This year’s Bake Off is nearly over and what a rollercoaster it’s been. One of Hawaiian shirts, falling cakes, new themes, and so many innuendos. But before we put it to bed for another 12 months, Farmdrop’s resident baker, Meg Weal, revisits this year’s show with a week-by-week game plan of her own.
Week 1: Biscuit Week
Let’s start this off controversially. For me, it’s cookies over biscuits every day of the week. Something soft and a little chewy, a crunch of something, and maybe even a gooey centre. It’s an unrivalled mishmash of textures. And these spelt, walnut and chocolate cookies were what I made for that glorious first episode of Bake Off. Delicious nuttiness from the walnuts pairs so well with spelt and gooey still-warm chocolate.
Week 2: Cake Week
You don’t need to be a star baker to get this showstopper on the table. This little number’s got the best balance of comforting white chocolate paired with the subtle power of pistachios and tangy lemon to offset its sweetness. The piping is easy enough for even the most amateur of bakers. This lemon and pistachio cake with white chocolate ganache is a sure-fire winner.
Week 3: Bread Week
There aren’t many things that come close to the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen. I’m not about too much kneading or proving or leaving, so this soda bread recipe is the lazy bakers best friend. If you want to slice into something a little more fancy, it’s not so difficult to become a sourdough pro. Give this guide a go if you’re feeling up to it.
Week 4: Dessert Week
Now, I know that this one might be a little more – erm – homely than the roulades and blancmanges of 2018’s Dessert Week, but I’ll argue that a big, piping hot bowl of plum crumble is the perfect dessert for this time of year. Add a blanket, re-runs of Bake Off and a large jug of custard.
Week 5: Spice Week
Hanging biscuits remind me of that week before Christmas at primary school where you would do little-to-no work and an exceptional amount of arts and crafts. I’ll admit, we weren’t making biscuit chandeliers, but those 6-year-old hands was all over making biscuits that would hang on the tree. Now, these might not be for the hanging (why waste precious eating time hanging something only to rip it down again?!), but these ginger and cardamom biscuits are little bites of spicy heaven.
Week 6: Pastry Week
Pastry week. We knew it was coming, we knew there’d be highs and lows. I knew it meant I was going to have to make some pastry. I went easy. I went with shortcrust pastry. But, that easy shortcrust became the base for this wild mushroom & Gruyère tart that, if I say so myself, was delicious. Creamy and rich Gruyère balances with the earthiness of the mushrooms and makes your taste buds sing happy little songs.
Week 7: Vegan Week
WHAT HAPPENED WITH VEGAN WEEK? All of a sudden no one could bake. Paul Hollywood admitted he had no idea what was going on, and someone actually put Prosecco and onions in the same dish. It was wild. But, vegan meringues (the results of this year’s technical challenge) are actually pretty easy to make, taste fantastic and are as light as their non-vegan counterparts.
Week 8: Danish Week
I could successfully pronounce a grand total of zero of the tasks that were set during Danish Week. But one thing I do know is that open sandwiches and rye bread are a duo I can get on board with. This rye bread recipe is (almost) foolproof and, if you’re hosting brunch, is possibly the most Instagrammable bread ever when topped with smoked salmon, capers, and pickled cucumbers. Thank you, Denmark.