Monday 17 August 2015

Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge Week 2, Paul Hollywood Arlettes

Yesterday I found myself with enough time and enthusiasm to attempt week 2 of the Great British Bake Off Technical Challenges, this was making eight Arlette biscuits a recipe from Paul Hollywood.

There's a part of me that wants to do all of the technical challenges this year but I'm sure there will become a stage where I don't own the correct utensils, tools, tins etc to be able to join in but so far so good. Week 1 saw me making Mary Berry's Walnut layer cake and although It was a success it didn't feel that much of a challenge and worst still my partner didn't particularly like the cake!!! Seriously I think there is something wrong with him when he said it was too sweet!

After watching the latest technical challenge I couldn't help think it seemed like a lot of effort for eight biscuits but not wanting to quit at week two I persevered and started by watching the technical challenge section on the BBC Iplayer. Watching as some contestants got in sticky messes, others mixed by hand and others used electric mixers. I was confused at what best to do, after reading the recipe instructions I was clear on what I needed to do, and that involved A LOT of chilling and the use of bread flour and some kneading. All in all an odd recipe to make a biscuit.

The recipe was similar to making a flaky or a rough puff pastry mixing layers of butter and layers of pastry dough. The only difference was that you wrapped the pastry in a layer of butter rather than the other way around. All in all the recipe so far was actually really quite simple, once you had the basic ingredients it was just a case of fold and chill then repeat. After a few hours I was ready to add a layer of sugar and Cinnamon and roll and chill again. Although not a major issue the first problem I had was that I lost some of my dry sugar mix out of each end of the roll of pastry.
Making Paul Hollywood's ArlettesMaking Paul Hollywood's Great British Bake Off Arlettes
Great British Bake Off Roll of pastry for Arlettes
Great British Bake Off Roll of pastry for Arlettes
Once the dough was chilled again it was time to cut into eight equal sections and roll flat with a rolling pin before baking. Again the dry ingredients caused a slight issue and once I had started to roll the biscuits flat some of them were unravelling and not staying as a tight pinwheel.
Great British Bake Off Roll of pastry for Arlettes ready for baking

Placing the rolled biscuits out onto the baking tray It was time to bake. On the television episode there were lots of comments about the high butter content and how these biscuits could burn easily however I think I was over cautious. After the first 5 minutes of baking the instructions state to flip the biscuits over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Another slight issue was that the biscuits were fairly stuck to the baking paper but with a little shuffling they were free and flipped over. However the 8-9 minutes baking time turned into 10-12 to avoid the centres of my biscuits still looking doughy and raw. I'm not sure If my Arlettes weren't rolled thin enough or it was due to my oven. Either way the additional baking time wasn't an issue and I now had eight little Arlette biscuits.

Eight Arlettes from the Great British Bake Off
Once cooled with a cup of tea the first two biscuits were devoured in seconds. They taste a little like the flaky pastry and sugar coated edges of an apple strudel. They had the snap, a little flaky crunch and a delicious buttery flavour. All in all very very yummy but you need to be in the house for several hours to keep attending to your chilling and rolling of the pastry so unless I have several hours to spare I'm not sure I will be making them again in a hurry.
Four Arlettes from the Great British Bake OffEight Arlettes from the Great British Bake Off
Next it's bread week and I've only ever made bread once so this could be an interesting technical challenge. Roll on Wednesday for episode three. I can't wait.

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