Sunday, 27 September 2015

Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe: GBBO Week #7

My week 7 review and bake is a bit late as I've been in Hong Kong for the past 2 weeks (more on my trip coming soon!) This week The Great British Bake Off changed up the theme again with a Victorian episode. They do love their history so I think this was a nice choice. The first challenge for the contestants was to make a raised game pie using hot water crust pastry. In the Victorian era, game pies were status symbols for the middle class. Mary expected to see an ornate pie with intricate decorations, and Paul wanted thin pastry all around.

Mat had a traditional pie tin from his friend's mum which dated back to 1850, his pie was filled with venison and pigeon. The judges loved the look of the pie and thought the meat was tender. Baker Paul used wild boar in his pie, but the judges thought it wasn't decorated well. To be honest I thought they were overly harsh on Baker Paul about the decoration element. Tamal did a middle eastern spice mix with rabbit, lamb and venison. The judges absolutely loved it and he even got a handshake from Paul! Nadiya went for an untraditional Chinese 5 spice mix with pheasant and duck. Paul loved the decoration on top, but both he and Mary thought the spices over powered the game.

Flora really emphasised her middle class background as she told us how she made a pheasant pie in school and won a competition with it. She went for lucky pheasant again along with pigeon and rabbit, but she had problems cooking the pie as she over filled it. Although it had caught a little, the judges liked both the pastry and filling. Ian revealed his roadkill eating passion, and his pie was filled with venison, partridge and guinea fowl. He also made a meat jelly to accompany it. Mary did not think his pie was decorated enough on the outside, but she loved the appearance of the layers of meat inside. He did well for flavours too.

This week's technical challenge was a Tennis Cake. This is a rich fruit cake decorated with a royal icing tennis court. Mary noted that it was very important that the cake was baked as soon as possible to it had time to cool down. Paul noted that there were a lot of elements of the decoration that could easily go wrong!

They had to make all of the different types of icing - marzipan, royal icing and sugarpaste from scratch. Mat struggled with his sugarpaste and ended up with radioactive looking goop, he also baked his tennis court and net so they turned brown. Meanwhile, Nadiya couldn't remember what a tennis court looked like, but she was the only one to have an upright tennis net! Nadiya won the challenge with Paul 2nd, Tamal 3rd, Flora 4th and Ian 5th. Mat came last.

This week's showstopper challenge was a Charlotte Russe, which is a mousse called bavarois and a jelly layer surrounded by ladyfingers. A structural nightmare to say the least! Mary said the most difficult element was getting the bavarois and jelly to set in time. I do mention this a lot, but I really think they should give them extra time for things to set as it really isn't under anyone's full control. Everyone was making the ladyfingers from scratch of course, and everyone except Tamal were using the ladyfinger sponge mix for the base of the dessert. Tamal used jelly as his base which really impressed the judges. He also decorated the ladyfingers with a chocolate swirl pattern.

Ian and Paul certainly had the most elaborate and impressive decorations. Ian made a 3D crown which was just fantastic! Mary thought it looked spectacular and Paul said it was purely magical. And Paul carved fruit into swans, but unfortunately his jelly was not set. Nadiya mixed italian meringue into her bavarois which was a recipe she learnt in school. The judges absolutely loved it as it was so light and creamy.

Mat made a simply flavoured strawberry Charlotte Russe, but he had problems with the ladyfingers breaking and the jelly wasn't set. Flora flavoured her Russe with pomegranate, champagne, raspberry and white chocolate. Paul really didn't like the addition of pomegranate at all, but they liked the other flavours and the defined layers of the Russe.

Mat left us this week after coming last in the technical and delivering a disappointing Charlotte Russe. I was so sad to see him go! He's really funny and a brilliant baker of course. I think we'll definitely see more of him in the future. Tamal won star baker, and I was really pleased for him as I think he's deserved it in the past and I was glad he finally got it! Next week it's all about patisserie.

I decided to make the Charlotte Russe this week as the tennis cake looked incredibly fiddly and as we are a half-vegetarian household a game pie was not suitable. The Charlotte Russe is very similar to the Charlotte Royale which featured on the Bake Off in 2013. So I was a bit disappointed not be using any new techniques, but on the other hand I was really excited to make bavarois again as it's so delicious!

I prepared the tin by using a long piece of baking paper and folding it in half, then using it as a collar inside the cake tin. I secured it with a paper clip.

