Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Orange Self Saucing Pudding: GBBO Week #4

I'm a bit late with my Great British Bake Off round up and bake as I have been at a wedding all weekend in St Ives - such a beautiful place! Last week was episode 4 of The Great British Bake Off and the baking category was 'Desserts'. For the first signature challenge, the judges asked for 8 individually served 'self saucing' puddings. I've never heard of this before, however there are two main types of this pudding variant; melt in the middle fondants, and sponges that create a sauce underneath when baked. Only Chetna, Norman and Luis tried out the latter option. Either way, the idea is to have a sponge crust and an oozing sauce when the sponge is broken into. Sounds good!

Chocolate and fruity flavours were popular throughout the tent. Chetna's Rhubarb, Orange & Strawberry Puddings looked beautiful, but were not saucy enough for Paul and Mary. Nancy also suffered from a lack of sauce, whereas Luis' sauce was too watery. Richard's Black Forest Puddings were a big success, and Iain also did well.

I think it is quite interesting to see how the older generation of bakers approach each challenge. Norman made a Sticky Toffee Pudding and Diana made classic Lemon Surprise Pudding. The judges enjoyed both of their creations and I think it's nice to see some classics as it is what you would be more likely to bake at home, or at least to try out for the first time if giving self saucing puddings a go.

A layered Tiramasu Cake was this week's technical challenge. Mary's version looked extremely professional. Is it wrong that sometimes I wonder if her and Paul actually make the 'example' bakes for the technical challenge scene?! This dessert is all about precision, and getting the layers even and visible.

The sponge had to be sliced horizontally to get the very thin layers, both Iain and Richard baked theirs again as it didnt rise enough the first time. Norman graced us with another classic quote "I've never made this before no. I couldn't even spell it!" Martha was the only baker who had made this before and came first in the challenge, Luis came second and Chetna third. Diana took last place, with Norman and Kate in eighth and seventh places.

Seen as it was the hottest day of the year, the Baked Alaska showstopper is probably the worst timed challenge of the series! "What can possibly go wrong?" Luis stated at the start, oh Luis...! A Baked Alaska is a very retro dessert and contains ice cream. So the bakers spent the majority of their 4 and a half hour time limit flapping around the freezers waiting and praying for their ice cream to freeze. I don't think the time is sufficient for it to freeze in, could they have not made it the day before and left it overnight?

Of course I have to mention freezergate/bingate/bakedalaskadisaster... Diana removed Iain's ice cream from the fridge and did not inform him she had done so. It was left on the side (we don't know for how long, but Sue Perkins tweeted it was for 40 seconds). The editing may be somewhat responsible for what we saw, but I can only respond to what was presented in front of me, so here's my thoughts...

No matter how long it was out of the freezer for, in my opinion Diana's behaviour was not in the spirit of the competition. Remember how awful Deborah felt when she accidentally stole Howard's custard? She admitted her mistake and apologised, then when the trifles were judged by Paul and Mary it was taken into consideration. Diana didn't apologise, and hasn't that I am aware of in the media since (correct me if I'm wrong!) She shouted back that he should be using another freezer when Iain asked her why she had done it. She didn't apologise, try to go after him, or emit any trace of regret. The Great British Bake Off contestants always have such a fantastic sense of camaraderie, they help each other out and are genuine friend. So it was very disappointing for me to see this kind of behaviour.

Well this all culminated in Iain throwing his bake in the bin, and Paul and Mary decided to send him home. And the Great British people were not happy! Twitter completely erupted. (Have a read of this Buzzfeed article for some particularly outragous tweets.) The full events did not appear to have been explained to Paul and Mary. I think that no one should have left and two should have gone next week. There was a similar incident a couple of years ago when John cut his hand and couldn't present his bake. Definitely the most controversial Bake Off yet! Looking forward to seeing what next week's pie week brings!

I decided to try out a self saucing pudding this week. I have made Chocolate Fondants before a few times with success, so I did think about trying one of the other bakes, but I'm not a coffee fan at all and I don't have an ice cream maker. So pudding it was!

I started by greasing and lining 4 ramekins. This recipe makes 6 servings but I only have four ramekins! I hindsight lining them with paper was a bad idea. I'm used to doing this when I make fondants as you take them out of the ramekins to eat them, but with these puddings you eat them from the ramekin. So my advice is not to line them with paper! Just grease with butter all over.

Into a large bowl I sifted 170g self raising flour, added 100g golden caster sugar and the zest of two large oranges. I mixed it with a wooden spoon. Keep hold of the oranges.

Using a fork I mixed up 50g melted butter, 1 egg and 120ml semi skimmed milk in a jug, added it to the dry ingredients and stirred together with a wooden spoon.

I divided the mixture between the ramekins. If you have 6 ramekins, divide equally. If not like me, fill about a third full and set the remaining mixture aside.

In a separate bowl I mixed together 100g sugar and 2 tsp cornflour.

Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the batter, I used a heaped tablespoon and made sure to cover the batter fully.

I juiced the oranges and got about 245ml from them, if you don't get enough add some fresh orange juice from a carton to top it up. Mix the juice with 245ml boiling water and pour over the puddings. I poured until the sauce reached the lip of the ramekin.

I baked the puddings on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes. They look a bit like souffles when they come out, but do sink down into the ramekin as they cool.

Once we'd eaten a couple of them I used the leftover mixtures to make the full 6 puddings. They were very tasty and had lots of sauce underneath the batter! The orange flavour was just right and although filling, they were very moreish. We ate them with custard although you coud have them with cream or ice cream.

I'm entering them into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly baking challenge Treat Petite. It's our one year anniversary and we are celebrating with an 'Anything Goes' theme, and a new logo!

print recipe
Orange Self Saucing Pudding
  • 170g Self raising flour
  • 200g Golden caster sugar
  • 2 Large oranges
  • 50g Melted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 120ml Milk
  • 2 tsp Cornflour
  • 245ml Boiling water
Grease six ramekins with butter.
Sift the self raising flour into a large bowl, add 100g of the golden caster sugar and the zest of the oranges. Mix with a wooden spoon.
In a jug mix together the butter, milk and egg.
Add to the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon.
Divide the batter between the ramekins.
In a separate bowl mix the rest of the golden caster sugar with the cornflour.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the batter, make sure to cover the batter fully.
Mix the juice of the oranges with the boiling water and pour over the puddings.
Bake the puddings on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbling.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 puddings

Recipe slightly adapted from Delicious Everyday.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Ciabatta: GBBO Week #3

Bread week on The Great British Bake Off started with a request from the judges for 12 identical bread rolls made with rye flour. I really do think that getting everything to look exactly the same is basically the opposite of home baking! I've never used rye flour before and honestly when I've tried rye bread I did not like it all, but the bakers were adding some interesting flavours that made it sound a lot more appetising. Rye is a healtheir alternative to regular wheat flour, however because of this it has a low gluten content and as Paul tells us it is "extremely difficult to work with" as you have to work the dough much more than usual to build up the gluten.

Most of the bakers stuck to fairly traditional flavour combinations such as Kate's Orange & Cardamom Rolls, Martha's Date & Walnut Rolls, and Jordan's Lemon & Poppyseed Rolls. Diana and Chetna went down the savoury route with Cheese & Walnut Rolls and Onion & Pine Nut Rolls. It was Luis who really experimented with flavour with his rolls which contained two types of dough; one flavoured with Fennel & Parsnip and the other with Coffee & Chocolate.

The rye rolls needed steam in the oven to stop them from drying out. Because of the dark colour of the dough, and the egg washes added by the bakers, it was difficult to tell when they were done baking. Nancy's, Martha's and Richard's were under baked. Iain finally did well, I was pleased for him and I think it is clear that bread is his strongest area. The judges loved Luis' flavour combination and overall bake. Kate also did very well.

