue onto a separate sheet to make clouds that could double as bowls for the final sculpture. And then it was into the oven for a long period of time.

03

Mango and Strawberry Cream

This cream was one of my favorite recipes to come out of this dessert. It was light a delicious and I want more just thinking about it. It was also super simple to make. I whipped up the heavy whipping cream with a little but of powdered sugar.

This made a whipped cream that was nice and light. It was especially light since I whipped it for an extended amount of time. Whipped cream can overwhip so there is a fine line to walk on this one.

Then I folded in pieces of finely chopped mango and strawberry to get that flavor running through the cream. And that’s it! A nice light whipped cream with a delicious fruity flavor running through it. How can you say no?

04

Fruit Salad

The fruit salad is one of the simplest parts of this whole dessert. But don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s easy. Since I wanted to make the fruit uniform in size a shape, I ended up doing a lot of cutting and peeling. A fruit salad is a serious test of endurance. Next time, I’m just going to buy fruits that are all already the same size.

Reflections

Well, the result looked good considering the disaster in turned out to be. No, this thing could not stand on its own. Yes, it did start breaking apart almost immediately. Was it fully baked? I’m also going to go a no on that one as well.

All these faults are easily solved though (check out the lessons section for more). Overall, once again, not fully happy with how this turned out. Maybe I’ll be redoing this showstopper….

Am I ready for bake-off? No. Absolutely 100% No. I mean; I’ve made it far flying by the seat of my pants but this one was no joke and absolutely did not turn out how I expected it to. But would I do it again? Absolutely. I can see now why people train so much for bake-off because something you don’t even know what is going to go wrong.

Lessons

The Thickness of Meringue

Meringue is a dish that is all about drying out the meringue to give a crisp texture on the outside and an ever so slightly chewy texture in the center. But it you make the meringue thick, guess what? It’s going to take much, much longer to dry out properly. Which could cause the outside to become overbaked and the center to be underbaked.

And that’s exactly what happened to me. The outside of the meringue was perfect but the gooey center on the inside was not fully cooked. Not only that but the softness coming from the center made it more difficult to keep the structure standing. I should have kept that meringue thin!

recipe

Rainbow Meringue Scupture

This rainbow meringue sculpture is a celebration of fruity flavors that a spread throughout the meringue and accentuated by the pools of fresh fruit, and a mango and passionfruit cream.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients
  

Meringue

  • 6 Egg Whites
  • ¾ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • Large Pinch of Salt
  • 1 ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Teaspoon Cornstartch
  • ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cherry Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Peach Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Mango Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Green Apple Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Blueberry Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Blackberry Extract
  • Food Coloring red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple

Mango and Strawberry Cream

  • 1 ¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Cup Mangoes finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Strawberries finely chopped

Fruit Salad

  • 1 Large Mango cut into large chunks
  • 3 Kiwi cut into large chunks
  • 1 Cup Cherries pitted and halved
  • 2 ½ Cup Raspberries or other berries

Instructions
 

Meringue

  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, whisk egg whites on a medium speed until frothy.
  • Add in salt and cream of tartar on full speed until stiff peaks are formed.
  • Whisk in sugar and cornstarch in small batches until everything is fully incorporated and the meringue has become stiff and glossy.
  • Split the meringue into 6 even batches. Whisk in flavorings and food coloring into each batch. I did red (cherry), orange (peach), yellow (mango), green (green apple), blue (blueberry), purple (blackberry),and white (vanilla) for color and flavor combinations.
  • Put each batch into an individual piping bag and pipe the meringue onto a baking sheet line with parchment paper in a rainbow shape (see above in the post for images). This does not use the white meringue.
  • Pipe the white meringue into two cloud shapes, gently make a bowl in the center of each cloud.
  • Bake for 1 ½ hours of until the outside is crispy. If the meringue starts browning, turn down the over for the remaining time. Allow the meringue to cool in the oven with the door closed to help prevent cracking.

Mango and Passionfruit Cream

  • In a large bowl, whip cream until it forms soft peaks.
  • Add icing sugar and continue to whip until soft peaks are brought back.
  • Combine mango and passionfruit and fold into the cream.

Fruit Salad

  • Cut mangos and kiwi into shapes similar to size as the rest of the fruit. Mix together in a large bowl. Chill until needed.

Assembly

  • Peel the meringue rainbow away from the paper and place it upright on a service platter.
  • Stir the mango cream and gently spoon it into the hollows portion of the meringue clouds.
  • Create nests of fruit at the base of the rainbow on each side.
  • Serve and soon as possible and enjoy

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