Lining the tin was the most fiddly part. I used shop bought lady fingers as they would be more sturdy. I started by covering the bottom and slowly building the side as I filled the bottom. This made sure the ladyfingers along the side were wedged in as I went - otherwise they just fell over. I dipped each ladyfinger for a couple of second in a mixture of 100ml sugar syrup (I used Fruiss Pure Cane Sugar Syrup) and 100ml Chambord - which is a black raspberry liquor. I really wedged it all in and filled in all of the gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers, I was determined not to have any leakages!

To make the lime bavarois I put 750ml whole milk, 250g granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, the seeds from 1 vanilla pod and the zest of 2 limes into a pan. I heated it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolved.

In a separate bowl I mixed up the yolks of 10 eggs. I poured the milk into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it for about 5 minutes until it thickened up. I poured it through a sieve to remove the zest, then added 8 pre-soaked leaves of gelatin and the juice of 2 and a half limes. I stirred it until all the gelatin was dissolved, then popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool.

Once the custard was cool I whipped up 460ml double cream with my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer and mixed it into the custard.

I poured it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. I left it in there overnight, but it set within about 2 hours.

The next day I made some jelly using half a pack of Hartleys raspberry jelly. I added 2 tsp of Chambord to the mixture. I poured it on top, but I did have some problems with leakage. I decided not to fill it too much as it was leaking.

For the decoration I whipped up some cream, I didn't measure it but it was about 300ml. And I piped it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom (this handily hid the leakage evidence!)

I added raspberries and lime zest on top and it was done! I was really pleased with the final apperance and look of it. I thought it looked really pretty! I haven't cut into it yet, but I tasted some of the bavarois while I was making it and it was so creamy and delicious. I can't wait to have a slice!

Update: I took it into work and entered it into the 'other bakes' category of our Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and came first in the category! I was so pleased and I got some great compliments.

What did you think of this episode of The Great British Bake Off? Will you make any of the bakes? Let me know in the comments!

I'm entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

print recipe

Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe
  • 2 packs of Ladyfingers
  • 100ml Sugar syrup
  • 100ml + 2 tsp Chambord
  • 750ml Whole milk
  • 250g Granulated sugar
  • 3 Limes
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 10 Egg yolks
  • 8 Gelatin leaves, pre-soaked
  • 760ml Double cream
  • Half a pack of Raspberry jelly
  • 8-10 Fresh raspberries
Prepare the tin by folding a long piece of baking paper in half, then placing it inside the cake tin as a collar. Secure it with a paper clipLine the tin with the lady fingers. As you do so, dip one side of each ladyfinger for a couple of seconds in the sugar syrup and Chambord mixed together. Start by covering the bottom of the tin, then slowly build the sides. Fill in any gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingersMake the lime bavarois by putting the whole milk, granulated sugar, salt, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the lime zest into a pan. Heat it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolvesIn a bowl mix up the egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. Then pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it for about 5 minutes until it thickens up. Pour through a sieve to remove the zest, then add the gelatin and the lime juice. Stir it until all the gelatin is dissolved, then pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to coolOnce the custard is cool, whip up 460ml of the double cream and mix it into the custardPour it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. It should set in approximately 2 hoursMake the jelly following the packet instructions, and add the 2 tsp of Chambord to the mixture. Pour it on top of the set custardFor the decoration whip up 300ml of the double cream. Pipe it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottomAdd raspberries and lime zest to decorate

Recipe adapted from Chowhound.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

I recently posted a recipe for a Golden Oreo Cheesecake that I'd made with one of the new oreo flavours that have recently been released in the UK. The other new oreo flavour is peanut butter and I promised you I'd also post a recipe with them, well here it is! These decadent no bake truffle treats are super easy to make and are a peanut butter and oreo lovers dream.

Both Peanut Butter Oreos and Golden Oreos are now widely available in all major UK supermarkets.

I whizzed up 280g of peanut butter oreos in a food processor until they became fine crumbs. I saved three of the oreo for my photos and also to taste them!

I mixed 140g full fat cream cheese into the oreo crumbs until fully combined.

I took bits of the mixture and rolled them into balls between my palms. The mixture was a little sticky but easy enough to work with. I put the balls onto a lined baking tray and put them in the freezer for an hour.

To cover the truffles I used 200g peanut butter flavour candy melts. I'd never used candy melt before and when they melt they are quite a lot thicker than chocolate. To thin them down I used about 1 tsp of a vegetarian shortening called Crisp n Dry. This gives it the same consistency as chocolate so much easier to dip.

