I love a baking challenge as you can see from some of my posts across social media. Usually I can do most recipes I encounter. Usually that is, until the Danish Cornucopia came into my life.
Being a huge fan of The Great British Baking Show (GBBS), I enjoy watching the different challenges. The contestants are also enjoyable to watch. They are always so nice and supportive of one another unlike so many of our food contests. When they finally published a cookbook a recent season, I just had to buy it.
On the latest season, for one of the technical challenges, the contestants were given the Danish Cornucopia to make. As a technical, they only get a vague recipe to follow, one the judges have personally decided upon. Paul Hollywood chose his Danish Cornucopia. The judges always have made their baking challenge product for the other to taste. In seeing Paul’s cornucopia on display, the cool factor alone drew me in. I challenged myself to make it.
The past two days I have really felt for the contestants. They were given a specific time limit, a vague recipe, and no visual reference from which to work. I had the advantage of all three and it hasn’t made it any easier. In fact, the recipe is kicking my behind!
Yesterday I made my first attempt. Following the recipe as I thought it read. The first error was actually on the recipe itself when the author forgot to translate Celsius into Fahrenheit for oven temperature. After finding that error midstream, it was a little too late. The dough had spread too much to be of any worth. At least the mistake still had a good taste to it.
Last night, instead of trying to grind almonds again (my food processor didn’t grind fine enough), I used the almond flour I specially purchased earlier in the evening. The recipe had said to let the dough sit in the fridge overnight if possible, which I did.
When I shaped the dough this morning, it was easier to mold. After baking, at the correct temperature this time, the pieces looked more like what I had expected. So far, so good.
Tempering chocolate was next on the list. Thankfully, the recipe also provided the templates (for the dough and the chocolate forms). I’ve melted chocolate before for ganache and other icings, but never to temper it. The toughest part was making sure to meet the temperatures so the chocolate will flow correctly. That, and maintaining the patience to let it cool and dry. I ruined a couple of the forms trying to move them too soon.
My second attempt at the cornucopia was also a fail.
Three things got me today:
1) The shape of the dough was still a little off in terms of being able to join them easily;
2) Putting the icing in the way of where the pieces should be “glued” together; and
3) The caramel would not set right using his directions, it kept seizing up—finally used a different recipe that just didn’t cool to the right “glue” consistency needed.
My hat goes off to the contestants on the GBBS. They are some great bakers. But then, we already knew that.