Great British Bake Off is over. This makes me a little sad, I loved watching the show and doing the challenges, seeing the bakers having their amazing moments and their struggles. I’m happy Candice won, she was pushing herself every time and taking risks. This year I got the chance of working with Tesco for a couple of bakes during Botanical week and it was great. I baked each week, sometimes twice or even all the challenges and I also learned a lot of new things.
The final challenges were a filled meringue crown with 3 layers as the signature; the technical was Victoria Sandwich, a cake I baked for the beginning of the Bake off. The showstopper a Picnic Fit for a Queen: 12 Quiches, 12 savoury scones, 12 sausage rolls, 12 fruit tarts and a chocolate cake. I wanted to make the showstopper, even though we were away in Scotland until the 30th and yesterday I baked something else for Halloween. Today I’ve made everything and it took a little over 5 hours because I had to make a 20-25 minutes stop for something work-related and I had to use the small oven as in the big one I had some meringue cooling down (another recipe tomorrow! it turned out amazing). Also, I only have a single baking tray with 12 holes for quiche/fruit tarts. The only cheat was using shop-bought puff pastry. I see no reason to make my own with loads of butter when there are light versions available on the market.
My picnic is made up of: 12 Leek and soft cheese Quiches; 12 mushrooms scones, 12 vegetarian sausage and sundried tomatoes rolls, 12 fruit tarts with creme patissiere, whipped cream, dragon fruit, cherry and kiwi; Orange and Chocolate Cake with mascarpone cream.
Ingredients for 12 Leek and soft cheese Quiches:
– 175g plain flour
– 75g butter at room temperature
– 3 eggs
– 2 leeks
– 2 spoons of oil
– 250g soft cheese
– 2 spoons of cornflour
– white pepper
Make the pastry by mixing the flour and butter by hand or in a food processor, until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add one beaten egg and mix the dough until just holds together. On a floured surface, roll the pastry thinly, 1-2mm thick. Cut with a round cutter that is slightly bigger than the hole. Line the baking tin with the pastry, prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork. Leave the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling for the quiche. Wash and cut the leeks and shallow fry them in heated oil. Add some water and leave it on the hob to cook. When the leeks are almost cooked, take them off the heat and cool them. You can put them in the fridge. Mix the leeks with 2 beaten eggs, the soft cheese and spices.
Pre-heat the oven at 200C or 180C fan. Take the tray out of the fridge and put small pieces of baking paper on top, fill with ceramic baking beans. Blind bake for 10-12 minutes. Take them out of the oven, remove the beans and the baking paper. Fill the pastry with the mixture and put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
When the quiches are cooked, take them out from the baking tray and leave them to cool on a cooling rack.
Ingredients for 12 mushrooms scones:
– 300g mushrooms
– 2 spoons of oil
– 225g self-raising flour white
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 30g butter
– 1 egg
– 110 ml milk
– white pepper
– sesame seeds
Wash and cut the mushrooms in small pieces. Shallow fry them in a couple of spoons of oil until they loose all their moisture. Leave them to cool completely.
Preheat the oven at 200C or 180C fan. Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg and add the milk. Pour the egg on the dry ingredients and start mixing them. Add the mushrooms and the spices and mix. In a minute the dough should be ready. Roll the dough on a floured surface and cut the scones. Place them on a baking paper and brush them with oil. If you want them to have a darker colour, brush them with egg mixture. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes. When they are ready, remove them from the baking tray and leave them to cool on the cooling rack.
Ingredients for 12 vegetarian sausage and sundried tomatoes rolls:
– 4 vegetarian sausages
– 4 tsp of sundried tomato paste
– 1 pack of puff pastry
– egg white to brush the rolls
Grill or fry the sausages for a few minutes. Put them in the fridge to cool fast.
Flatten the pastry on the worktop and cut it in 4. Put the tomato paste and spread it with a knife. Put the sausage on a side and roll it. Put the big roll on a plate lined with baking paper. Repeat with the rest of the sausages. Put the plate with the big rolls in the freezer until the oven is heated.
Preheat the oven at 220C or 200C fan. When the oven is hot, take the rolls out of the freezer and cut them in 3 with a bread knife. Put the rolls on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush them with egg white and bake them for 12-15 minutes.
When they are ready, remove them from the baking tray and leave them to cool on a cooling rack.
Ingredients for 12 fruit tarts:
– 175g plain flour
– 75g cold butter
– 15g sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 dragon fruit
– 12 cocktail cherries
– 2 kiwis
– 150ml whipping cream
– 50g icing sugar
– 70g caster sugar
– 25g plain flour
– 2 egg yolks
– 250ml milk
– strawberry flavouring
Make the pastry the same way as for the quiche. After the pastry is blind baked for 10-12 minutes, remove the ceramic baking beans and put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes, at 180C or 160C fan. After the pastry casings are baked, leave them to cool.
Make the creme patisserie. In a bowl, whisk the 2 egg yolks with the caster sugar until is pale and fluffy. Add the sifted flour. Boil the milk and pour it over the eggs. Mix for 1 minute until the heat from the milk is transferred to the cream. Add the flavouring and pour the creme back into the pan on the hob. Keep on medium heat and stir continuously for 3-4 minutes. Make sure the cream does not catch the bottom of the pan. When the mixture has thicken it’s ready. Keep in mind that once it’s cool it will thicken more. Put the cream into a pipping bag and spread it on the pastry casings. Leave it to cool while you are preparing the fruits.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the creme patissiere. Put the fruits on top of the cream and the tarts are ready to be served.
Ingredients for Orange and Chocolate Cake:
– 1 orange
– 300g plain white flour
– 3 eggs
– 100g demerara sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 6 drops of orange flavouring
– 75g soften butter
– 100ml oil
– 3 tsp cocoa
– 50ml milk
– 250g full-fat mascarpone
– 150g icing sugar (for the cream)
– 100g plain chocolate
– 100ml double cream
– orange flavoured chocolate leave to decorate
Boil the whole orange for 30 minutes. It will become soft. Leave it to cool slightly and blitz it in the food processor.
Preheat the oven at 180C or 160C fan. Make the sponge by mixing with a hand mixer the flour, eggs, baking powder, demerara sugar, half of the orange, 25g of the butter, the oil, milk, orange flavouring and cocoa. Scoop the cake batter in a oiled baking tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to make sure the middle of the cake is baked. Leave the sponge for longer in the oven if it’s necessary. When the sponge is baked, take it out of the oven and leave it in the tin for a couple of minutes. Remove from tin and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Make the cream by mixing with the hand mixer the rest of the butter with the icing sugar and the mascarpone. When the cream is ready, add the rest of the orange and incorporate it with a spoon. Cut the sponge in half. Put cream on the first layer and spread it evenly with a knife. Put the second layer of the cake on top and cover it with cream.
The ganache to cover the cake is made by heating the double cream in a small saucepan. Bring the cream to boil, then take it off the heat and put the plain chocolate cut in small pieces. Stir continuously until all the chocolate melts into the cream and the ganache has a lovely smooth thick consistency.
Leave it to cool for a few minutes and pour it over the cake. Decorate the cake with chocolate leaves.