Sunday, 21 August 2016

GBBO Rewind & Fast Forward

In anticipation of the new series of the Great British Bake Off, here I recall my baking efforts of the challenges set last year.
GBBO 2015 bakes

In three sleeps time much of the nation will be about to sit down to watch the seventh series of the Great British Bake Off with 12 home bakers facing the steely stare of Paul Hollywood and the comforting comments of Mary Berry.  And let's not forget the doublenetendre quips from Mel and Sue.  I'll certainly be there with my fresh pot of tea, in awe of the creations they whip up.

It's become such an institution with many of the bakes lingering in the memories of baking fans.  Amongst those which I recall are Paul's lion bread complete with almond nails, Nadia's blue peacock in chocolate week and Frances Quinn's giant matchstick bread sticks.  Having already seen a few trailers for GBBO 2016, the excitement is already mounting wondering what feats of baked engineering they are challenged with whilst looking forward to 'meeting' the characters.

Like last year I shall aim to bake along with the Great Bloggers Bake off hosted by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps, (and her facebook group, also called Great Bloggers Bake Off) challenging myself to complete one of GBBO bakes each week to learn new techniques and try new flavour combinations.   In preparing for the challenges to be faced this year, I thought it would be fun to remind myself of the bakes I attempted last year.

Week 1 - Cakes.     


Small Madeira Cakes infused with lemon

These delicious Mini Madeira Cakes were my first GBBO bake-along.  They were infused with lemon and topped with crystallised lemon zest, and their dinky size made them perfect for any afternoon tea.

Week 2 - Biscuits.


Arlettes made with reverse puff pastry and flavoured with cinnamon

The technical challenge in week two was to bake a batch of Arlettes.  Like many of the bakers, I was unfamiliar with them but having seen their delicious cinnamon swirl in the wafer thin crisp buttery pastry I instantly felt the need to attempt the bake.  These were such a massive hit with friends and family that they have been made several times since.

Week 3 - Bread.


Homemade french baguettes

This was the week which saw Paul, the contestant, make his lion bread in the showstopper challenge.  I decided to square up to the technical challenge again and attempt to make Baguettes.  Not having a baker's couche to shape our french baguettes, I used a double layer of tea towels to help shape this delicate dough.

Week 4 - Desserts. 


Baked white chocolate Cheesecake with bilberries

Hurrah for dessert week!  Regulars to Only Crumbs Remain will no doubt be aware of my love of desserts!  This was the week which saw the remaining bakers make creme brulee, Spanish Windtorte and a baked cheesecake showstopper.  After much deliberation Mr E & I chose to make a Bilberry and White Chocolate Baked Cheesecake which contained a hidden layer of this delicious purple fruit.

Week 5 - Free From Food. 


Gluten free and refined sugar free brownies made with blackbeans

Free from week was a first for GBBO in 2015 as well as for me.  These Blackberry and Black Bean Brownies were not only made gluten free but were also free of refined sugar having been sweetened with maple syrup and honey.  And yes, they do contain black beans but, trust me, you would never know that they were present.

Homemade gluten free pitta breads

Wanting to learn more about free-from foods, I also attempted some Gluten Free Pitta Breads which was the baker's technical challenge.   Admittedly, these pitta breads did taste different to regular pittas, but were still delicious in their own right.

Week 6 - Pastry. 


Pear and blackberry frangipane tart

I have to admit that I do enjoy making pastry, so when pastry week rolled around I was keen to see what challenges faced the bakers.  They were asked to make frangipane in the a signature challenge, a technical bake of flaounas and a showstopper of  vol-au-vents.  This delicious Pear & Blackberry Frangipane saw the pears stained with foraged blackberries rather than the usual red wine.  It also contained a layer of blackberry jam sandwiched between the pastry and almond frangipane.  Extra blackberries also studded the top of the bake alongside the stained pears.

Week 7 - Victorian. 


Vegetarian game pie made with hotwater crust pastry and filled with quorn and vegetables

Victorian Week was another new theme for GBBO and saw the remaining bakers challenged with making a raised game pie signature bake, a tennis cake in the technical challenge, and a Charlotte Russe showstopper.   Being a huge fan of hot water crust pastry, both in terms of its method and flavour, Mr E & I made a Vegetarian Game Pie.  Being a vegetarian household we clearly weren't going to use a variety of meats and gelatine in our bake, so we packed it with two types of quorn and a medley of vegetables, before being finished with a simple leaf pattern to the top.  It was absolutely delicious!

