GBBO - Season 13, Mighty Meals

GBBO Season 13 – Week 4 Technical: Tacos

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 the technical challenge for Mexican week is… drumroll please… Tacos!! I love the idea of tacos even though it really isn’t baking. This is a technical that I decided to manipulate a little bit because I did not feel right putting refried beans and guacamole into a taco. They could maybe go into a burrito, but it just did not feel right in a taco.

I also had to work around the steak base of the taco. I do not eat steak. Or any non-fish meat for that matter. So, I decided the best substitute that I could come up with is a tuna steak. I know that fish tacos are a whole other beast, but I am trying to do this technical and not go completely off the rails.

While I do adore tacos, I do not know everything about them or the best way to make them. I did my best given the recipes that I had but I anticipate that I did make some mistakes. I am hoping that I didn’t do anything too egregious, but I don’t know.

For the sake of simplicity, I join steps concerning each part together even though some of the ingredients have major resting time. I moved onto other steps while parts of the Taco was resting to expedite the process.

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 are many layers to tacos. This dish includes tortilla, tuna steaks, Pico de Gallo, refried beans, guacamole, and queso fresco for serving. Six different components. That means a lot of ingredients.

There is a lot of spices that go into Mexican cooking but across all of the dishes, there is a core of tomatoes, onions, chili’s, and salt. Either way, there are a lot of ingredients and a lot that can be done with it!



The first step of this process is making the tortillas. I will admit this is not my first time attempting to make tortillas. But the first time that I tried to make tortillas, I struggled. It is a major challenge.

Making the dough is very simple. It almost feels too simple. I just mixed the masa harina together with water. The water holds the dough together, but it feels so crumbly. I would love to spend more time researching if there are other ways to make corn tortillas.

When it came to flattening the dough into a tortilla, I, once again, struggled. The process feels simple, but I keep getting it wrong! I have a tortilla press which I have yet to master the use of. The tortilla kept falling apart when I got it thinly pressed.

I ended up pressing it into a thicker tortilla than I would have liked. Tacos should have thin tortillas! Thick tortillas are more for tostadas. While this method worked, I wasn’t the biggest fan. So, look out for my revised method for making tortillas in the future! Or, if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment because this is a skill I desperately want to master.

Tuna Steaks

Like I said previously, I was not going to use steak for this challenge. For one, I do not eat steak. And two, neither does anyone in my house. So, there did not seem to be much of a point in making a steak Taco. Why cook something I cannot eat? Instead, I decided to prepare tuna steaks in the exact same way the steaks would have been prepared.

I started by mixing together a ton of spices.  This included chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika powder, cayenne powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and light brown sugar. Yes, I know that brown sugar is not a spice. I was kind of surprised to see the similarities in spice choices between Mexican cuisine and Indian food. What can I say, it’s hard to argue against the greats!

After putting the spice together, I rubbed the mix on each tune steak and let the steaks marinate in the spices for a while before cooking. Letting the steaks marinate allows them to really take in the flavor and will help create a hard crust on the outside of the steak when cooking. I do not marinate fish much before cooking it but maybe I should. These spices smelled irresistible.

The last step of prepping the tuna steaks is cooking them on the stove. I heated up some oil on the stove and then dropped each steak into the pan. How I loved hearing that sizzle. You want to hear the pan sizzle when you drop the steak in because that means the oil is at the right temperature for cooking the tuna.

If you don’t hear that sizzle, you may need to cook the tuna for a longer time to get to the right temperature for the meat. Fish is typically cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 140° Fahrenheit. Or so I believe because that’s what’s labeled on my thermometer.

Pico De Gallo

Making Pico de Gall was much simpler than I expected. I’m not sure why I was surprised. Pico de Gallo is effectively a tomato and onion salad. Preparing it should have been obvious. But even if I am oblivious to how these things are made, making Pico de Gallo was very simple.

I mixed together all of the ingredients, save one, in a large bowl. And that was it. I set the bowl aside and let the mix rest to get the flavors to all soak into each other. Such a classic taco topping, and it was much easier to make than I expected. I added the coriander leaves after the Pico de Gallo had enough time to rest.

Refried Beans

I have an… interesting… relationship with refried beans. From my understanding, most classical refried beans have lard in them. Which means they are not something that I typically get to enjoy. But I was excited to see that Paul’s recipe did not include lard!

I was confused, however, that these refired beans use black beans. I feel like I typically see kidney beans in the refried dishes that I know. But maybe it’s a regional thing? Or maybe Paul just go it wrong? I know that GBBO got a lot of heat for Mexican week.

