Baking has become so intense of late that I've actually started marking the passing of time by what comes out of the oven each week. It's been nearly two months. I can't believe it! The Madeira and biscotti of late August seem like distant memories. How simple they seemed in comparison to the pastry nightmares of last week?!
Chocolate week was excellent. I for one would happily winch melted chocolate up from a well - most likely straight into my mouth. At this stage, I wouldn't be surprised if the judges asked for a full-scale Hansel & Gretel house. Nadiya's peacock was a delight. I did consider doing a smaller chocolate pigeon, but I fear it wouldn't be anywhere near as attractive, especially going by the looks of the ones in central London.
I've avoided anything involving creme patisserie for a long time now, so took the plunge and baked Mary Berry's Hot Chocolate Souffles. I promise you they rose a lot higher than this, but as soon as I started to snap away with my camera they began to sink. No matter, because they tasted pretty good! Light and airy but nicely indulgent. The recipe is for one large souffle, but I split it into 8 ramekins and baked them for 18 minutes.
// Bake the souffles for 3 minutes less than the recipe states. Usually cakes and bread are better overdone than under, but these are an exception. My souffles were mousse-like in the middle but they could have done with being a little gooier!
// Whisk like the wind when you thicken your creme patisserie on the hob. Don't let it curdle!
// Sprinkle some icing sugar on top for a classy look, or if you're like me, sprinkle gold edible stardust on top. There are two types of people.
Last year I didn't manage to bake anything from the final because I was moving house, had no equipment and was also freaked out by the scale of the challenge! I am determined to do it this year, despite moving again and having a new oven to contend with. I can't wait to see what everyone produces!
I am, as ever, Team Nadiya to win. She's got such an infectious personality and her passion constantly shines through. Also that little smear of flour on her cheek throughout last week's episode was adorable!
What's your favourite chocolate recipe to bake? Mine has to be these Beetroot and Avocado Brownies.
Catch up on all my Great British Bake Off posts here, and don't forget to follow the #BakeOffBakeAlong hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see how everyone is doing.
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