Monthly Archives: October 2014

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So for this week’s challenge, Mercotte took us off to sunny Spain for a cake known as the Alcazar. The word, which comes from the moorish word for palace, is used for several ancient and exotic palaces all over southern Spain. The cake itself, which is more of a tart really, consists of a sweet pastry case, filled with an apricot puree, topped with an almond filling, not too dissimilar to an apricot Bakewell tart. It was finished off with a lattice of almond paste, the holes of which were filled with more apricot, and topped off with jewel like pistachios.























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So, week two of Le Meilleur Pâtissier came around soon enough and with it, the second technical challenge: Le Russe. Apparently, a ‘forgotten cake’ from the South-West of France, it was balloon whisks at dawn from the inhabitants of the village of Oloron Sainte-Marie who protested that it was not forgotten but alive and well … in Oloron Sainte-Marie at least.













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Black Forest Boules: Recipe

Apart from the Sachertorte, the first episode of Le Meilleur Pâtissier (The Great French Bake Off) Season three had two other challenges: revisit the Black Forest Gateau and create a showstopper with a chocolate ball. Creating the ball involved tempering chocolate, which I have never done before, so I decided to set myself a mini challenge and to revisit the Black Forest Gateau using a chocolate ball.























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Sachertorte: Le Meilleur Pâtissier, Technical Challenge 1

This week, the third series of Le Meilleur Pâtissier, the French version of The Great British Bake Off hit our screens featuring a friend of mine, Antoine from Les plaisirs sucrés d’Antoine. As I said a little while ago, I am going to bake along with the programme making all the technical challenges from the series in the week after they are shown.

Luckily, all the recipes for the technical challenges, which are set by Mercotte, France’s favourite food blogger and the French Mary Berry, are posted on her blog the day of broadcast. The first challenge was for an Austrian Sachertorte, the recipe for which can be found here.























Sachertorte was invented in the nineteenth century by the pâtissier Franz Sacher while he was still a sixteen-year-old apprentice, and consists of a chocolate and almond cake layered with apricot confit, and covered in a rich chocolate ganache. Mercotte’s version was made harder by the fact that you had to cut the cake into three layers rather than the customary two, and also use marzipan instead of ground almonds in the recipe, but hey it was the technical challenge. Read More →

Soupe de panais au citron: recipe

Parsnip, or panais as it is known if France is one of my all time favourite vegetables. In the UK, it’s a winter staple and an indispensible part of Christmas dinner, but in the rest of Europe it’s virtually unknown. My years in Italy and Switzerland were parsnipless, apart from the odd occasion when I, or a friend, was able to slip a bag into my luggage on the way back from the UK.























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