The Great Australian Bake Off – Episode 8 – Sweet Dough Week

Selfie!!!

Heaven on earth.. sweet dough… purrrrr. Who knew I could do sweet dough?!!? Another great surprise to come out of the Shed for me.

Signature, they want filled finger buns. I kept thinking of those mock cream ones you used to buy at your local corner store growing up. Then I am thinking how do I make this bake into an Italian version. Nutella doesn’t really go with it. But citrus does!!

I couldn’t decide on which citrus flavour to go with. My favs are mandarin and lemon. So a shop through The Essential Ingredient at Rozelle and I found some amazing items including candied clementines, candied cervo, blood orange meringues and orange paskmak! I was in heaven. I can make most of these things at home bar the pashmak but on the short lead time for this bake, I brought in bought ingredients.

Test baking at home, I even had little hearts in the icing on top!
Test baking at home, I even had little hearts in the icing on top!

At home, the finger buns were pretty and neat. In the shed I threw everything at them at the last second and they were an oozy delicious mess.

The mandarin icing, lemon curd just singed despite the buns still being warm when I filled them and the cream falling out of them heheheh

Typical Italians, always talking with their hand!
Typical Italians, always talking with their hand!

Thankfully, the judges loved them and so did the crew apparently as there were none left at the end to take home to my family!!

Bit messy no?
Bit messy no?

Technical bakes, Bee stings or something like them… my first last in the technical – I over baked them as I had no idea what I was doing as usual. Am starting to think I suck at baking as each technical as we go along I get worse and worse…

Thank god for the Showstopper! My fav part of the week yet again. Babka! And surprise surprise… Nutella make another appearance. Sorry folks, I am obsessed, we all know it, I am just waiting for Nutella to sponsor me as let’s be honest, I am their biggest and most vocal fan!

Love these little drawings!
Love these little drawings!

 

Looks just like the drawing!
Looks just like the drawing!

I run with a combination of doughs, techniques and flavours with this one to show what I have learnt so far.

3 doughs, starting with a stronger dough, with no butter in a Nutella and banana scroll on top, middle was a light and fluffy lightly buttered dough with banana, caramel and rum and finally a rich buttery sweet dough full of Nutella, hazelnut and rum on the bottom. Inside I made mini run soaked babkas and kept a couple to decorate the top with.

Nutella and Banana scroll babka for the top These are a butter free dough.
Nutella and Banana scroll babka for the top These are a butter free dough.
Bottom was nutella and Rum butter sweet dough
Bottom was Nutella and Rum butter sweet dough

All topped of with a babka croquembouche! Ambitious aren’t I? I can still see my husband rolling his eyes when I pitched this concept to him!

During the bake everything went perfectly. My middle layer, being the banana portion rose so much I couldn’t get the proving draw open! When I knocked back the dough, let it sit for another 30 minutes it rose once again amazingly well. And when it bake.. it was HUGE! Ended up slicing off the section that came out of the tin and decided to use it to build my Babka (Or Babka Tower as Liv named it during the bake!) so it was even bigger than I anticipated and test baked.

There was plenty of time, so I made hazelnutine and created leaves and flowers to decorate the outside.

Now here comes the bit you didn’t know about…(behind the scene goss) I finished, looked up and said “Done! How much time do we have left?” (as I had some gold decoration I wanted to add) My producer Jane looks at me and says softly “Um Monica, you have 90 minutes to go…” ……”You what?!?!?!?” was my response..” Are you serious!! Wow!

Taking my time decorating, my favourite part over every bake...

Ok… regroup…think… take my time, add gold leaf and hand painted gold details to the BabkaRama then go around and offer help to anyone who needed it. Go back, clean down my overly messy bench, make a cup of tea, brush down the outside again with more glaze and rum to make sure it didn’t try out before judging…….Took some selfies with it. Ate left overs with the crew, socialised….Feeling rather chuffed, now am praying it tastes as good as it looks! The producers eyes when they saw it warmed me inside and out because let’s be honest it looks freakin awesome!!!

Selfie!!!
Selfie!!! It was huge wasn’t it?

Judging was hilarious. Mel and Claire had me laughing so much. Matt discovered I finished with 90 mins to spare and appeared blown away. “Now that’s a showstopper” was what I remember from judging. Could barely carry it to the judging table.

They kept finding my little hidden surprises inside and out of the babka. Mmmmm baby rum soaked babkas! Matt loved the middle banana tier as it reminded him of Banofee pie.

Love this professional photos! They did a good job with an old chook like me!
Love this professional photos! They did a good job with an old chook like me!

Despite a rotten technical bake, this is the first time in all these weeks I felt confident sitting on those stools that I wouldn’t be going home that week. Felted relaxed for once.

And wait for it….First time in Aussie history…. Star Baker, back to back wins – week 7 and week 8 woohoo!!! And how unusual, I cried (What the hell is wrong with me!!).

Week ends and I physically and mentally exhausted. Have lost 5 kilos already since we started filming. I have achieved more that I had ever dreamed of and was satisfied and ready to go home. To be so honest, I was done.

That night, I went home to celebrate with my family. We had a good heart to heart. Hubby said, If you leave now, I will kill you……

So with that ringing in my ears bring on week 9….

Get the recipes here:

Citrulicious Finger Buns –  https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/25957/citrulicious-buns

Babkarama – https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/25952/babka-rama