Buns and baps were the name of the game this week. Sweet ones, gooey ones, jammy ones and bit fat ones but it was ‘nice firm buns’ that Mary Berry was after in the Signature Sweet Bake. The bakers were asked to make 24 buns using an ‘enriched dough’ which is a flour, salt, yeast and water mixture but with added eggs, fat, milk or sugar. I think 24 was quite a tall order within the timeframe. Paul was looking for perfection with a base dough that was soft and bordering on wet so the buns would be lovely and soft rather than crusty.
Cathryn was trying hard to distinguish herself this week with her version of a local and historical recipe for Lady Arundel Manchet Buns filled with cream and jam. Ryan opted for Lardy Bunds inspired by Bake boy Tom Herbert.
Most of the bakers however decided to go with a Chelsea Bun variation. Brendan’s Bunskis had a poppy seed twist, John’s a Cherry, Almond and Saffron focus.
Some did look decidedly burned and overcooked and as the judges cut into each one by one, there was some underbaking and under proving but there was also a lot of bland and poor flavours. Cathryn, John, James and Sarah Jane all produced less than perfection.
Ryan did so well that he got a hearty hand shake from Paul. Brendan’s were unusual and delicious. The ones that stole the show for me and the judges were Danny’s Bakewell Buns flavoured with sour cherries and almonds. They looked so lovely but what made it all worthwhile was the huge smile on Danny’s face. I’ve loved watching her gain confidence week by week and was keeping fingers crossed it wouldn’t go pear shaped for her as the weekend wore on.
Cornish Saffron Buns - a saviour for the local community
How amazed I was that a humble sweet bun could curb problematic drunken locals. Mel’s narrative related how these simple buns were handed out to the local community after a procession marking the ascension of Christ. The buns were flavoured with currants, sultanas and saffron brought over by Venetian traders.
A Jammy Technical Challenge for James
The technical challenge this week also took inspiration from history. In 1942 The American GIs were treated to a taste of home with doughnuts served at the Service Clubs to boost their morale. Better still they were served by ‘Doughnut Dollies’ who were specially hired to be an entertaining and sympathetic ear. The whole idea was so successful that it was repeated during WW2 and special Clubmobiles were created taking the Doughnut Dollies on the road.