One thing we’ve become accustomed to while living in the US is binge-watching TV shows.   Grant and I have gone through all the episodes of shows such as House, Hawaii Five-O (in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Hawaii – yay!), NCIS and other drama series.  I also love watching shows such as Alton Brown’s Good Eats and other food shows (obviously!).  But the one show that we just hang out for new episodes to come onto Netflix is The Great British Baking Show.

This is a reality TV show where amateur cooks compete against each other, all with different technical challenges, signature bakes and show-stoppers.  I’ve learned so much about baking while watching this show – and I’m trying to improve my decorating as well!  We love this show because (a) it’s British and not American, so a totally different culture compared to where we currently live and (b) some of it reminds us of sweets and pastries we had growing up in Australia.  

Over the past few weeks, Abby and I have both tried to make recipes that we saw on the show.  Abby, as is her way, wanted to make choux buns religieuse.  Not just for the family, but for when we had guests for dinner as well.  For those of you (like me) who had no idea what these are, let me break it down for you:

  • Choux pastry – kind of like the eclair-type pastry
  • Creme patissiere – a fancy way of saying custard
  • Chocolate ganache – hopefully that’s self-explanatory
  • Whipped cream – ditto

Basically, make the pastry, inject it with the custard, dip in the ganache and assemble with the whipped cream.  They look like little ‘nuns’, or as we called them ‘penguins’.  Anyway, see what you think for the comparison – the actual recipe photo on the left, Abby’s on the right

I was impressed – and as they were full gluten and full dairy, I didn’t get to try any of them, but from the feedback from our guests, they were a winner!

For my effort, I tried to make an ice cream roll.  On the show they were tasked to make a dairy-free ice cream (which I had no problem with), a sponge cake and some jam and roll it all together.  There wasn’t just one recipe for this challenge as they could all make their own variety, so I did too.  I made a paleo sponge roll, made my own strawberry jam, some almond butter ice cream with blueberries inside and a chocolate frosting on top.  It definitely wasn’t as glamorous as those on the show were, but we definitely enjoyed it!

And then, because I wasn’t satisfied with just one recipe, I thought I’d try to make macaroons.  Not quite sure what the difference is between macaroons, with 2 ‘o’, and macaron, with 1 ‘o’ – maybe someone can enlighten me?  Anyway, the British cooks seem to use these on a regular basis, and they are naturally gluten-free, so I thought I’d give them a go.  With egg whites, sugar, powdered sugar and almond flour, I thought I’d have no problems.  Well, the texture and taste on mine were great – I made them into a mint macaroon with a chocolate filling – but they were a little bit flatter than I’d like.  Maybe next time I’ll pipe them into smaller rounds so they’ll rise more?  Any advice from experienced macaroon bakers would be greatly appreciated.  Again, the left photo is from the show, the right photo is from me.

Again, not too bad, all things considered!

Anyway, thanks for reading all my ramblings – just know that I’m not going to stop baking any time soon.  There’s so many more recipes I want to try!  And any suggestions you may have for me would be welcomed as well!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!

Sarah

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