Welcome back to my Bake Off challenge where each week I attempt the technical challenge using only plant based ingredients. This week I must admit, I felt like it was just a mash up of ideas rather than a genuine dessert although on doing an internet search it turns out it's a real thing! I was not too worried about any of the aspects of it, just the time it would take me to do so much. I already had a week of events to attend followed by a fantastic weekend away in Lincolnshire to visit one of the UK's largest seal colonies at Donna Nook. They gather on the beach between late October and mid December to have their pups and there are over 2000 pups born each year. It was just amazing to see. (I will post a photo at the end!) Anyway, that's my excuse for not making the jam.....seals!
Back to Bake Off! So, I really didn't have to swap many ingredients out. The meringues were made using aquafaba, an ingredient that featured on the TV show a few times when used by vegan contestant, Freya. It was easy and fun to make but one tin makes a lot!
Here is the link to the original Bake Off recipe: Prue Leith's Sablé Breton - The Great British Bake Off | The Great British Bake Off and the ingredients with my swaps can be seen below:
For the sablé dough: 170g plain flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp fleur de sel (I used Maldon sea salt) 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed (I used vegan butter) 4 egg yolks (I used 4 tbsp soya cream) 100g caster sugar
For the meringue kisses: 1 egg white 60g caster sugar pinch of salt
I used an aquafaba recipe:
1 (400g) tin chickpeas in water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
150g caster sugar
For the raspberry jam: 350g raspberries 120g jam sugar 2g pectin
(I'm so sorry but I used ready made jam!)
For the chocolate decorations: 90g 54% dark chocolate, chopped into pieces (I used 70% dark chocolate)
For the pistachio paste: 75g pistachios 2 tsp pistachio oil (I used walnut oil) 10 drops pistachio extract (I omitted)
For the crème mousseline: 250ml whole milk (I used pea milk as it is one of the creamier plant milks) ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out 4 egg yolks (I used 4 tbsp soya cream) 50g caster sugar 35g plain flour, sifted 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed (I used vegan butter)
To decorate: 30 strawberries, hulled and halved 10 raspberries 2 sheets of gold leaf (I omitted)
For the sablé dough:
For the meringue kisses:
To make the meringue kisses the method is not so different from egg meringues.
-Preheat the oven to 100C.
-Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
-Drain the chickpea liquid from a tin and measure out 125ml.
-Mix the liquid with the cream of tartar with an electric whisk until soft peaks form.
-Continue to mix adding the sugar, a little at a time, until firm glossy peaks form
Your meringue is now ready to use. Pop into a piping bag and pipe kisses or rounds as I did.
-Then bake! Mine took only about 15 minutes, They are ready when they are a little golden and they come away from the parchment easily.
The chocolate decorations:
The pistachio paste and the the crème mousseline::
Assembly and decoration:
Tips based on my experience
-When creating the base I simply pressed my dough into the tin. It was quite a sticky and loose dough to start with. I used a lot of flour to dust my surface and rolling pin and still it was difficult to roll into a circle and then pick up to put in the tin so I simply pressed it in and was careful to ensure the depth was as even as possible. It wasn't perfect but it was good enough.
-I would use less chocolate than in the recipe to avoid wastage. I used 60g and still had a lot left over.
-I omitted the pistachio extract and it was still a very obvious and lovely pistachio flavour so I would say this ingredient isn't necessary.
-When creating the pistachio paste the small amount of nuts made it difficult to do in my food processor/blender. They stuck to the walls and did not blend and it took a lot of stopping and scraping down of the sides. I decided to add a little of the custard cream I had just made and that had been cooling in the fridge as eventually the two would be mixed anyway. This gave it enough body for the blender to run continuously until the mixture was smooth.
-Keep a close eye on your meringue kisses in the oven, they don't take long and can become overbaked very quickly.
-The meringue kisses will start to dissolve a little and go sticky so store them in an airtight box until you are ready to serve and then add them. They were fun to make and nice to eat alone.
-I actually have a chocolate comb so I was able to follow the recipe for the decorations but if you don't then I would suggest just drizzling some random shapes, swirls or lines on the acetate (I used parchment paper). It will work just as well.
This was a real surprise. It was absolutely delicious. The base, which I thought would be like a large shortbread biscuit was somewhere between that and a sponge. It was lovely. The fruit on top and the pistachio cream were a perfect balance and it wasn't too sweet, just a lovely taste of summer...which was a nice feeling as we head into winter. I think I will make it again in summer next year. It was shared amongst and enjoyed by my usual hardworking taste testers: parents, colleagues and my husband who, even extended me a handshake for my efforts!
Overall, very happy with this, every aspect worked well, all of the swaps were perfect and I will definitely make this again. Just one more challenge to go!
Thanks for reading!
Oh yes, and I promised pictures of Donna Nook...