Tuesday 11 October 2016

Marjolaine (GBBO Technical Challenge)

Bit of a step up in the technical challenges with this one. Also, is it really a cake? Apparently so, though it stretches my definition certainly. Whatever you call it, it's heavy on the sugar, and generated a lot of washing-up as you go through saucepans and bowls for all the elements.

I did this one to a full recipe, and timed myself, as there were a number of things I'd not done before (or not done successfully at least), including the french buttercream (which uses a hot sugar syrup added to egg yolks). Last time I did this I ended up with a yellow ball of sugar, however a new temperature probe has helped resolve that. The slowest item is definitely the meringue slabs, which took an hour to cook, and almost as long to cool. There is a lot of "make hot, prepare cold" stuff going on here, so there is a lot of cooling involved, which means you end up with lots of bowls sitting round waiting to cool down.

I'm not going to do the full recipe here...it's very long, with a lot of elements, and the BBC have already done a sterling job of writing it up. I had no real issue points...just make sure you work through the elements, and give yourself plenty of cooling down time...

Tricks to get stuff cool quicker;
1) When you're roasting off the blitzed nuts, as soon as they are out of the oven transfer them to a cold baking tray. I also put this on a cold surface (and moved it around) to get more heat out of it ASAP.

2) The ganache went into the fridge once all the chocolate was melted

3) The praline was also placed on cold baking trays/surfaces. As soon as it was firm, I perched it on end so that both sides could radiate off heat. I do wonder why you make a praline by adding in nuts, then as soon as it's cool destroy it in a food processor. Why not just make a caramel sheet, then blitz it with some nuts?

4) When I had the meringues in the oven, they wouldn't quite fit on the same shelf. Rather than have them on separate shelves, I put a small baking tin in upside down next to the first one, and was able to fit them both in very close to the same height by putting the second tin on top. As meringue doesn't rise, this was OK to do, but I wouldn't risk it with a sponge!

5) You want 3 saucepans ready at least (1 for cream, one for caramel, and one for sugar syrup). For the last 2, they take a while to clean, so you're better off soaking them.

6) Once an filling was done (ganache, buttercream) I made sure it was in a bowl ready for the prep phase.