October 9, 2019 10:23 am Leave your thoughts
Olá! It’s Festival Week! But what kind of festival? Samba and circuses, parades and parties, maracas and marching bands? Or something a little more…British? A Book Festival (Henry has been to one of those)? A Harvest Festival (ditto)? A Scarecrow Festival? A Flower Festival?
Proving that Brits do know how to party – though perhaps in more of an egg-sandwich-in-a-marquee than a caipirinha-fuelled-fortnight-of-excess kind of way – the contestants embark on a kaleidoscope of celebratory challenges.
First up, buns!
The challenge is to produce 24 ‘yeasted festival buns’, which in this country, pretty much means Hot Cross Buns. Alice sticks lemons, blueberries and almonds in hers; Michael, like a Renaissance painter, produces a Christmas-Easter splice, with Figgy Pudding-Inspired Hot Cross Buns.
Second prize (never a winner) for best word used in a recipe goes to David, with his Kozunak plaits. First prize for Henry, for his kardemummabullar, a Swedish word that sounds like a tray of Hot Cross Buns being dropped down a flight of stairs.
So who’s got the best buns?
David’s are ‘springy’ and ‘impressive’ (many people on Twitter agree). Michael’s, however, are ‘mis-shapen’ and ‘a little tough’ (some people like that). Alice’s are not as shiny as Paul had hoped, but Rosie’s are ‘perfectly pleasant’.
Steph’s earn her a sticky, sugar-glazed handshake from Paul. But Henry is having none of it. ‘Shut up!’ he shouts in panic at the outstretched Hollywood hand. No good Talking to the Hand, Henry. Shake and move on.
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One a penny, two a penny?
Inspired to make your very own Hot Cross Buns? We’ve got a recipe for those here, adapted from an original by Delia Smith, a woman determined, one day, to headline at Glastonbury. It’s fail-safe, fruity and fit for a fiesta. Make sure you use the best dried fruit you can, to be worthy of a handshake yourself.
Twirling their batons ever higher, the contestants reach The Technical Challenge. For this, the judges want some Sicilian carnival cascarelli buns, stuffed with ricotta, chocolate and orange and then deep-fried. Weird, maybe, but they’re in the party mood.
There’s a lot of bluff about crimping and air pockets, but in reality, the trickiest bit is operating the pasta machine.
‘I need three hands!’ wails Henry (an organist who can handle three keyboards, two pedals, one vicar, 16 choristers and 48 stop knobs at once).
Alice, meanwhile, needs a rest. She’s spent the week marking 180 geography exams and is Not In The Mood for Noel’s banter. ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy our chats?’, he asks. ‘11’, she snaps back. Let’s hope she’s not using a numerical marking scheme for those papers.
Noel doesn’t care. He’s wearing peacock feathers and his thoughts are full of Paul’s fingers. ‘Big, sausage-y fingers’, he cackles to Steph. ‘Manicured….soft…but strong….pampered’.
David, the only one dressed for a festival, is second AGAIN.
Rosie, with the reassuring professionalism of a vet who’s seen many calves stuck in that position, triumphs.
For the showstopper, the judges want a massive party popper of a cake – a multi-coloured, multi-layered Sarawak festival cake from Malaysia. Like a Battenburg at a rave, it’s garish, bright, vibrant, over the top, sweet and rubbery, and needs to be grilled, rather than baked.
David produces a precise, mathematical, architecturally brilliant blend of the kind of colours you see when you stand up too quickly. The judges aren’t really all that bothered.
Steph, concentrating intensely to avoid becoming Star Baker again, produces a cake that ‘needs grouting’.
Michael’s is ‘very stodgy’; Rosie’s too complex. Henry’s, entirely unimpressive on the screen, somehow tickles the judges’ taste-buds.
But it’s Alice who snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, with a cake weaving a ‘clever’ pattern, with ‘exceptional’ detail. She earns a reprieve for at least one more week, during which she will still have no time to practise, because it’s Parents’ Evening.
Carnival Kings and Queens
‘It’s really, really close’ says David, of the judging, even though Prue has already called Michael a taxi. The judges confer, while the production team tidy up the ticker-tape.
Who had a fiesta? Henry, who this time, doesn’t tell anyone to shut up.
Who needed a siesta? Michael (presumably to David’s surprise).
Festival week is over! The contestants wrip off their wristbands, Sandi polishes the portaloos and Noel gathers up the glitter. ‘From now on in, we’re going to see a different standard of baking’, threatens Paul.
Pastry week next week. Hasta mañana, amigos!all-purpose gluten-free flour, almonds, candied lemon peel, candied mixed peel, candied orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, cranberries, dried fruit, Festival Week, figs, free from hot cross buns, GBBO7, gluten-free hot cross buns, Great British Bake Off, hot cross buns, hot cross buns recipe, nutmeg, organic apricots, organic spices, Orgran, sultanas, yeast
This post was written by Yzanne