The Great British Bake Off changed up it’s episode theming again for week eight with chocolate based challenges. This week was also the semi finals, which meant all of the bakers were fighting for a place in the final. The first signature challenge was to make a chocolate tart, using chocolate pastry and chocolate filling. Basically a full on chocolate fest, or as Sue called it ‘cocoa loco’! Paul said that there was no room for error this week if they wanted to get through to the finals, and Mary explained that although this challenge sounded simple, she was expecting an immaculate result.
Ian made a chocolate and bay leaf infused salted caramel tart, it had a beautiful shiny glaze that really impressed the judges (and made Flora jealous!) They weren’t big fans of his flavours though, and didn’t appreciate his addition of bay leaf. Flora included a passion fruit curd and milk chocolate mousse in her chocolate tart which she topped with macarons. She didn’t get a good shine on her glaze, but decorated it beautifully. Unfortunately her passion fruit curd had split and Paul said her macarons were ‘not good’ as they were overbaked and dry.
Nadiya’s tart combined a layer of salted caramel, a layer of chocolate mousse, some homemade peanut butter and chocolate truffles. She was the only baker to make a rectangular tart, and she certainly impressed the judges. Paul Hollywood gave her his famously rare handshake! Tamal made an American themed chocolate tart with raspberry coulis and a pecan praline. The judges praised his thin pastry, and they loved the contrast between the chocolate and raspberry.
For the technical challenge this week we had something entirely different happen. The bakers start times were staggered as they had to make a chocolate souffle, which have to be served straight out of the oven. This is a really difficult challenge as the bakers had to perfectly make a chocolate creme patt and meringue at the same time, then mix the two together. Also the recipe just said ‘make a meringue’ and ‘make a creme patt’… helpful as always!
Flora got stuck in straight away, but Ian struggled to remember how to make a creme patt. Tamal and Nadiya had never made a souffle either, but got on with the challenge. Once each souffle was ready, Sue took it over to Paul and Mary who were sat at the front of the tent with their backs to the bakers. Nadiya came last as she had too many lumps of unmixed meringue in her souffle, Ian came third as his souffle didn’t rise very well, and Tamal came second as his rose well but there were some smaller lumps of unmixed meringue. Flora won the challenge as she had a great rise to her souffle and the texture was lovely according to Mary.
The chocolate finale showstopper was to create a 3D chocolate centrepiece, which must include biscuits and white chocolate. The judges were looking for attention to detail, and a spectacular finish. Tamal made a 3 tiered bell tower with 3 different types of biscuit. Mary thought it looked impressive from afar, but not as much close up. Paul noticed that some of the detail had been rushed and wasn’t as neat as it could have been. Thankfully they enjoyed the flavours of the biscuits and chocolate.
Flora went for a cocoa carousel, which included shortbread, a puffed rice roof, and a chocolate cake base. She also made a horse shaped biscuit mould herself for the carousel horses! None of her chocolate had a glossy shine, and the whole carousel was a bit wonky. The judges like most of her flavours, but noticed that there was too much raising agent in her cake and that her puffed rice was quite bitter.
Nadiya sculpted a peacock from marshmallow puffed rice and modelling chocolate, with biscuit peacock eggs in a chocolate nest. Paul and Mary thought it looked beautiful, was very detailed and they called it a work of art. They said it tasted good too. Ian chose to make a chocolate well, which actually worked and brought up a white chocolate drink from the bottom of the well. It was extremely clever from a engineering point of view, and the judges thought it was very original with a contemporary style. They really enjoyed his biscuits and flavour, but wanted to see more detail and examples of his chocolate work.
Flora left this week as her tart and showstopper both had issues. Nadiya won the star baker accolade – her third time. The next episode is the final!
As much as I love chocolate, I’m not a huge fan of having both chocolate pastry and a chocolate filling, it’s too overpowering for me. So I decided to theme my tart on millionaire’s shortbread and make a plain shortcrust pastry with caramel and chocolate fillings. I also gave home made honeycomb a go for the first time!
