The Great British Bake Off is going back in time for yet another ‘first’. This week is called Victorian Week as the contestants pay homage to arguably the greatest period for baking in British history. Through innovation and industrialization, the Victorians changed the way we cooked and ate in this country. It was during the nineteenth century that baking powder, commercial gelatin and afternoon tea were invented so we have a lot to thank them for!
The signature challenge this week is for that old British classic, a game pie. Popular throughout history, this dish became a favourite in Victorian times as kitchenware became more sophisticated and tins and ceramic moulds could be used to ‘raise’ the pies rather than the crude, virtually inedible pastry that had been used since medieval times. Traditionally, the pies contained a mixture of different game including rabbit, venison, pigeon, pheasant, partridge, quail and woodcock or indeed, anything that could be hunted or trapped in the British countryside. The contestants will presumably be trying to impress the judges with their flavour combinations and elaborate pastry decorations. For similarly impressive pies, take a look at Galton Blackiston’s old-fashioned raised game pie or Adam Gray’s English quail and truffle pie.