Even though it has been three years since I filmed the Bake Off, the memories of recipe development still haunt me to this day.
Late nights spent trying to reinvent classic cakes in new ways or at least in a different enough manner that they didn’t befoul the stringent checks of the Bake Off development team!
Due to the amount of times they were practiced, and the thrashing they received from the judges when filming, I haven’t really revisited any of the recipes since the show finished. That has recently got me thinking though.
If I were to apply for the show today, with three more years of experience (and a full year training as a pastry chef) what would I do different? I like to think I wouldn’t make the same cock-ups the second time around (although I probably would make all new cock-ups)!
It is only with experience that I now realize how much I fell on my own sword whilst trying to be a clever bugger during filming. In an attempt to make something no one had seen before, I forgot that people (especially Mary Berry) enjoy the classics for a reason!
So this is going to be the first of a ‘Bake Off Revisited’ series I am going to add to over the next few months. Some things may end up being simple re-creations of things I would have done on the show, but didn’t get the chance to show, whilst other recipes will be re-invented from the ground up.
I will start this off by re-creating the very first recipe I had a chance to make on the show. The decorated Swiss Roll challenge!
Now I utterly loved my original version of this recipe, that had a far simpler Crème Patisserie filling then the recipe below. After sitting under warm studio lights for a couple of hours though, mine had gone a little soggy on the day of filming.
The great man himself, Paul Hollywood said that he would swap out the filling for a Italian Meringue as this wouldn’t have the same issues. I tried that after filming and, although he was correct about the soggy factor, it did lose the custard flavor I was looking for.
This is my attempt and creating a recipe to please all. The patisserie has been swapped out for a Crème Chiboust which, although a lot more complicated to make, does create a cross-breed of custard and meringue that seems to hit all the right notes.
Homemade marzipan give a wonderful almond flavor to the roll which is teamed with fresh strawberries to create a take on a Fraisier Cake. A classic cake by anyone’s standards!
In all honesty, I think my pattern on the show was better than the pattern on my roll here but then the freezers (an important part of this recipe) were far better on the show then in my home!
Decorated Swiss Rolls are a really fun bake so I highly advise you give this a shot, even if you choose not to go for my completely over-the-top filling. Jam and cream would work equally as well!
For the decorative paste:
1 medium egg white
40g plain flour
30g soft butter
For the Swiss roll
4 large free range eggs
120g caster sugar
120g plain flour
For the marzipan
90g caster sugar
140 icing sugar
225g ground almonds
1/2tsp vanilla paste
1 beaten free range egg
For the crème chiboust
1 egg white
125g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
10g plain flour
250ml full fat milk
Strawberry Jam – to serve
Pre-heat your oven to 180c
Start by making the decorative paste for the swiss roll. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly, making sure the butter is well incorporated. Separate the mix and colour as required before placing into piping bags.
Line a 12” baking tray with good quality non-stick paper before piping your pattern using your decorative paste. If you wish to do several layers (like the seeds in the strawberries) then place the baking tray into the freezer between layers to set. Once your pattern is complete then place the baking tray into the freezer for 15mins, until your pattern freezes.
Make your swiss roll batter by first placing the eggs and sugar into a bowl of a large stand mixer and mixing on high for 10mins. The mixture will become very thick during this time. Gently sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold together. Make sure all the flour is incorporated as it has a tendency to drop to the bottom of the bowl.
Gently pour the batter over your frozen design before gently smoothing flat with a pallet knife. Place into the oven for 10mins before removing, turning out onto a clean piece of baking paper and then removing the paper that is stuck to the bottom of the cake.
Place another clean sheet of paper over the top of your design (sandwiching the cake between two bits of paper) before turning upside down, so your pattern is face down, then rolling tight. Do this all whilst the cake is fresh out the oven and still very hot as this will help your roll your cake later and will prevent cracks and splits. Leave to cool completely.
Make your marzipan by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl before slowly adding the egg and mixing to combine. Kneed together for a short while until a firm dough is formed, you may need to add a little extra sugar if your dough is too wet. Cover and place into the fridge until needed.
To make the crème chiboust first create an Italian meringue by placing the 125g of sugar with 100ml water into a small saucepan over a medium heat and, using a sugar thermometer, heating to 122c. When almost to temperature, whisk the single egg white until stiff then slowly pour over the sugar syrup whilst continuously mixing until the meringue turns cool. Cover and place to the side until needed.
Make a crème patisserie by first adding the egg yolks, cornflour, plain flour and remaining sugar into a large bowl and stirring to combine. Heat the milk until boiling then slowly pour over the egg/flour/sugar mixture whilst whisking. Pour the mix back into the saucepan and heat gently until the mixture thickens. Pour into a bowl, cover with Clingfilm directly then place into the fridge to cool.
Once your crème patisserie has cooled, gently fold together with the meringue until fully combined. Store in the fridge until needed.
To assemble, roll out a piece of marzipan to 2/3rds the size of your swiss roll. Brush the marzipan with a little strawberry jam before gently laying intop of your gently un-rolled swiss roll.
Spoon or pipe the crème chiboust on to the marzipan before rolling your swiss roll back together. Cut both ends to tidy them up before serving.
This will last a day if kept ion the fridge but is recommended to eat in one sitting otherwise it may go a little soggy.