Ten whole weeks has flown by. What will we all do with our Wednesday evenings now?
Baking along with the TV series has been both great fun and stressful. From the time my pastry fell apart, the nuts fell off my mokatines and my frangipane literally fell out the oven. I've also gotten over my fear of making pastry, kind of, and also brioche.
I'd have like to have made something more like a showstopper for my final bake. But then again, I'm pretty sure I've said that every week. Instead, for each challenge I've tried to work on things I've never made before as a good excuse to expand my repertoire.
And so, onto the final...
I chose to make iced buns a little differently. Regular iced buns remind me of the time someone once bought supermarket iced buns into the office. They were stale, lacking in jam and the lurid icing was too cloy. And just plain miserable.
I made brioche buns, stuffed them with morello cherry jam and frosted them with my favourite chocolate and amaretto ganache. For the brioche, I used a trusty Dan Lepard recipe and the filling recipe from my last bake for the frosting.
Unfortunately I didn't quite get enough jam in and the ganache was a little difficult to work with. I wanted it to cool slightly before frosting so as not to drip down the buns too much. But then it got too cool and too firm, and therefore a little lumpy once reheated slightly.
Here's a few pointers for brioche...
- ensure eggs and butter are at room temperature and dissolve the yeast into liquids at a warm to the touch temperature
- its best to use regular yeast, rather than a quick rising supermarket one, and the fresher the better
- be prepared to do a lot of mixing. For a long time you may think there's absolutely no way everything will come together to form a dough. Just keep adding small chunks of butter, bit by bit
- when the dough is ready and has come together perfectly, it'll cling onto the dough hook of your mixer and slap the sides of the bowl
- if kneading, the dough will feel sticky and loose. Persevere, otherwise adding more flour in will make the buns pretty tough
- butter helps to give brioche that nice rich flavour but also helps to shape the dough. If you need to shape the dough in some elaborate fashion, chill it for a good few hours to firm up the butter and it'll be more pliable
- the warmer your room, the quicker the dough will rise
- although, for optimum flavour, prove overnight in the fridge and leave to stand at room temperature for two hours before baking
- if you're making regular brioche and not frosting buns, brush the tops with egg yolk before baking for a super shiny top
And so that's it, my final Bake Off bake along recipe for the year!
Here's how I got on with the previous 9 weeks: