The waiting is over, only one more day until the Great British Bake Off! Apparently it will be very similar to the previous series, with all the same presenters, which is more than fine in my book.
Mary Berry is of course the essential element in the show, and knows a thing or two about baking (I have a very well-used cookery book by Mary called Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook that I bought years before GBBO was even conceived), but she is so gracious and kind in her criticism, even when there has been a baking disaster, she still manages to say something positive.
Did anyone else see Bake Off Creme de la Creme? It really highlighted how important the judges are; it was virtually unwatchable because of the unpleasant atmosphere created by the judging panel that even the affable Tom Kerridge was unable to counteract. Unfortunately all 3 of them seemed to have got the memo saying, “you will be the nasty judge”. After hours spent creating layered confections most of us would not even dream of attempting, the poor contestants were shot down in flames with the judges getting out rulers to measure whether each individual dessert was exactly the same as the others to the nearest millimetre! I’m sure I heard one poor contest whisper “I want Mary Berry” through tear-stained eyes.
The combination of Mary, along with Paul Hollywood’s knowledge, (I still do not know how he can tell when a loaf is underproved, rather than just underbaked), Mel and Sue’s good-natured banter, unfunny puns and inadvertently sitting on the contestants creations, as well as some new contestants should make it as watchable as ever.
Well, to celebrate the new series I made a lemon tart. To be honest, with the increasingly complicated and esoteric recipes now featuring on the show, I don’t think it would make it anywhere near the programme, but it did taste nice!
Method for making Lemon Tart
Pastry (double quantity – halve the amount for only one pie)
340g plain flour
4 tabs caster sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tabs cold water
Lemon custard filling (for one generously-filled pie)
200g caster sugar
3 lemons juiced (about 200ml) and zested
125g double cream
I made a sweet shortcrust pastry. I usually double the quantities as the other half can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for another time. I then blind-baked it in time honoured fashion and let it cool.
For the filling, put the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest, together with the double cream in a pan and whisk them together. Then heat up the pan gently, stirring all the time, until slightly thickened, but not too much. If you want it totally smooth you can strain it at this stage, but I didn’t bother. Pour it into the cooked pastry case and bake at 150C fan for 15 mins. Then leave to cool and keep in the fridge. I served it with yellow raspberries, because that’s what I happened to have, but other fruits would also be nice.
Would I make this again?
Yes, the lemon taste is so piquant and strong and the texture of the soft custard contrasts well with the crisp base (no soggy bottoms here!)