On British TV at the moment is one of the most addictive reality shows – ‘The Great British Bake Off’. Each week a bunch of amateur bakers create ever more complex cakes, breads, biscuits, pies and desserts. And each week one poor soul is discarded because of a soggy-bottomed sponge or an ‘uneven bake’.
This show is popular – TV analysts told us that more men watched it than the European football on the ‘other channel’ one week. It’s proper hardcore-no-holds-barred stuff. The judges include Mary Berry, a British Institution, and Paul Hollywood, the smiling assassin. They take no prisoners.
A couple of weeks ago the contestants were handed the task of producing Chocolate Marshmallow Teacakes. Now this looked like fun. In fact so much fun I decided I had to give it a shot. Specifically because it required the use of this unusual looking piece of equipment:
So from the ridiculous to the sublime. After last week’s glorious cock up we decided to try something out that would give both culinary and visual pleasure. I’ve made millionaire’s shortbread before but haven’t actually made it with shortbread. Usually I just crush up biscuits for the base. But seeing how Conor recreated a risotto recipe recently I felt I could get away with a favourite ‘creation re-creation’ too.
Now there are only so many ways you can combine chocolate, fat, sugar and…more chocolate – and come up with something different. In the end it comes down to aesthetics – how nice can you make it look?
In the UK you can buy biscuits (things like ‘Digestives‘ that are as crunchy as hardboard and look like the kind of food they ate on ships in the 19th Century) and you can buy cookies – gooey, sugary and generally delicious. The ‘Fussy Eater’ decided he wanted to try making cookies so off we went and bought up a half-ton of chocolate.