It's been a second! I didn’t expect to take a long break but covid knocked me out for longer than I anticipated. The last time I posted, it was the meringue sculpture, and I was not thrilled with the way it turned out. Sure, I could have tried it again and cooked the meringue at the right thickness. Or, what if I try a totally different approach for the fun of it? So, this is my recipe for a meringue sculpture. I decided to make the sculpture into a shape between a flower and an exploding firework. I thought it would be beautiful and a pretty approach. I still wanted to keep the rainbow effect, so I made up five different flavors of meringue. Most of the coloring here came from the ingredients as well! Although I did have to use a few drops of dye here and there.
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.
Okay, so I’m doing something a little different this week… I decided to stay on the technical for week nine because I wasn’t completely happy with how the cakes turned out from last week. Like they still are good, don’t get me wrong, but I thought I could do better. And the perfectionist inside of me would not be held back. Now that I had some idea of how the cake was supposed to turn out, I put my own spin on it to make it easier. Jaconde is a difficult cake to pull off so I’m going to cheat a little because I prefer that my cakes are consistent. I also used raspberry instead of cherry this time because it was closer to the original recipe. And, let me tell you, this cake turned out so good. I might even convert to liking the pistachio flavor.
The technical for week nine was a Les Miserable cake! Well, I guess they are more mini cakes since there are supposed to be nine of them. Now this cake almost stumped me because there is so little information on the internet about this recipe! I was expecting Prue to have offered up the recipe she uses but no! Maybe the recipe is a closely guarded secret or something. I managed to find some semblance of guidance and came up with the recipe below! The process of making this was more fun than I expected although I can’t say I’m a big fan of the pistachio flavoring. This cake felt like a flavor bomb. There layers were filled with pistachio, lemon, and cherry. What could be better than that?
Its time for week nine! And that means it’s time for patisserie!! The signature challenge this week was 24 choux buns. I was nervous coming into the signature this week because I had never made choux dough before. And I had never made any type of choux bun! I was doing a choux bun with a craquelin top. In the show, they did two flavors of choux buns (12 of each), but I tried to keep it a little simpler for this because I didn’t want to go crazy quite yet. I’m saving up that energy for the showstopper! I just did one flavor: orange. This was inspired by Kate’s recipe from the show!
I’ve made it to the showstopper challenge for week eight! This forgotten bake showstopper is a savoy cake! I feel like I kind of dropped the ball on this bake. While I put every effort into the cake, I didn’t really put as much effort into the decorations as I probably should have. This is a showstopper after all! And it’s week eight no less! That’s not time to slack…
The technical Challenge for forgotten bakes week is a Cumberland Rum Nicky. Yea, I have no idea either. Basically, it’s a fruit tart made from dry fruits and rum. I tried my best to stay true to the Paul Hollywood recipe but, I’m not going to lie, this tart doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. I’m not a huge fan of dried fruits, ginger, or rum. And that’s like… seventy five percent of the dish!
I feel like Week 8 of season 8 had one of the weirdest themes I have ever seen in Bake Off: It was the forgotten bakes week. These are bakes that were made in the past and tended to stay there. I would think for good reason but we’re going to revive them once again! The signature bake for this week is a Bedfordshire clanger. I didn’t have a recipe to go off from the show (probably because they didn’t expect anyone to do something like this) so I created what seemed to be the best recipe for me based on what research I did. A Bedfordshire clanger isn’t difficult to make but has some interest twist to make it a truly unique dish.
It's the end of Italian week and that means it’s time for the Showstopping challenge. I’m not going to lie; this is the challenge I have been most afraid of since I began this journey. Because this week’s challenge is sfogliatelle. It something that my spell check doesn’t recognize! Heck, I’m still not sure I know what it is. Sfogliatelle seems like a crazy amount of work and effort. But I made it here so I can’t stop now. And when have I ever back down from a challenge? (Don’t answer that). My sfogliatelle is inspired by the recipe that Stephen made on the show.
I’ve made it to week Seven! I honestly cannot believe how much I’ve done so far. This challenge was a lot more than I expected and I’m still three weeks away from the finale! But Week Seven is one that I have been both excited and nervous for; it’s Italian week! And the Signature challenge of Italian week is Cannoli!
The Showstopping challenge of week 6 has arrived, and it is a family sized hand-raised pie! This little pie started out so small and over years and years it grew. Just kidding. A hand raised pie is one that is wrapped around the outside of a cake tin. It is able to stand due to the structure of the pastry with no outside help! I decided to base my recipe this week off Kate’s Bombay Potato Curry Pie. I can’t help it, when I go savory, I tend to go Indian. Indian cuisine provides so many great options for vegetarian flavors! This potato curry pie is also topped with a delicious spicy and sweet mango salsa! The post below focuses mainly on the pastry, it is pastry week after all.
The Week Six technical is the most intimating challenge that I have faced to date: Pastéis de Nata. This is effectively a pastry tart filled with custard. It doesn’t seem intimidating, but the pastry was originally a puff pastry. Which is something I have never tried before because of the amount of work that goes into make a puff pastry. Luckily, the recipe that Paul Hollywood uses is a rough puff pastry. This means that I got to grate the frozen butter instead of pounding it out into a large slab. While it’s a daunting process, the best way to conquer those fears is to jump right in!