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 13 Challenges.
Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).
So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!
And now onto the showstopper challenge for Week 3: a Smörgåstårta! Which just leaves me with one question. What the heck is a Smörgåstårta?!? Well, the show tells me that a Smörgåstårta is a Swedish dish meaning “Sandwich” and “Cake” smashed together (“Smörgås” and “tårta”). So, ultimately, this dish is a sandwich cake.
While there were several different dished that were made on the show, I found that many of them had common elements as it is difficult to deviate from some of the Smörgåstårta staples. Mainly some sort of cream cheese. The cream cheese can act like a frosting to make it more “cake-like”. But I didn’t want to use cream cheese because I wanted to make a Pizza Smörgåstårta!
Yea, that sounds a little weird but I really like cheese pizza, so a Pizza Smörgåstårta felt like a natural next step in something that was already so unnatural to me. So, I wanted to make a pizza dough for the bread of the Smörgåstårta, a tomato mousse for the filling, and a mozzarella mousse for some of the filling and the exterior.
The tomato mousse was the one part I was the most nervous about. I should have been worried about the mozzarella mousse. Making a naturally sweet dish savory is not my area of expertise. And tomatoes are not what I would normally expect in a mousse. But these bake-off challenges are all about doing something new. So, let’s get into it!
Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!
There were less ingredients needed for this recipe than I expected. The dough was made of bread flour, rapid rise yeast, salt, oil, and water (not pictured). The tomato mousse was made from tomatoes, tomato paste, gelatin, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. And the mozzarella mouse was made with mozzarella, sour cream, olive oil, salt, and pepper. A decent amount of ingredients but nothing too crazy.
Making the pizza dough was the most enjoyable part of this process for me. I felt like I was finally making bread! I changed my pizza recipe for something a little more complex because I decided not to limit myself on time for this one. The dough recipe took me approximately four and a half hours.
To start, I threw all the ingredients into the stand mixers and combined them using the dough hook. No nuisance. No complexity. Just chuck it into the bowl. Once the dough came together. I let the dough rest for about thirty minutes before giving it a nice stretch. Then, I let it rest for two hours to let it rise and develop flavor.
I divided the dough in half and shaped it to the 8-inch cake tins I was using. The dough would stretch but did not fully stretch in the pans. I let it rest for 30 minutes before attempting to stretch it again. This time, I was able to reach the edge. Then I let the dough rest again for about an hour (this can be shorter, but I find more time means more flavor).
Then it’s time to go into the oven. Pizza dough requires the oven to be hot! This recipe has the oven on 500° Fahrenheit. The dough only needed to cook for about 12 minutes before being ready. I did remove the loaves from the pan after letting them rest for 15 minutes (but while the pan was still warm) If you let the pans cool down completely, the dough will stick.
I did two batches of bread because I didn’t want to overwhelm the mixer with one giant batch. Doing it twice was much easier to handle.
After the dough was made, it was then onto making the tomato mousse. This is such a weird concoction but I’m here for it. To start, I blended a can of crushed tomatoes with some salt and pepper. I was aiming to make a tomato puree, so I set the blender to the liquify setting. Then I transferred the puree into a bowl.
During the transfer, I strained the tomato mix to get out any chunks. Some part of my brain forgot that tomatoes had seeds but luckily, I was able to remove all of them using the strainer. The tomato puree was V8 smooth.
Then I prepped the gelatin which feels wrong to write. I put the gelatin in a with some cool water and let it bloom into a gelatinous structure (instead of it’s usually powder). With all my ingredients ready, it was time to transfer to the stove!
First, I put half of the tomato puree into the pan and heated it up until it was starting to boil. I’m not exactly sure what a boiling tomato sauce would look like but my mixture had some bubbles in it. Then I removed the pan from the heat and stirred in the gelatin. The gelatin dissolved and disappeared into the puree.