To start, I heated oil in a pan and then added the onions. I sweated the onions out for a few minutes to get their flavor to come out before adding in more spices. After the spices were starting to really release their smell, I added the beans.

Cooking the beans was important because I wanted to warm them up enough to be mashed. I used a potato masher to get the beans to the desired consistency. Did I need to use a potato masher? No. Do I use it at every opportunity? Yes, because it’s so much fun to mash things.


Please do not make fun of me. I’m begging you. I messed this one up. Not the recipe, I did that perfectly. But I do not know how to tell if an avocado is ripe. I am not the biggest fan of avocados and I do not use them often. I know now that this avocado was not ripe enough. But I should have known better in that moment.

First, I mixed all of the other non-avocado ingredients together. Then, if the avocado was ripe, I would have folded it into the mixture. But it was not ripe enough for that. The avocado I had was too hard to fold. I ended up blending it together. Not ideal, but now I know for the future. I am still a little hesitant about the idea of putting guacamole on a taco so I decided to serve it on the side.


Whew… after all that work putting together individual dishes, it’s time to make a plate of food. For a taco, we must start with the tortilla. Even if it is not a perfect tortilla, it is still a good vessel for a taco shell. Then I placed the tune steaks, followed by a little bit of shredded queso fresco, and topped with the Pico de Gallo.

I placed both the refired beans and the guacamole on the side. While Paul had them in the taco, that just did not feel right to me. At all.


Well, my love of tacos has been confirmed once again. And my lack of understanding in making tortillas has also been confirmed. This is something I really need to work on. I eat so many tortillas in my everyday life, it seems almost a shame not to have this knowledge. But that is for a future post.

This challenge did feel a little weird because it didn’t really feel like it fit the Great British Bake-Off MO. It wasn’t really baking, and it wasn’t dessert. I feel like GBBO either is dessert or a savory bake. Tacos do not really fit either of these categories.


But I want it ripe now…

If I had taken a few more seconds to think, I would have remembered that I know a great trick for quickly ripening avocados. The microwave. Yes, I know this could be seen as an abysmal technique, but it can work when in a pinch. Blasting an avocado in the microwave on fifteen second bursts can soften an avocado right up!



These tacos are flavorful mixture of spices including tortilla, spice rubbed tuna, queso fresco, Pico de Gallo with a side of refried beans and guacamole.   
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 tacos



  • ¾ Cup Masa Harina

Tuna Steak

  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tuna Steaks
  • 2 Tablespoon Corn Oil

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 Large Ripe Tomato
  • ¼ Small White Onion finely diced
  • ½ Jalapeno Chili deseeded & finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ Lime
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Leaves finely chopped

Refried Beans

  • 2 Teaspoon Corn Oil
  • ½ Small White Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove crushed
  • ¼ Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 15-Oz Can of Black Beans drained
  • Juice of ½ Lime


  • 1 Tomato deseeded & chopped
  • ¼ Red Onion finely chopped
  • ½ Serrano Chili deseeded & finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ Lime
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Leaves finely chopped
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Ripe Avacadoes peeled, destoned, & diced

To Serve

  • ¼ Cup Queso Fresco



  • Combine Masa Harina flour, ⅔ cup of water, and salt. Stir until combined and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • Divide into 8 portions. Flatten each into a 12cm disc
  • Heat over a dry, frying pan that is over medium heat.
  • Cook each disc for about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Keep warm

Tuna Steak

  • Mix chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika powder, cayenne powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
  • Rub the spice mix on the tuna steaks and let marinate for about 1 hour.
  • Heat a large frying pan over high heat and add in corn oil. Add the tuna steaks and let cook for 2-3 on each side. The internal temperature of the tuna should be over 140° Fahrenheit. Let rest for 3 minutes.
  • Slice thinly.

Pico de Gallo

  • In a medium bowl, mix together tomato, onion, chili, lime juice, and salt. Let sit for one hour. Stir in coriander.

Refried Beans

  • Heat the corn oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Cook onions for 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 minute while stirring continuously.
  • Add black beans and 4 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Mash half the beans and stir in lime juice.


  • Place the tomato, onion, chili, lime juice, and coriander in a bowl. Add salt as desired.
  • Fold in the avacados.


  • Layer the tortilla, tuns steaks, queso fresco, and Pico de Gallo.
  • Serve tacos with guacamole and refried beans on the side
Keyword Taco, Tuna

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