Week 8 - Patisserie.

Cream horns filled with apple crumble and custard
The focus of week 8 was patisserie, delicate detailed bakes.  The handful of remaining bakers showcased their talents with a duo of cream horns in the signature bake, Mokatines in the technical challenge and the showstopper called for a Religieusse a L'ancienne, a nun sculpture made of eclaires, to be assembled.  Here I decided to attempt the cream horns, using an improvised cone structure for the puff pastry horn made from tinfoil wrapped around icecream cones!   They were definitely worth the effort!

A British flavour classic of Apple Crumble and Custard was used to fill half of our cream horn shells.  The cream horn was filled with a crème patissiere, topped with some apple puree spiced with cinnamon and then finished with a sprinkling of crumble.  Yum!    

Cream horns with lemon posset and raspberries.

The remaining cream horn shells, were filled with Lemon Posset and Raspberry.  The lemon posset, which was straightforward to make with heated cream and lemon juice, hid a fresh raspberry within the cone.  They were then topped with freeze dried raspberry pieces.

 Week 9 - Chocolate.


A triple chocolate tart, with a chocolate pastry case, mango cream, chocolate mousse made with aquafaba, chocolate glaze and white chocolate decorations.

Imagine the wonderful aroma in the tent during chocolate week!  The challenges set were a chocolate tart, a chocolate souffle and a chocolate sculpture showstopper.  This was where Nadia made her fabulous blue peacock.  Not having the chocolate skills to even contemplate making a chocolate sculpture I decided to make a Triple Chocolate and Mango Tart which saw a chocolate pastry case filled with a mango cream, a milk chocolate mousse made with aquafaba (the liquid found in cans of chickpeas), topped with a chocolate glaze, and finished with white chocolate circles to decorate. 

 Week 10 - The Final.


Barm Brack Iced Fingers finished with a simple water icing

And only three bakers remained!  The three bakers were faced with making two different iced fingers made with enriched dough in the signature bake, a millefeuille in the technical challenge and a three tiered cake show stopper.

Here I chose to make the iced fingers, they were a childhood favourite.  I managed to make two different enriched doughs with contrasting flavour and colours.  The first was a Barm Brack Iced Finger, which was made with a traditional Irish enriched bread which was studded with tea soaked fruit and flavoured with a little spice.  We shaped the dough into fingers and decorated them with a simple water icing.  

Blackberry and white chocolate iced fingers

Our second batch were Blackberry and White Chocolate Iced Fingers which saw the white enriched bread fingers split and filled with a whipped white chocolate gnache, topped with a blackberry glaze and finished with a line of blackberry jam. 

That was my 2015 Great Bloggers Bake Off experience.  I'm sure GBBO 2016 will be even more challenging with exciting delicious bakes to contemplate and drool over, and rumour has it although there will be the traditional weeks like cake and pastry, there will also be new challenges like batter week.  Perhaps the bakers will be challenged with making a Yorkshire Pudding ;-)

Are you a GBBO fan?  Will you be baking along with the bake off this year?


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  1. I've been so excited about Bake Off this week but I'm even more excited after reading your blog post! I loved Paul's lion bread last year and had a bit of a soft spot for Fireman Matt so I have high hopes for this year's contestants.

    I'm so impressed that you managed to bake along with the programme last year - your bakes look fantastic. I especially love the look of your cream horns and frangipane tart.

    1. Haha, Fireman Matt definitely was a popular baker wasn't he :-) Paul's lion bread was amazing, I've never tried anything like that, it'd probably end up more like a 'lump of coal' (or rather bread) after the prooves and bake if I was to try something so intricate. Thank you Jo, those cream horns were particularly yummy - my parents and I soon demolished them ;-) and as for the frangipane with blackberries it became a bit of a love hate thing having been bitten by an insect whilst out foraging for the berries and needing antibiotics as a result!
      Only two sleeps now Jo :-) hope you'll be baking along too :-)
      Angela x

  2. Lovely bakes Angela! It is fun to look back at what you made isn't it. I love the look of the iced buns with their bright icing and your cream horns!

