After the dramas of the previous episode, this week felt relatively calm. We had all originally been asked to prepare recipes for two different buns. However, after John’s injury the week before and the consequent decision to evict two people the following week, we were asked to drop one of the buns and double up on the quantity of our remaining recipe. This took a bit of pressure off enabling us to concentrate on one bake rather than juggling two in a very limited time (and you may have noticed that I went down to the wire on this one).
The brief for this week had been to offer buns inspired by a British favourite. I did a fair bit of research into regional varieties and was a little disappointed by what I found. Most buns were pretty plain and didn’t suggest obvious ways to enliven them. Perhaps that is why several of us went for Chelsea buns since they offered the most obvious route to innovation. I had been introduced to the delight of poppy seeds in baking by a Polish friend many years ago when I was living in Reading. Using them in a Chelsea bun seemed an obvious choice but it took several attempts to get the recipe right. The balance between dough and filling has to be precise and the seed mixture the right consistency or it will easily fall out as the bun is eaten. All very technical! Anyhow, it seemed to work on the day. This is one of the recipes that I created for the programme that has now become a regular part of my repertoire.
The showstopper challenge this week gave me the chance to indulge my taste for culinary theatre. Friends could offer horror stories of some of the creations I have come up with over the years for parties. These include the platter with a whole, cooked eel serpentining in the centre of a large platter, surrounded by piped mayonnaise, and tomato roses for where the eyes should be!. So, while viewers might have thought I was a bit over the top with my castle of stollen, in reality this was quite understated!
Danny was a well-deserved star baker this week. Her creations all tasted fantastic and demonstrated her immense skill and knowledge as a baker. On the other hand, it was sad to see Sarah-Jane and Ryan leave. We had all become quite tight as a group and were constantly in fits of laughter – often thanks to Sarah-Jane’s very naughty sense of humour!