Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Bake off challenge: A fail of a week six followed by a thoroughly un-Victorian week seven!

Oh dear, my first mishap thus far and it just had to be pastry week didn't it? The plan was to make a fig and honey frangipan tart complete with almond shortcrust pastry. The honeyed figs worked, as did the frangipan however the pastry was a disaster! It went soggy in the middle and burnt a bit on the outside, gluing itself to the pan. I don't think it particularly worked as pastry and would stick to regular shortcrust if I were to try making this again. Nonetheless I was pleased with how the figs and frangipan turned out, and my parents actually enjoyed the tart quite a bit with the second half having been retrieved from the freezer today.

I'll just explain how I made the figs and the frangipan I think, just use premade pastry!

For the honeyed figs...

Cut six figs into quarters and lay on a baking tray. Mix the juice of one fresh orange with a tablespoon of runny honey. Pour this mixture over the figs and bake in the oven at 180 (fan oven) for about 15 minutes. Job done.

For the frangipan...

Beat together 200g of butter with 200g of golden caster sugar until creamy. Add 200g of ground almonds and the zest of the orange you used for the figs. Beat again. Add the yolks of two eggs and mix once more. There should be some juice from the baked figs that can be added in for extra oomph, about a tablespoon will do.

If you were to make a tart out of this, roll some pastry out and pop it into a greased flan tin. Make sure the pastry passes the edges of the tin as it will shrink a bit. Bake blind using baking beads for about 20 minutes, pricking the case in the middle of this time. Once golden, pour in the frangipan and stud the tart with the figs. Sprinkle some flaked almonds over the top for added crunch. Bake for 1hr15mins at 180.

And here's my shoddy bake, Bezza wouldn't be happy!

The next  theme on Bake Off was Victorian era baking and I'm not going to lie I wasn't particularly inspired by any of the recipes. I had a look online and in our cookbooks for stuff and just didn't really want to bake any of it - plus I don't think my parents wanted to eat any of it, although my Dad claimed he'd love a rabbit pie. Ugh, no way am I doing that!! So instead I decided to go for a cake that is the complete antithesis of Victorian bakes. I decided to make... Peanut, banana and chocolate loaf cake!
A company called Sukrin had sent me some baking goodies after I'd complained about these Stevia almond drops, and in this stash was some peanut flour. We also had a ton of brown bananas festering in our fruit bowl. Sorry, outside our fruit bowl because y'know they ripen the fruit too quick. I decided to combine the two, add some chocolate and hey presto, Huston we have a cake. This recipe is completely off piste and I pretty much made the whole thing up but it worked! I think next time I'd add half the ingredient quantities again just to make a bigger cake.


2 medium sized very ripe bananas
50g butter
50g peanut flour
50g self raising flour
50g golden caster sugar
Half a teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg
50g dark chocolate chunks
a handful of chewy banana pieces (mine were waitrose)
50g dark chocolate, melted for decorating

First of all grease and line a loaf tin and preheat the oven at 160 degrees. Take a mixing bowl and mash the bananas into it. Add the butter, peanut flour, flour, sugar, baking powder and egg. Mix thoroughly until completely combined. Then stir through the chocolate chunks and banana pieces. Dollop the cake mix into the loaf tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that you can take it out when it becomes golden and has risen. Insert a knife to check whether it's baked, making sure it comes out clean. Set the cake aside until it's cooled down a bit. Once cool, remove from the loaf tin and grab your melted chocolate. Take a spoon and dip into the chocolate, then drizzle it haphazardly over the cake. The aim is to create a Jackson Pollock type look (oo fancy). Once you're satisfied with its appearance you could dot some banana pieces over the top just to jazz things up even more. 

Et voila, the finished product:

My Mum loveees this cake, she is a bit of a peanut fiend and also had been wanting to use up the bananas. I personally was quite proud of how I managed to muddle together a recipe using a completely alien ingredient: peanut flour. Since this I made a satay sauce for my Mum because she decided she liked the idea of homemade peanut butter, but the one I made was more of a sauce. I've even managed to add a teeny bit into some homemade popcorn! 

Anyway enough rambling. Next I'm going to attempt to make macaroons, as the week after Victorian on the Bake Off was patisserie. Watch this space!


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