Well hellooooooo bakers! How are you? Excited?! Probably not by this point – unfortunately the feverish, maniacal excitement brought on by the Mills & Boon Author Party completely overtook the office last week. Leaving the office late on Friday, all of us staggering on our stilettos, in a daze of prosecco, glitter and hairspray, I remembered that I’d forgotten about Bake Off!
So! This (last?!) week it was batter, a new entry to the Bake Off repertoire. First up in the signature challenge was Yorkshire Puddings. A Yorkshire should come three ways: in a pub (and thus of indeterminate origin), frozen Aunt Bessie’s (my mum’s favourite), or my grandmother’s, which was prepared in a large deep tin, burnt for the first centimetre of crust and raw in a square inch in the middle.
All of these were glorious. Especially when served with lakes of gravy. If the Yorkshire wasn’t overflowing, it wasn’t done right.
I hope I have sufficiently convey my great love and respect for the traditional Yorkshire.
And yet! Behold! What is this I spy upon distant horizon yonder?!?!
Rav not only impugned and dishonoured the noble Yorkshire with TOFU, he added coconut milk. And lime.
Words fail me, dear readers.
If you’re going to attempt to improve upon perfection, Jane’s effort was my top choice. Roast beef, horseradish, and potato will always have my mouth watering, especially when stuffed inside a Yorkshire (genius). BUT: WHERE’S THE GRAVY?!
The general consensus was that while the Yorkshires were well filled and flavoured, the actual batter was almost impossible to bake well and consistently. Honestly, I think unless you are a pub, have teenage grandchildren or are called Aunt Bessie (and are possibly owned by a massive food manufacturer), Yorkshires are impossible to produce.
Second up, technical challenge! And pancakes. Yes, you heard me: pancakes. Lacy pancakes. I have much the same issue here as I had with last year’s crème brûlée. Is it really baking?! Paul’s explanation had Mary as baffled as me…
And then we had to witness Paul waving one around like a pair of Marks & Spencer knickers. Although, as Candice so kindly shared with all of us, she doesn’t own lace pants! So at least they couldn’t have been hers. Phew.
If anything, what this challenge really did was to test artistic talents. And contestant’s varying ideas of lacy. I think this might be one area where women do in fact have an advantage, as evidenced by Andrew and Benjamina’s respective efforts.
Anyway, Benjamina won this challenge! Although I have to say, it was not my favourite. When I want pancakes, I don’t want ones with holes in them. Just this, please. Lots and lots of THIS.
Deep fried batter. Pistachio. White chocolate. Milk choc dip. NOMMMMMM.
As throughout this episode, it all came down to judging. Batter is a thing of mystery and unpredictableness. And the judging was pretty brutal. Selasi accomplished both burning and rawness on the same plate, and Rav’s both looked bad (what with being green) and tasted bad. Kate’s bunny churros, undeniably, looked like they’d been run over.
Bright eyes, burning like fire…
Consequently, almost inevitably, it was Kate’s turn to leave. In the Mills & Boon office, she has been knocked a bit for her Girl Guide-ishness, but I loved her. She was very sweet, very mumsy, and quite cuddly in a cardigan wearing sort of way. She’s the sort of person you’d expect to see at parish council meetings or school fetes or charity bake sales. Honestly, I’ll miss her. Bye bye Kate!!
Written by Grace Thiele