First off – apologies for the long absence. I’ve recently started a new job and the time has just flown by.
Last month I made rum babas from Paul Hollywood’s recipe on Great British Bake Off.
The recipe was quite difficult to grasp. I had to start over with the dough because I tried to kneed it with my hands and it just went everywhere.
On my second attempt, I mixed the dough with a greased wooden spoon and that worked really well.
They took quite a while to do because your have to soak them in the syrup but once they’re all ready they’re really easy to put together and make look pretty.
Last week was the final of The Great British Bake Off and, spoiler alert, John won.
The last ever technical challenge was fondant fancies, one of my all time favourite treats! I love the big ones you can get in Waitrose and of course the classic Mr Kipling but I’d never tried to make my own before.
The contestants used Mary Berry’s recipe and so, I did too. I understand why Paul and Mary left it until the last week because the recipe was really tricky to follow. I assumed, being a basic sponge base, that it would be easy peasy, but there was just so much to do!
After the cake was cooled it needed to be covered in jam, then marzipan. Next I had to measure it out into square and cut. Spread buttercream over four sides of the sponge and pipe a blob of it on the top, then cover with icing and then decorate. They took me two evenings!
After all the effort though, they were worth it. They were light and sweet and lemony and beautiful and went perfectly with a cup of tea. Although they were difficult, I’d definitely recommend giving it a go!
Being a student, money is always a bit tight around Christmas. It’s nice to give your friends and family presents but not if it’s going to get you evicted or leave you without electricity (I may be exaggerating slightly).
I know my grandparents really enjoy receiving gifts which I’ve made myself so I decided to make them some biscotti. You can add whatever you like to it and it lasts for up to a month so it’s perfect as a present.
I followed the recipe for Christmas Biscotti on the BBC Good Food website but altered it slightly with different nuts and fruits using up what I had left over from the Christmas cake and pudding!
The recipe made loads more that I needed but that was hardly an issue as they were so delicious they were easy to share around. I think my Dad actually said they were the best thing I’d ever baked!
Christmas Biscotti Gift
Having been told that shortbread is one of the most challenging things to bake I couldn’t help but try and prove that theory wrong. However, despite the very small ingredient list and simple method, it was very tricky!
My first attempt went disastrously wrong. I made the mistake of rolling the dough out far too thin and ended up with burnt crisps of flavourless biscuit – not nice. I didn’t bother to take a photo for you.
A few days later I tried again with a different recipe. Lorraine Pascale again (my heroine!) Her recipe seemed to make much more dough and she suggested pressing it down into a round tin rather than rolling it out so that potential hazard was gone!
Shortbread: Before baking
I had to keep an eye on it in the oven, as I’ve told you my oven is pretty temperamental so can go from raw to barbecued in a matter of seconds, but when it got golden and yummy looking I took it out and started getting excited!
I left it to cool a little but before it got too cold I sprinkled it with sugar and broke it up into wedges – it’s still soft when it’s warm so it’s best to do this bit before it gets really cool and hard.
It looked delicious and was really buttery and sweet. A great recipe, you can find it here.
Shortbread: well worth the trouble