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September 01, 2018
The Great British Bake Off is back for its ninth series.A new batch of a dozen bakers entered the familiar marquee to challenge the tastebuds of judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding are retained for the comic foil. Black sheep meandered in the grounds of Berkshire’s Welford Park. The viewing nation settled in for the annual comfort viewing. The series kicked off with Biscuit Week as the bakers tackled signature regional biscuits, a Wagon Wheel technical challenge and a 3D biscuit portrait for the showstopper. The first episode of the new series, Channel 4’s second, showed promising signs of life. The challenges have been livened up, the contestants almost all appeared to be a pleasant bunch with some decent levels of baking proficiency.The theme of last night’s opener was Biscuits. The signature challenge was for the assembled cast of bakers to make 24 regional biscuits. Bryony revealed the secret to her Apple Cider Empire Biscuits was the sieved boiled egg yolk she was planning to add to the mixture; Paul Hollywood was sceptical but Prue Leith was adamant it would be LOVELY! Paul had changed his tune by judging time, however; "that’s a great biscuit, that," he gruffly conceded.Kim-Joy opted for hair-conditioner-inspired Orange Blossom York Biscuits;
Beehived Ruby was creating Masala Chai Devon Flats ("I made 25 biscuits because I’m bad at maths," she admits).
Antony set about making vibrant Tumeric and Caraway Goosnargh cakes; "they match your outfit," Noel sniggered to Prue. Terry, complete with perfectly curled whiskers and sitting atop a non-moving horse in his VT, ambitiously decided to make Lake District Ginger Shortbread, adorned with decorative chocolate lambs. He had a runny chocolate disaster and the lambs did not look very well.Scientist Rahul, who effortlessly slipped in a reference to his PhD within three seconds of appearing on camera, decided to base his biscuit choice on his mother's favourite recipe. There was also Dan, a full-time dad who wants to ‘win just one challenge’. He was making his favourite Lemon & Strawberry Shrewsburys.Karen, who finished baking her biscuits with so much time to spare that she literally pulled up a chair and began eating a bag of crisps. Too cool for school?The technical challenge saw the contestants tasked with whisking up a batch of Wagon Wheels; a favourite of Paul’s from childhood, the bakers were implored to 'not mess it up'.Poor Antony didn’t quite manage to finish on time, dropping him into last place, whilst Ruby wowed the judges with the perfect 'shine' of the chocolate on her Wheels.The third and final challenge required the contestants to make a biscuit-based self portrait. Impressively, this is something they all managed to achieve; Ruby created herself running through the London Marathon finish line, Imelda created a beach-based selfie.Dan’s biscuit showed him holding something large and pink in his arms. "It’s a baby," he explained, which was a curious thing to say as it was very obviously a sausage.Judges Paul and Prue were unimpressed by Karen’s offering ("you can’t taste the rosewater"), whilst Ruby’s was dismissed as 'too ambitious'. Rahul, however, dazzled with his use of cinnamon; Manon also pleased the judges, so much so that she was voted the week’s star baker.It was not quite so delicious an ending for Imelda, however; earlier in the show she had pondered the strategy for winning the contest. "You only need to be better than one other person to stay in, don’t you?" she mused, prematurely, during the signature challenge. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be the case for her, and she was eliminated from the show.
Below are a few of our favourite baking recipes to try in case the Bake Off has whetted your appetite.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
A little unsalted butter for greasing 5 tbsp Golden syrup 227g Can pineapple rings in natural juice, drained 7 Glace cherries 150g Self-raising flour ¼ tsp Salt 150g Caster sugar 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 Large eggs 1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a round 23cm (9 in) shallow cake tin with a little unsalted butter.
2 Spoon the syrup into the cake tin, spreading it over the base. Arrange one pineapple ring in the centre of the tin, then cut the remaining rings in half and fan them around the whole ring. Place the glace cherries among the pineapples.
3 Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, unsalted butter, unbeaten eggs and vanilla extract. Use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture together until smooth and creamy – this will only take 1-2 minutes.
4 Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and spread it out carefully to cover the fruit. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
5 Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the edges. Place a large plate on top of the tin, invert quickly and lift the tin away. Cool completely.
Apple and Blackberry Crumble
You will need:
450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced 100g Blackberries 75g Golden (or regular) caster sugar
For the Crumble Topping:
100g Plain flour 25g Porridge oats Pinch of salt 50g unsalted butter, chilled 50g Demerara sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/ Gas Mark 6.
2 Mix together the apples, blackberries and caster sugar, then tip them into a 1 litre (1 ½ pint) ovenproof dish.
3 Put the flour, salt and porridge oats into a mixing bowl and add the unsalted butter, rubbing it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in the demerara sugar, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
4 Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden brown.
5 Serve with custard, cream or ice-cream.
Quick-Mix Victoria Sponge
You will need
A little unsalted butter for greasing 125g Self-raising flour 1 tsp Baking powder ¼ tsp Salt 115g Caster sugar 75g unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 Large eggs 3 tbsp Milk ½ tsp Vanilla extract
Traditional Jam and Cream Filling:
3-4 tbsp Strawberry or raspberry jam 120ml Double or whipping cream Caster sugar, for sprinkling
For the Lemon Filling
2 tbsp Lemon curd 4 tbsp Mascarpone cheese 1 tsp Lemon juice A little lemon zest, finely grated
1 Position the oven shelves towards the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease two 18cm (7in) sandwich tins with a little unsalted butter , line their bases with a circle of greaseproof paper, then lightly grease the paper.
2 Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, unsalted butter , unbeaten eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture together until smooth and creamy – this will only take 1-2 minutes.
3 Share the mixture equally between the prepared tins and level the surfaces. Bake for 18-20 minutes. To test that the cakes are cooked, they should be golden brown, and when touched lightly the tops should spring back into place. Put the tins on to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.
4 Remove the cakes from their tins and cool on a wire rack, then remove the lining paper. When completely cool, sandwich the cakes together with strawberry or raspberry jam and whipped cream and sprinkle the top with caster sugar. Alternatively, make the lemon filling by mixing together the lemon curd, mascarpone cheese and lemon juice with the lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Use instead of the jam and cream.
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