On the Great Irish Bake Off last night us 7 remaining baker faced Chocolate week. Clever timing on the network’s end by releasing the Chocolate episode on national Chocolate week. This week was rather unpredictable for us bakers. Whereas the previous weeks have had a certain theme in baking, e.g. tarts or breads, this week’s theme week was rather ambiguous. Normally we would read up on recipes and practice bakes that fall under the theme. The problem here was you can pretty much have chocolate everything!
Our first challenge was to create our signature chocolate cake. Everyone loves a good chocolate cake and when you have 7 bakers at the top of their game making their favourite one I knew I would have to make something special. To be fair I will admit that this cake was not a cake I would often make (it is now though!) at the time of filming. The thing was-it was a competition and we had already had a cake week and our tech challenge last week was again a cake. So I knew nothing less than spectacular would impress the judges.
I went for a Dark and White chocolate layer cake with Baileys and Raspberries. I wanted to up my game by using Joconde paste to make a design on the cake. It’s not actually very difficult to do this at all but it looks highly impressive! Overall the judges seemed to like all of our cakes, maybe a few criticisms here and there. But it was behind the scenes post judging that we saw what they really though and apparently they weren’t too impressed?! This was a little confusing even for us.
But this week the Technical challenge really pulled out all of the stops! The full title of the challenge read as follows:
‘Trio of Chocolate Bavarois with Cookie crumble, Orange and Mango Jelly accompanied by Tuile biscuits and Quenelles of fresh cream’
There’s a mouthful for you! As our faces said we were all thrown completely by this. I remember just thinking right let’s just get on with it. In my haste I managed to curdle my first batch of sauce anglaise…woops. But all was not lost and I soon caught up again, although time really wasn’t on my side at all. I remember being extremely pushed in this one. To understand the gravity of this challenge better for yourself here’s the recipe!
*The quantities here will make much more than 3 Chocolate Bavarois*
You will need:
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Trio of Bavarois:
125g dark chocolate
125g milk chocolate
125g white chocolate
5 gelatine leaves
1 litre cream
Oreo cookie crumble:
160g plain flour
55g cocoa powder
1g baking powder
150g butter, softened
Mango and bitter orange jelly:
100g mango puree
50g bitter orange puree
10g agar agar (or 1 leaf of gelatine dissolved in water. Remember this will mean it won’t set a room temperature)
100g egg whites
115g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder
55g butter, melted
Cocoa nibs to sprinkle
How to do it:
- First make the sauce anglaise by putting the milk, cream and seeds from the vanilla pod into a pan. Once the seeds are scraped add in the stalk too, there’s loads of flavour in it. Bring to the boil, meanwhile put the yolks and sugar into a large heat proof bowl. Whisk into thick and pale. Pour 1/3 of the boiled milk into the yolk mix whilst stirring, then pour it back into the pan. Cook over a medium-high heat whilst stirring continuously until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and a line drawn through it stays in place.
- Follow these next steps for each of the chocolate layers. Soften the gelatine leaves in the separate water. The dark choc layer will need 1 leaf and the milk and white choc layers will need 2 leaves each. Measure out 75g of the sauce anglaise.
Whilst still hot whisk in the gelatine leaves.
- Weigh out the chocolates a bowl and melt. Add the sauce anglaise and gelatine mix to chocolate and stir into completely smooth.
Semi-whip 250ml of the cream. Whisk in the chocolate mixture until evenly mixed. Pour this first chocolate layer into a dessert glass or cocktail glass (you could even pour it into a large dessert dish if you want to have your Bavarois as one dish).
Tap on the surface a few times to remove any air pockets and to send all the mix to the bottom of the glass.
Set in the fridge.
- Repeat the above process for the other two layers remembering to use 2 leaves of gelatine each.
- For the Oreo cookie crumble place all ingredients into a bowl and rub together using your fingers until breadcrumb like consistency. Spread over a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180°/160°C fan.
- For the Mango and Bitter Orange jelly place all ingredients into a pan and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to bubble. Spread over a baking tray lined with baking parchment and leave to set in the fridge.
- For the Tuile place the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk only very briefly. Sift in the icing sugar, flour and cocoa powder and whisk into the egg whites until you have a thick paste. Whisk in the melted butter. You can leave this to set a little in the fridge to make it easier to spread. Take about 1 tbsp of the mix and place onto a large baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Spread out each dollop very thinly and sprinkle over the cocoa nibs.
Bake in the oven at 180°C/160°C fan for 5 minutes. When they’re ready work quickly to slide off the tray and drape over a rolling pin to set.
They will harden very quickly! If one hardens on the tray before you remove it you can place it back into the oven for a minute to soften again.
- To assemble all these elements take the Bavarois from the fridge. Cut the jelly into cubes and scatter over the top.
Repeat this with the Oreo cookie crumble.
Whip the remaining cream and use two hot spoons to make Quenelles of cream. Curve the spoons over the cream numerous times to create a rugby ball shape. This is quite difficult to perfect. Place the Tuile biscuits onto the serving board, the cream on top and garnish with a raspberry.
Easy right? Well at home maybe without the pressure of the cameras, time, judges and the tent!
The chocolate Bavarois on its own is simply divine and it could be served as a dessert itself without the other elements if you like. The jelly and the cookie crumble do however compliment the sweetness of the chocolate. There were a few complaints that this challenge wasn’t strictly baking but rather cooking. Well I have to disagree. Yes the only thing we baked was the Tuile biscuits (which many of us managed to mess up myself included!) but the other elements such as the sauce anglaise are all part of the baking maybe or more towards patisserie spectrum. It also tested our consistency and if we could make a whole range of different elements the same.
The Queen of chocolate Aoife deserved it this week. Yeah she made a few mistakes and had to start a few again but she pulled it off in the end. Whereas many other bakers would throw in the towel and give up or not recognise their mistakes she calmly pursued. As Paul said this is what make a good baker great. I also think how the show was edited tonight was rather confusing as to who was doing well and not so well, but trust me Aoife was amazing this week! That signature chocolate cake of hers-good God take me back to that day. Check out her blog here.
And Jareck…oh Jareck how I will miss him. Him and myself were really good mates by this point in the completion so it hit me hard saying goodbye to him. He was the first finalist I actually met during the whole audition process. Jareck-miss you, love you!
Thanks for reading and watching. Now next week is Patisserie!
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