For decoration I melted 6 blocks of dark chocolate and drizzled it over the truffles.

Once the chocolate is set, dig in! I told you these were a super easy treat to make. The peanut butter flavour of both the candy melts and oreos is sooo good! Try not to eat them all at once!

I am entering these into myself and Cakeyboi's challenge, Treat Petite. This month's theme is anything goes!

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Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles
  • 280g Peanut butter Oreos
  • 140g Cream cheese
  • 200g Peanut butter Candy Melts
  • 1 tsp Shortening
  • 6 blocks of Dark chocolate
Whizz up the peanut butter oreos in a food processor until they become fine crumbsMix in the cream cheese until fully combinedTake bits of the mixture and roll them into balls between your palms. Put the balls onto a lined baking tray and put them in the freezer for an hourMelt the peanut butter candy melts with the shortening. Dip each truffle and coat it completely. Put onto some baking paper to setMelt the dark chocolate and drizzle it over the truffles, once set they are ready to eat

NB. I was sent the oreos for free to bake with, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Honey & Orange Cupcakes

I've mentioned before that I attend my local Women's Institute (WI) on a monthly basis. Well last month's meeting was a bit different in that we had an outing to visit some nearby bees. I had no idea that there are beehives on the roofs of many of the city's buildings. After a talk from a local beekeeper we headed up to the roof of The Printworks where they have chickens, a vegetable garden and two beehives. It was dark when we visited, but I found the below photo online which gives a much clearer view!

The bees are looked after by someone from the Hard Rock Cafe, vegetables from the garden are used to make soup for the homeless, and the wild flower section of the garden was dontaed by Bez from the Happy Mondays. Who knew all this was going on right above our heads! Bees are such fascinating creatures and so essential to our environment. Friends of the Earth are currently campaigning against the governments decision to use bee harming pesticides in the UK, you can read more about it by clicking here.

So in honour of our bee themed meeting I decided to make some honey flavoured cupcakes with cute little bees on top! To make the bees I started by rolling chunks of golden marzipan to make the bees bodies. I laid them onto baking paper.

I melted a few blocks of dark chocolate in the microwave and painted the bees stripes and eyes onto the marzipan bodies using a brand new paint brush. You could probably also do this with a cocktail stick.

I pushed flaked almonds into the bees to make the wings.

Soon I had a swarm of marzipan bees! I made 30+ cupcakes for my WI meeting, but I'll give you the recipe for 12 cupcakes, then you can double and triple it as you need.

To make the cupcakes I started by creaming 150g butter, 50g honey and 100g caster sugar.

I added 2 eggs, the zest of one orange, 3 tbsp orange juice and 1 tsp orange extract.

Finally I mixed in 150g self raising flour.

I baked the cupcakes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes until golden brown. I got a new oven recently and it bakes things super fast so you may need to leave them in for 20 minutes depending on your oven.

I made some buttercream by mixing 150g butter, 50g honey, 400g icing sugar and 1 tsp orange extract. I piped it onto the cupcakes when they were fully cool.

Finally I added the super cute marzipan bees! I loved the final effect, the little 'bees' looked so adorable. I got some really lovely comments when I presented them at the meeting and was pleased to see them all fly off the table!

I'm entering these into Belleau Kitchen's challenge Simply Eggcellent, this month the theme is cake.

It's also National Cupcake Week at the moment, which is great timing to share this recipe!

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Honey & Orange Cupcakes
  • 120g Golden marzipan
  • 6 blocks of Dark chocolat
  • 50g Flaked almonds
  • 300g Butter
  • 100g Honey
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Orange
  • 2 tsp Orange extract
  • 150g Self raising flour
  • 400g Icing sugar
To make the bees, roll chunks of golden marzipan into an oval shape. Lay them onto baking paperMelt the dark chocolate and paint the bees stripes and eyes onto the marzipan bodies using a small paint brush or a cocktail stickPush the flaked almonds into the bees bodies to make the wingsTo make the cupcakes, cream 150g of the butter, 50g of the honey and the caster sugar togetherAdd the eggs, the zest of the orange, 3 tbsp of the orange's juice and 1 tsp of the orange extract. Mix wellFold in the self raising flourBake the cupcakes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool completelyMake the buttercream by mixing 150g of the butter, 50g of the honey, the icing sugar and 1 tsp of the orange extract together until smooth. Pipe it onto the cupcakesFinally add the marzipan bees

Sponge recipe adapted from Rowse Honey.