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Our First Baking Weekend

What's the greatest test on a new friendship of two very anxious people? Making difficult, time consuming recipes from GBBO. Before we even knew we wanted to start a podcast Jacqueline had the brilliant idea that we should have a baking day and because we were obsessed with Michael and Henry we clearly had to make their recipes and tag them in them... spoiler alert they did not see them and still do not know that we exist, but we and our friendship survived and we had a pretty good time doing it.



HENRY’S APPLE & CINNAMON STREUSEL CAKE


INGREDIENTS

For the sponge:

  • 4 jazz apples, peeled, cored and cut into 5mm dice

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 380g self-raising flour

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • ½ tsp ground cloves

  • 100g golden caster sugar

  • 125g light muscovado sugar

  • 125g dark muscovado sugar

  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste

  • 3 eggs

  • 280ml vegetable oil

  • 140g set natural yogurt

  • 200g pecans, roughly chopped


For the streusel topping:

  • 25g light muscovado sugar

  • 25g golden caster sugar

  • 20g plain flour

  • 20g unsalted butter, chilled

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • pinch of ground ginger

  • 30g pecans, finely chopped


For the dried apple slices:

  • 3 jazz apples

  • juice of ½ lemon

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar


For the caramel drizzle:

  • 100g light muscovado sugar

  • 20g unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp sea-salt flakes

  • 50ml double cream

  • 25g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to decorate (optional)


EQUIPMENT

You will need:

  • 23cm 1.75–2-litre bundt tin, well greased

  • Baking sheet lined with baking paper

  • Mandolin (optional)

METHOD

  1. Make the sponge. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3. Toss the apple pieces in the lemon juice and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugars, vanilla, eggs, oil and yogurt. Slowly beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir in the apples and the pecans.

  2. Spoon the mixture into the tin, and bake for about 65–75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  3. For the streusel topping, place both sugars, flour, butter and spices in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the pecans, then spread the mixture out on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool, then crumble it up and set aside.

  4. For the dried apple slices, reduce the oven temperature to 120°C/100°C fan/Gas ½. Very thinly slice the apples (with a mandolin if you have one) and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice and turn to coat (this will stop them from browning). Pat the apple slices dry with kitchen paper, then place them on the prepared baking sheet, dust them with the cinnamon and sugar and bake for about 40 minutes, until the edges curl up and they are slightly browned. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

  5. Meanwhile, make the salted caramel drizzle. Heat together the sugar, butter, salt and cream in a small pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, cook for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Beat in the icing sugar, then drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake, allowing it to flow down the grooves.

  6. Scatter over the streusel topping, then arrange the dried apple slices overlapping in a ring on top of the bundt. Dust with icing sugar to decorate, if you wish.

MICHAEL’S LEMON & ROSEMARY BISCUIT BARS


INGREDIENTS

For the shortbread:

  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary needles

  • 60g caster sugar

  • finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

  • 60g plain flour

  • 60g self-raising flour

  • 115g unsalted butter

  • 50g cornflour

  • For the lemon curd:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 100g caster sugar

  • juice and finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

  • 60g unsalted butter, diced

For the shells:

  • 450g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces

  • For the meringue marshmallow:

  • 2 platinum-grade gelatine leaves

  • 85g egg white

  • 150g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the egg white

  • 1 tsp glucose

  • 1 tsp Sicilian lemon extract

To decorate:

  • 50g icing sugar

  • 1 tbsp gin

  • 12 rosemary sprigs


EQUIPMENT

You will need:

  • 2 baking trays lined with baking paper

  • sugar thermometer

  • 8 x 3.5cm bar moulds x 12

  • large piping bag fitted with medium round piping nozzle

  • medium piping bag fitted with a small round piping nozzle


METHOD

  1. Put the rosemary in a medium bowl along with the sugar, lemon zest and both flours. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Pour it gradually into the bowl, using a wooden spoon to mix everything together to a firm dough. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disc and wrap in cling film. Chill while you make the curd.

  2. Place the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Pour the curd into a lined baking tray and chill until thick and spreadable.

  3. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface to a rough rectangle about 6mm thick. Using a sharp knife, cut out 12 rectangles, each measuring 8 x 3.5cm. Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray and bake for 12–15 minutes, until the edges are turning golden. Remove from the heat, trim the edges to fit the moulds and leave on the tray to cool completely.

  4. Temper the chocolate for the shells. Melt 350g of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water until it reaches 55°C/131°F on the sugar thermometer. Remove one third of the melted chocolate to a separate bowl, and put the remaining 100g solid chocolate into the remainder over the pan of water. Stir it in and cool the chocolate to 28°C/82°F, then add back in the small amount of melted chocolate and mix until the chocolate reaches 30°C/86°F. Remove from the heat and, using the pastry brush, use the tempered chocolate to coat the insides of the 12 bar moulds, then chill to set.

  5. Make the marshmallow. Pour 4 tablespoons of water into a shallow bowl, add the gelatine leaves and leave to soften for 5 minutes. Put the egg white and the 1 tablespoon sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk.

  6. Place the 150g of sugar, along with the glucose and 35ml of water in a medium pan over a medium heat. When the sugar reaches about 116°C/241°F on the thermometer, begin whisking the egg whites to soft peaks. Keep an eye on the temperature of the sugar and when it reaches 120°C/248°F, remove the sugar immediately from the heat.

  7. Squeeze out the gelatine and add to the pan with the melted sugar. Immediately pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl into the egg whites, whisking for about 6 minutes, or until the meringue is thick and glossy and forms stiff peaks. Add the lemon extract, then transfer the mixture to the piping bag fitted with the medium round nozzle. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, or until thick enough to pipe and hold its shape. Then, pipe a 1cm layer of marshmallow into the base of the moulds and leave to set. (You will have lots of marshmallow left over – see the tip below for how to use it.)

  8. Spread a little lemon curd over the marshmallow, then press a biscuit on top of each. Try to make the biscuits level with the top of the mould.

  9. Spoon the remaining tempered chocolate (you may need to re-melt it) over the top of the mould tray to cover the biscuits, then scrape off the excess with a palette knife, evening out the tops to complete the chocolate shells. Chill for 1–2 hours, until set, and turn the bars out of the moulds.

  10. To decorate, mix together the icing sugar and gin to a thick, piping consistency. Spoon the icing into the piping bag fitted with the small round nozzle and pipe diagonal lines over the corner of each bar. Decorate with a sprig of rosemary to finish.


Tip: To use up the leftover marshmallow, dust a 20cm square shallow cake tin with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Pour the remaining marshmallow on top, then dust with another 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Leave to set, then cut into squares and serve as sweets.





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