Next, I added the tomato paste and the remainder of the puree. With everything all combined, it was time to let the mixture cool and move onto whipping the cream.
Whipping the cream is very simple. Step one – put cream in mixer. Step two – whisk until the cream is whipped. I like to whisk until the cream reaches at least soft peaks. Then, after the tomato mixture has cooled down, I folded the tomato puree into the whipped cream
Setting the Mousse
I ended up putting three of the loaves back into the pans. I cut off their tops to make them somewhat level as well. Not a great result but I try my best. I also put acetate around the edges of the pan to make the whole layer easier to remove later.
Then, I put a layer of tomato mousse on top of each loaf. The mixture leveled itself out easily once coaxed into the corners. I put the pans into the fridge to set and went to start on my Mozzarella mousse.
And now onto the last layer and the one that proved to be my downfall. The base recipe I used was simple enough, but it was not meant to be multiplied in the way that I did. I also believe that I messed up the ratios of ingredients which also cause some issues.
To start, I cut up a ton of mozzarella. Maybe not a ton, but at least 2 pounds. It feels like a lot. Then I threw the cheese into a stand mixer and whisked the mozzarella to break it down. After which, I added olive oil, sour cream, salt, and pepper. It mixed into the relatively smooth consistency.
Where I ran into issues is when I added the olive oil. I think I added too much which made the mousse too runny and not as stiff as I was hoping for. Since I was planning on using this mousse as a “cake icing”, having the mousse on the runnier side was not ideal. But I was going to work with it and put together some version of a cake. Or a landslide.
So, this project did not go to plan. The cake turned into a landslide, but it was a delicious landslide. I was surprised how much the final Smörgåstårta tasted like pizza. Although the olive oil was a little too strong of a taste. If I did it again, I would have added less oil (which is reflected in the recipe below).
I am proud that I attempted to use a non-cream cheese-based icing because that was all I could find when I looked around. I did go outside the box, and it did not work completely but I think I was just on the edge of creating a true masterpiece.
Trying Something New
I think that trying something new was good for me because it took me out of my comfort zone and created something delicious. Did it look good? Absolutely not. Should I have tried to make a small version before making this monstrosity? Probably. But hey! New things are hard to come up with!
- 1 Cup Water warmed to 80°-85° Fahrenheit
- 1 Teaspoon Rapid Rise Yeast
- 2 ⅓ Cup Bread Flour
- 1 ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Tablesppon Olive Oil
- 8 oz Crushed Tomato
- ⅔ Tablespoon Gelatin
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 ⅔ Cup Mozzarella
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine water, yeast, bread flour, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until the dough is made.
- Cover and let rest in a warm area for 30 minutes.
- Knead dough for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is taught. Roll into a ball, cover and let rest for 2 hours or until doubled size.
- Place two tablespoons of olive oil into each pan.
- Divide the dough in half and place one half in each pan. Gently press the dough to spread it along the bottom of the pan. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Gently press the dough to stretch it along the bottom of the pan. Cover and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 500° Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes
- Blend together tomatoes, salt and pepper. Strain out seeds and set aside.
- Soak gelatin in ⅔ tablespoons water until soft.
- Warm ½ of the tomato puree, strain excess water out of gelatin and mix gelatin into the warm puree. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining puree and tomato paste. Mix until combined.
- Whip heavy cream until soft peaks are reached. Fold the tomato puree into the whipped cream.
- Whisk / Blend together mozzarella, sour cream, olive oil, salt, and pepper using a stand mixer or food processor until smooth.
- Place one bread layer in pan, cutting off top to make them as even as possible. Wrap the edge of each pan in acetate for easy removal.
- Pour tomato mousse on top of the bread layer and let chill in the fridge until set (approximately two hours). Demold from the pan.
- Put a layer of mozzarella mouse on top of tomato mouse. Place the last bread loaf on top of the layers. Use the mozzarella mouse to cover the top and sides as desired