Ahh retro week... think pav's, think Melting Moments, think red skins and toffee apples... then think disaster!
I think this week I had just about every equipment failure you can imagine... so let's start....
Signature - the Swiss Roll! After test baking a few recipes I found one that was superb. So soft and rolled perfectly, even cold. None of this wet towel, roll hot stuff required.
So how exciting is a swiss roll? It's a log. You can make a decal pattern the outside, but it's still a log.... so how to push the envelope in what is now becoming typical Monica fashion? Turn the log upright!!!
Boy, did Maggie and Matt struggle with this concept. And even once they understood it, they didn't like it one bit. Even when it came time to cut into it, Matt was convinced there would be no perfect rounds - and guess what... I was one of only a couple of bakers that achieved the perfect "O" inside and out
The flavour combo was a challenge as well as Maggie traditionally doesn't like chai - thankfully my recipe is subtle enough that with the ginger cream and apple jam that is just singed. And with the softness of that sponge yummy!!
Challenges? I pipped the perfect decal but sadly the baking paper we had wasn't really baking paper but grease proof paper, so the pattern stuck to the sponge, so I had to rebake, meaning I rushed the decal pipping the second time. So it wasn't as pretty and as thin but rather thick - a little chewy as it was too thick....such a pity.
This meant I lost time and didn't get to make my little toffeed apples on top... bugger!
Was I feeling nervous after judging as they really struggled with the upright version of the classic...yet again I went too far with the brief for them.
Technical challenge, the Neenish tart... not the usual way to make butter cream as as some of the bakers where turfing their first attempts and trying again, I persevered and it came together so I encouraged everyone to stick with it and it worked well for everyone. Mine were a little small. Came in third this time. But it was ok - so feeling middle of the road by this stage.
Now the showstopper..... Flamming Pumpkins was my theme! This was a layer of pumpkin pie and rum ice cream, with a layer of hazelnut and Frangelico ice cream, on a bed of pumpkin cake syruped in dark Rum, covered in meringue pipped like a pumpkin and decorated like a pumpkin carriage and set on fire with dark rum.....
Made it at home and it set in 90 minutes in my freezer, using the same moulds I did on the show with the alcohol in it. On the show? despite being the first to get my ice cream into the freezer and a last minute decision to leave the booze out of it "just in case", it didn't set. The freezers despite being stuffed with extra ice weren't up to the challenge. Where were the blast chillers!!! When I went to check on the both moulds at the 3 hour mark I was met by a tidal wave of melted ice as I opened the door that soaked my shoes... panic!!!
Antonio, the smart little cookie, had ordered dry ice and I asked if I could borrow a little to at least get my pumpkin ice cream set. It worked just in time. I had to pipe extra meringue around it to keep it together. At the finish line.. it was complete. And just as we were at "Times up" the hazelnut ice cream had set in the freezer (too late!! but the crew ate it all and I was told it was delicious).
By the time we did the food porn shots, despite the bomb Alaska's being in the freezers from times up to shots, it was already melting and falling apart... back into the freezer for another hour before judging... and out it came... collapsed... my heart sank as my beautiful masterpiece was a soupy mess.
What made me feel a little better was they sympathy from Matt and Maggie. Matt said it was such as pity as it would have been a real show stopper - I had little fondant pumpkins around, it looked like a disney princess carriage with meringue wheels, leaves and details... Both agreeing, it tasted great and would have been amazing .. blast chillers people!!!!
By the skin of my teeth I survived this episode me thinks....I can honestly say this was my most crushing bake of the season as the potential was awesome
Recipes available here:
Lots of love this week, from Monica <3
James and I, taking a breather between food porn shots!