    1. Thank you Lucy :-) I really enjoyed reading your look back on 2015 which inspired me to recall my bakes too. I was really pleased with how well those iced buns turned out and although they were both delicious, both hubby & I still preferred the plainer Barm Brack one which wasn't filled.
      Thanks for your lovely comments Lucy, not long to go now :-)
      Angela x

  3. I saw Fireman Matt at an event a few weeks ago but I couldn't work out who he was until afterwards - was kicking myself!!! Love looking at your bakes again - and so excited about this Wednesday. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

    1. Hahaha, that's the sort of thing I do :-) He was definitely a popular character last yr - can't imagine that it was because he waas a fireman in his 'day' job ;-)
      Not long to go now Mandy *does happy excited dance around the house*. :-)
      Angela x

  4. How lovely to look back at last year's bake a long, they are stunning Angela, particularly the cream horns. I shall be looking forward to seeing this year's bakes and I can't believe we've only got to wait one more day for GBBO! x

    1. It was definitely fun looking back at the bakes (or at least it was for me ;-) ), I can't quite believe what I managed to make to be honest. Those cream horns were delicious, I must admit they were a bit of a faff to make with the puff pastry and the assembly of the horn around the cone but it was certainly worth the effort.
      Only a few hours now before everybody is sat around their TV screen watching the delicious bakes being made.
      Thank you for your lovely comments Sarah,
      Angela x

  5. Wow - you were seriously busy last year! Are you planning to do the same this year? And what lovely creations, seriously impressive - I especially like your vegetarian take on game pie - genius! Though I reckon the one I'd enjoy eating the most is the Barm Brack Iced Finger - I am seriously partial to an M&S iced spiced bun - it's my little treat in the cafe when we go there, so these would be right up my street! So looking forward to tomorrow :-) Eb x

    1. Weren't I just Eb, looking back I can't quite believe I managed to bake-along every week (and blog about it too!) I loved baking along with GBBO last year as I got to make so many things which I usually would pass by and plus I got to make puff pastry a few times too (I used to looove making that as a teen along with flaky pastry!) So I'm certainly going to aim to bake-along each week again, or at least that's the plan! That game pie was delicious Eb, packed with so many great flavours and it was a tad healthier than usual hotwatercrust as I had used some wholemeal in the mixture too. Ooh Eb, I'm going to have to go into our local M&S tearoom now - I had no idea that they did spiced iced buns! Barm Brack still is one of our favourite enriched breads. Yum :-)
      Thanks for your lovely comments Eb,
      Angela x

  6. Wow some great bakes Angela and thanks for sharing, thanks to you I am now really looking forward to taking part in the bloggers bake off too.

    1. You're more than welcome Jacqueline, I'm sure Jenny would agree 'the more, the merrier'. I had such a great time taking part in the bloggers bake off last yr, not just with the baking itself but it was lovely seeing how other people interpreted the bakes. It's such a great group Jacqueline, really enouraging and engaging :-)
      Thankyou for your lovely comments, and I look forward to seeing what you bake for GBBO :-)
      Angela x

  7. I never watched the GBBO but I really enjoyed reading about your creations. I'm loving the triple chocolate tart and the blackberry and white chocolate fingers! Looking forward to seeing what you make for this year's challenge
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes :)

    1. Wow, really, you've never watched GBBO?! I'm shocked, but there again I love baking and if it's not your bag then it would be a waste of time to spend an hour each week watching folk up to their elbows in flour and batter :-)
      Hubby isn't a massive dessert fan, unlike me, but he thoroughly enjoyed that triple chocolate tart with the mango. Infact if memory serves me right he helped himself to a third slice one evening!
      Thanks for your lovely comments Debbie,
      Angela x

  8. Just looking at your blog after seeing some of the re-runs of the season you baked..... I love all of the bakers and the bakes ... yours look pretty darn impressive.

    I want to bake them all..but, always resort to simpler things.... sigh... must get up some gumption and do some of the trickier ones some day.
    Thanks for all the beautiful pics and the lovely write ups...


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