Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tribute to the Great British Bake Off....

Like millions of others, I've been addicted to the Great British Bake Off over the past few months. I'm so excited about the finale tonight, I decided to take inspiration from last week's show, and recreate Brendan's Gateau St. Honore. 

I was really looking forward to getting started, and decided to make some small adjustments since I was a little short on time. 

I began by making the rough puff pastry (something I'd never done before), and found it very straight forward. While the puff pastry chilled, I made a head start on the choux pastry. I've baked eclairs and profiteroles before, so wasn't really daunted by this part of the recipe. The quantities given for the choux pastry in this recipe are quite generous, so don't be greedy like me, double the recipe and end up with about 50 profiteroles  (I suspect I'll have some very happy friends this evening when I visit with stacks of dessert!!) 

This dessert seems pretty daunting, but honestly, it's not... take it step by step; each step is relatively simple. It is time consuming, but is definitely worth the effort. 

Take your puff pastry from the fridge, and roll out a rectangular shape. Using a piping bag, pipe a swirl of choux pastry, starting in the centre, and leaving about an inch gap until you have a swirl of choux ending about 2 inches from the edge of the puff pastry. Finally, pipe a border around the outside of the choux, to make a ridge around the edge. It should look like this  (you can make a round version like this one if you prefer). The spiral in the centre gives the cake extra structure. Use the remaining choux pastry, pipe small profiteroles. While the puff/choux base, and profiteroles were baking, I made a start on the filling... 

This is where I decided to make some changes to the recipe. Instead of making the creme patissiere, I decided to use some leftover dulce de leche (caramel) and spread a generous layer over the pastry base. Chantilly cream is a wonderfully light filling for choux pastry, and makes them a little more special than just plain whipped cream. I followed Brendan's recipe, adding a dash of rum to one third of the Chantilly cream (reserving a third of the plain Chantilly cream to fill the choux border and profiteroles , and cooled melted Belgian chocolate to the remaining third of the mixture (fold the chocolate into the cream gently, don't be tempted to whisk the mixture again or it'll end up too thick and resemble a buttery texture..) 

Once the base came out of the oven, and cooled, I used the plain Chantilly cream to fill the choux border on the pastry base. To do this, I used a narrow piping nozzle, and piped the cream into the choux slowly. If you pipe the cream gradually at 3 inch intervals, it's a lot simpler than trying to pipe through the whole border. Using the same nozzle, I filled each of the profiteroles  Once completed, I coated each profiterole generously in caramel.

I spread the leftover caramel over the base, and then placed a row of profiteroles around the edge of the cake. Using a medium piping nozzle, I piped rosettes alternating between the rum and chocolate cream to decorate the top of the cake. 

Clearly, I hadn't given myself enough work, so decided to make the cake a little more special, by adding some spun sugar to the top. This cake is time consuming, and requires patience, but it's really worth it. It looks and tastes great, and would be the perfect dessert for a special occasion. I'll definitely be making it again... 

I'm very excited about tonight's show, rumour has it the finalists will be baking Fondant Fancies  which are one of my favourite childhood cakes. I suspect they may feature in an upcoming post!!

Enjoy the show tonight! 

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