Of course for the technical challenge it couldn't be anything except a Paul Hollywood recipe! And this week it was Ciabatta. Crisp on the outside and filled with air holes on the inside, this Italian bread requires patience to make according to Paul. No proving time was given, and despite an instruction to prove at room temperature, some of the bakers put it in the proving drawer.

They had trouble handling the sloppy dough and turning it into something 'ciabatta shaped' without knocking all the air out of it. When Paul and Mary tried the Ciabatta's it was clear that putting them in a proving drawer and/or handling it too much was not a good idea as it made them flat and more like pitta bread. Kate, who waited the longest to prove her dough, won the challenge. Luis, Martha and Norman also did well. Jordan came last with Iain and Chetna in ninth and eighth place.

This week's showstopper was a filled bread centrepiece. It had to be spectacular both inside and outside, and taste delicious too. Paul warned against using too much moisture as this can cause large air holes in the bread. Luis, Norman and Richard all went for Meditteranian flavours such as roasted vegetables, pesto and saffron to fill their breads. Jordan was the only baker doing a sweet bread, with his Strawberry & Raspberry Cheesecake Brioche.

I really liked Martha's Sunflower Bread. The middle was filled with Epoisses cheese, and the 'petals' with fig and apricot chutney. It sounded delicious and looked great! Nancy made a Full English Stromboli which sounded amazing but sadly didn't have a very impressive apperance.

I love how matter of fact and old school Norman is, I absolutely love him! Best quote of the episode from him was "for me, this is very exotic, you know - pesto". Bless him! Iain made a fantastic Moroccan Plait which Paul called a 'success'.

Jordan left us this week. He came last in the technical and his showstopper was very underbaked. Mary said that he was a creative and flamboyant baker, and she was sad to see him go. Next week - desserts! And it looks like a rather dramatic episode!

Bread is probably one of my more weaker areas in baking so I do like to try the technical challenges in order to learn more about bread and get more experience. So I decide to try Ciabatta this week. As you will see the shape of my Ciabattas did not come out very neatly! But it tasted good and I enjoyed making them. If you'd like to give it a go, here's what I did...

I used a Paul Hollywood recipe, which I think it is the same one the baker's used. So I started with 500g strong white bread flour, 10g fast action yeast and 10g salt in my food mixer bowl. I added 40ml olive oil and 300ml tepid water.

I oiled a 5 litre square tub, then set the mixture to combine with the dough hook attachment on a slow speed for a minute or two as I poured in another 100ml tepid water slowly. I then turned the food mixer up to a medium speed and mixed it for 8 minutes.

When it was done the dough was very stretchy.

I poured it into the oiled tub, covered it with a tea towel, and left it to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.

It rose a lot! The 5 litre tub was almost full.

I covered my work top very genourously with flour and semolina before tipping the dough out onto it. The dough 'slopped' onto the work top and it was very difficult to cut it into strips as it was so sticky and light. I had to keep sprinkling flour between the cuts I was making to make sure the pieces stayed apart.

I had to use my cake lifter to get the pieces of dough onto the baking sheet. It was a very tricky operation and left me with messy looking strips of dough. I was tempted to neaten them up, but I was terrified of pushing too much air out of them! I left them to rest for 10 minutes.

I baked the ciabatta on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Obviously the shape of my ciabatta was far from perfect, but there were a decent amount of air holes when I cut into. Who knows what Paul Hollywood would think, but I was satisfied with it for a first attempt! Most importantly, it tasted good! Ciabatta is fab dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or used as a sandwich bread filled with Italian meats and cheese.

I am linking this up to Mummy Mishap's Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014.

