What Ruby Baked: Biscuits and Traybakes
Welcome to the fourth instalment of ‘What Ruby Baked’, in which we follow UCL’s very own Nigella in her pursuit to be crowned ‘Amateur Baker of the Year’.
Welcome to Biscuit Week, fatties!
This week marked the half-way point of the Great British Bake Off, and it would appear that some of the contestants are beginning to crumble under the pressure. The competition is now as stiff as well beaten meringue peaks.
So far, our gal Ruby has fought off the pie-triarchy and brought her half-baked ideas to fruition. However, her deadpan delivery and dedication to dawdling are no longer cutting the mustard with the judges.
The first ordeal presented to the bakers was to create a signature tray bake. Although seemingly self explanatory (‘a bake in a tray, you say? Mind blowing!), the tent’s resident Laurel and Hardy took it upon themselves to explain how this elaborate concoction was invented by the Quakers.
According to the wise old Quaker Baker they interrogated, tray bakes represent the Quaker ideals of peace, frugality and equality. They don’t seem to be spreading this message very well though as most people associate the Quakers with porridge oats and being mental.
Our doe-eyed damsel, along with fellow bakers Christine and Kimberly, chose a Bakewell tart bake.
While the others happily baked their wells, homeslice Ruby seemed to struggle with the challenge, warning the judges ‘I wouldn’t serve something that rubbish to anyone’, while serving it to them.
They agreed. It was an unhappy moment all round.
The technical challenge of the week was to create a perfect batch of tuiles. These appear to be a sort of shitty French wafer biscuit thing that would fail to satisfy even human hat stand Karl Lagerfeld, who survives on monogrammed cotton wool balls and apathy.
If that wasn’t tough enough, it was a veritable Sudoku of a recipe as Mary had cruelly omitted many key details, leaving the bakers questioning how to reinvent the tuile.
‘I will not be defeated by a sodding French biscuit!’ proclaimed Ruby in a guttural battle cry. But alas alack she was, retreating back to her workstation like a brow-beaten Boudicca after her tuiles were judged to be ‘a mess’.
At this point, Paz n’ Maz snuck away to discuss the failings of the bakers, and it seems that our Ruby is skating on thin icing sugar. Alpha Papa Paul defended her by mentioning the little-known fact that she has had exams.
By now it would probably be less tiresome for them all to just employ a Greek chorus to wail about deadlines and essays and cramping hands every time she walks into the room.
It’s wooden spoons at dawn by the time we enter into challenge number three, which involves making an elaborate tower of biscuits. But this is no mere hobnob party, as the bakers are expected to conjure an architectural feat. From Daleks to Bavarian Clock Houses, the competition is as tough as a gold-plated digestive.
Ruby continues to anticipate her doom while putting together a tower resembling a dropped ice cream, which amateur psychologists might suggest resembles her shattered self esteem.
But lo! What light through yonder tent window breaks? Her showstopper bake is dubbed ‘really lovely’ and ‘absolutely beautiful’, so Ruby is saved from the strawberry lace gallows for another week. Hurrah!
Christine feigns surprise as she and her Bavarian clock tower are awarded top prize, while scientist Rob is given a pat on the back and a boot out the door for his sub-par biscuits. After all, when it comes to baking, you only get what you pudding.
Join us again next week as we follow the trials and tribulations of our student heroine during the nail biting ‘Sweet Dough Week’…