I started with the honeycomb. In a pan I melted 200g caster sugar and 125g golden syrup on a low heat until the sugar was no longer grainy. I turned up the heat and let it bubble for a few minutes.
I took it off the heat and stirred in 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. It will bubble and froth a lot!
I poured it straight into a lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and left it to cool.
When it was set I took it out of the tin. This was my first time making honeycomb and I think I’ve gone wrong somewhere as it was a bit softer than I was expecting. If you have any tips, let me know!
I still managed to smash it up into pieces and it tasted really good!
I always make my shortcrust pastry from scratch because I have a go-to recipe that always works for me and it’s so quick to make at home, unlike a lot of other pastries. I started by rubbing 170g butter into 350g plain flour.
I added 2 eggs and brought the mixture together into a pastry dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it for 30 minutes in the fridge.
I rolled the pastry out onto cling film, this makes it so much easier to lift over the tin.
I lined my 28cm tart tin with the pastry and pricked the bottom all over with a fork.
I covered the pastry with baking paper then added baking beans. I baked the pastry on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.
I removed the paper and beans and baked again at the same temperature for 10 minutes until it was golden brown and the bottom was fully cooked through.
I was a bit lazy and used a ready made caramel, Carnation Caramel, to cover the bottom of the tart. I’ve made my own caramel before with success, so I felt ok with doing this!
To make the chocolate filling I heated up 250ml double cream on a medium heat, when it started to bubble I took it off the heat and tipped 255g dark chocolate into the pan. I left it for a couple of minutes then stirred it in.
In a separate bowl I whisked up 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt.
I whisked the egg mixture into the chocolate bit by bit.
I poured the chocolate mixture into the tart tin over the caramel.
I baked the tart on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. I put it on a rack to cool fully.
To make the glaze I heated up 2 tbsp double cream, when it bubbled I took it off the heat and added 50g dark chocolate. I mixed the chocolate in along with 1 tsp (7g) golden syrup and 1 tbsp warm water.
I poured the glaze over the chocolate filling and smooth it over the whole tart with a spatula. Finally I added crumbled up honeycomb all around the edge of the tart.
I was really pleased with how shiny my glaze was! It really gave the tart a professional finish. This tart disappeared SO fast when I took it into work, it was all gone by 10:30am! That’s what I like to see. The chocolate filling was so smooth and rich, I was really pleased I stuck to plain pastry as chocolate pastry would’ve been too overpowering. The honeycomb was really good too, ever though it went a bit chewy, it tasted really nice.
I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.
Honeycomb recipe from BBC Good Food, chocolate filling and glaze recipe from Epicurious.
Millionaire's Chocolate Tart
+ 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda
Carnation Caramel (397g)
+ 2 tbsp
To make the honeycomb melt the caster sugar and the golden syrup in a pan on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and let it boil to 300F/149CTake it off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda
Pour it into a lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and leave it to cool. Put it aside to set, once set, smash into pieces
For the pastry, rub the butter and plain flour together. Add 2 of the eggs and bring the mixture together into a ball. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
Roll the pastry out onto cling film. Line a 28cm tart tin with the pastry and prick the bottom all over with a fork
Cover the pastry with baking paper then add baking beans. Bake the pastry on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes
Remove the paper and beans and bake again at the same temperature for 10 minutes until golden brown and the bottom is fully cooked through
Spread the Carnation Caramel over the bottom of the tart
To make the chocolate filling, heat up the 250ml of double cream on a medium heat, when it starts to bubble, take it off the heat and tip 225g of the dark chocolate into the pan. Leave it for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir together
In a bowl whisk up 2 of the eggs, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk the mixture into the chocolate a little at a time
Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart tin over the caramel. Bake the tart on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. Put it on a rack to cool fully
To make the glaze, heat up the 2 tbsp double cream, when it bubbles take off the heat and add 50g of the dark chocolate. Then mix in the 1 tsp golden syrup and warm water
Pour the glaze over the chocolate filling and smooth it over the with a spatula. Finally add the crumbled up honeycomb all around the edge of the tart