And to Supergolden Bakes Great GBBO Bake Along.

print recipe

  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 10g Fast Action Yeast
  • 10g Salt
  • 40ml Olive Oil
  • 400ml Tepid Water
  • Flour & Semolina to dust
Put the bread flour, yeast and salt into a food mixer bowl.
Add the olive oil and 300ml of the tepid water.
Oil a 5 litre square tub.
Set the mixture to combine with the dough hook attachment on a slow speed for a minute or two.
Pour in the remaining tepid water slowly.
Turn the food mixer up to a medium speed and mix for 8 minutes.
Pour the dough into the oiled tub, cover with a tea towel, and leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.
Cover your work top very genourously with flour and semolina before tipping the dough out onto it.
Cut into four strips without handling the dough too much.
Put the strips onto lined baking trays.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Bake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Ciabattas

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chocolate Truffles

Using up leftovers does feel like a constant struggle sometimes. I do my best to use up what I can, but unfortunately food does get wasted in my household, which often can't be helped. I live in a city centre flat so composting isn't an option. I had some egg yolks left after making my Chocolate & Lime Swiss Roll. Not because the recipe created leftover, but because I got yolk in my egg whites! Silly me. This recipe is perfect for using up 2 egg yolks, or more if you want more truffles! And who doesn't frankly...

I started by melting 250g dark chocolate in a double boiler. As it melted I slowly added 125g butter and mixed in.

When it was melted and smooth I took it off the heat and mixed in 2 egg yolks, 125g icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I let it cool completely, then I put it in the fridge overnight to set.

The next day I set up the coatings I was going to roll the truffles in. Of course you can roll them in cocoa powder, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. So I had chocolate sprinkles, hundreds and thousands, dessicated coconut, some icing sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, and some edible glitter. I put them all on some greaseproof paper for easy clean up. Except for the cinnamon sugar, which I put in a bowl.

On a tray I set out some petit four cases to hold the truffles in. These are basically miniature cupcake cases. I scooped out the mixture with a spoon, rolled it between the palms of my hands, then rolled it in the various coatings untill all of the mixture was gone. Don't worry it you can't get perfect spheres when you roll them, mine were all kinds of shapes! If you let them cool in a square tray you could cut them into squares if you're really not confident about your rolling skills.

The truffles were melt in the mouth delicious chocolate heaven! The cinnamon sugar topping was my top choice coating as it's one of my favourite spices as it goes so well with sweet things. In fact they were the only ones I ate...! The rest got gobbled up very quickly by my colleagues. They are rich and a pure hit of chocolate, which is perfect for chocolate lovers. The truffles would make a fantastic gift, and you could roll them in other things like chopped nuts, or coat them in chocolate.

This month's theme for myself and Cakeyboi's monthly baking challenge Treat Petite, is 'No Bake'. So the truffles fit perfectly as all you need is the stove top and a fridge.

I'd Much Rather Bake Than...'s monthly Biscuit Barrel challenge theme is also 'No Bake'. Although these aren't biscuits, any individual treat that fits into a biscuit tin is allowed.

Also as I used up leftovers (egg yolks to be specific) I am entering this into both Credit Crunch Munch - Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All's challenge, this month hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. And The No Waste Food Challenge - Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's challenge, this month hosted by I'd Much Rather Bake Than....

print recipe
Chocolate Truffles
  • 250g Dark Chocolate
  • 125g Butter
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 125g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Assorted coatings
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler. As it melts, add the butter slowly and mix in.
Take it off the heat and mix in the egg yolks, icing sugar and vanilla extract.
Let it cool completely, then put in the fridge overnight to set.
The next day set up the coatings of your choice by pouring them onto greaseproof paper or into bowls.
Set out some petit four cases to hold the truffles in.
Scoop out the mixture with a spoon and roll it between the palms of yours hands, then roll it in the various coatings untill covered.
Repeat until the truffle mixture is all used.
If you let the mixture cool in a square tray you can cut it into squares if you don't want to roll them.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Approx 20 truffles

Recipe from Marmiton.