I wasn't sure I'd have time to do the GBBO technical challenge this week as I had a big birthday cake to finish today, farm shop bakes to get done and delivered by 4 pm and we're off to the airport before the crack of dawn tomorrow... But there was just time! When I first heard the news about the Bake Off going to Channel 4 and Sue, Mel and Mary leaving I felt quite sad but I'm getting the feeling that they have started to lost the plot a little this series what with Batter week and now Tudor week so perhaps it has started to run its course. Better to stop on a high than to drag on forever with a tired format with more amd more bizarre bakes.
But that said, I'm still working my way through the technical challenges and this week it was... Jumbles! No, I hadn't heard of them either! A jumble describes the contents of my wardrobe or the meanderings of my brain... but not a biscuit as far as I'm concerned. I decided to forego Tudor baking methods and got out the food processor to speed things up.
I followed Paul Hollywood's recipe from the programme. These spicy biscuits are flavoured with caraway, aniseed and mace, none of which I had in the cupboard, so not being up for another supermarket dash, I substituted a teaspoon and a half of fennel seeds for the caraway and aniseed and some nutmeg for the mace as they are from the same seed and have a similar flavour.
The recipe wasn't very clear about the size of eggs to use and I instinctively felt that three large eggs (which was all I had) was probably too much. However I didn't trust my instincts, bunged in all the egg and ended up with a dough that was far too sticky. Off course, had I been mixing by hand and not using the food processor I might have found out before it was too late. Ah, the wisdom of hindsight!
But with a long rest in the fridge and a good dusting of flour the dough was just about manageable and various lumpy looking knots were made... and baked
Of course being very soft they lost definition during baking but had the required crispy exterior and soft interior... well if I'm honest the interior was rather doughy but the flavour was wonderful. I've never used fennel in a sweet bake before, generally only putting it in curries but it was lovely and aniseedy. After I finished my first one (yes, I had two) I decided they reminded me of the Farley's Rusks of my childhood... in the days when they still put sugar in baby food!
Now if you'll excuse me I really must go and pack for the weekend... after I've finished off making a batch of chilli jam that is... have a lovely weekend and I'll see you next week!
p.s. I forgot to mention that my Marjolaine got star baker last week so I'm feeling rather chuffed!