Well there you blooming have it, I am in the final of the Great Irish Bake Off, yes a Finalist. I never envisaged this happening, I can honestly say when I went in to this show I didn't think this could actually happen. In the tent on the first day I didn't think I had a hope in hell looking at all the other bakers. This week I loved because I got first in the technical which was a nice change of pace doing a Biddy challenge. The quiche was beautiful but I would not be so keen on the carrageen dessert, the flavour I wouldn't particularly like, reminded me of blancmange. Something I would love to eat that actually includes carrageen is Myrtle Allen's carrageen dessert it looks so yum! Nessa from Nessa's family kitchen has a fantastic version found here.
On to my signature bake, I decided to make an orange flavoured chiffon cake filled with a honey mead buttercream. The brief stated we were required to bake a cake that represented our journey in the show. So the reason why I picked what I did was the colours lent to my dad ie. the Dutch flag on the outside and Irish heritage on the inside. I chose mead buttercream primarily as its made in Bunratty, its 10 mins from my home in Limerick. When I submitted the recipe I was asked to add something else, I decided on choux base and honeycomb. I guess I added them because I had good results with both throughout the show, but because they were last minute additions I wasn't overly happy with either and would have been far happier sticking with my chiffon cake. At the end of the day Chiffon is an incredibly difficult bake and I thought that was enough to show case my baking. Regardless I did enough to see myself in to the final.
Oonagh's Brioche ------>
This was a tough week as Oonagh left the bake off. What can I say about Oonagh that I haven't said already through out the show, she is a truly lovely person and her baking is wonderful. I have experienced her baking inside and outside the tent. A group of us bakers were invited to Oonagh's home during the summer for food and drinks. She made us all so welcome, with her amazing food and nothing stands out more than the fantastic brioche we had for breakfast the following morning with her own marmalade and banana bread. I was genuinely sad to see Oonagh go this week, and missed having her calming influence in the final, she even thought me and Stephen all about putting peppermint oil in to candles :).
<------ Oonagh's Banana Bread
However some how some way I have gotten to this point, I am ecstatic to have got so far, I am truly chuffed. I am joined in the tent next week with Stephen and Maryanne two fantastic bakers and I cannot wait for the final. We produce some really cool bakes that we hope you will love. For the technical next week, we tackle Petit Fours in all their intricacy.The spec for next week's showstopper is to create a bake that represents the built heritage or natural landscape of Ireland. What I have chosen and you will see next week means alot to me and it showcases one of my most favorite spots in this fair country. I also throw the kitchen sink at trying to win next week so you will have to tune in to see if I can actually manage it some how. Throughout the show and in general when I bake I try to stick to the same guideline, always produce something relatively easy that anyone can make but at the same time make it different.
Now for this week's recipe, its the second part to what I made at the Meubles event down in County Kilkenny. These macaron taste so good the apple filling is delish. Also just to let you know we raised €903.42 for the Irish Cancer Society which is fantastic for just doing a bit of baking.
225g old egg whites
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
300g caster sugar
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
300g caster sugar
Red food colouring
5 cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp of caramel
Pre line 2 baking trays like in my previous Macaron blog posts found here.
- Sieve the almonds and icing sugar together. Blend together in a food processor for 2 mins, sieving again in to a bowl.
- Add 112g of the egg whites to the almonds and sugar. Mix all together in to a paste with some red food colouring to make it dark red as much as possible, set aside.
- Now you want to boil 300g caster sugar and water together until it reaches 118c degrees, make sure to brush down the sides of the pan with cold water to prevent sugar crystallization whilst boiling. Whilst waiting, beat the other 112g of egg whites to soft peaks.
- When the sugar reaches one 118c remove from the heat and slowly drizzle in to soft peaked egg white whilst beating. Once all sugar syrup is incorporated continue beating on high speed for 2 mins. You have just made an Italian meringue! Allow cool for 5 mins.
- Back to your almond paste; before we go further you should know you are gonna use your hands here. Take one handful of meringue and mix in completely to loosen the mixture. Next fold in with your hand the rest of meringue, be very careful not to over mix
- Now fill a piping bag full of macarons mixture and pipe on to the baking sheet.
- Once piped leave rest for 60 mins, a skin will form and will be dry to the touch afterwards.
- Prepare the filling:
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it’s hot.
- Add a thin coat of oil, then add the apples and caramelize them on all sides until they’re very brown.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the caramel, and cook until the apples are very tender. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and season to taste with salt and apple cider vinegar. Purée until very smooth.
- The purée can be used hot or be chilled immediately for later use.
- Heat oven to 180c/160c fan/350F/gas mark 4.
- Bake the macarons for 8 mins, open the oven door briefly to let out steam, cook for 2 mins, open the oven again to let out steam and finally cook for 2 more mins, 12 minutes in total.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the sheet from baking tray to a wire rack. Leave for 5 mins then remove from grease-proof paper.
- Match all the macarons shells up and pipe the puree in to the middle.
Thanks for reading,