The Tab Tries: Great British Bake Off

We finally act upon our love of the show gripping the nation and give a respectable attempt at a GBBO technical challenge.


After several weeks of sitting on my backside watching Bake Off and unfairly judging the contestants, it was probably high time I stopped commentating on where they were going wrong and had a crack at it myself.

Last week’s episode provided a fantastic opportunity for me to do this, courtesy of a technical challenge that I, without hesitation, branded “a piece of piss”. Having been told by exasperated housemates to back myself on this one, I firmly accepted the challenge: I was going to make some ‘Religieuse’ Nuns.

Come at me, choux pastry…

That’s when I realised I’m shit at baking.

Brushing the doubt aside, I purchased the necessary ingredients, measured them out, double checked the method and sat down for a while to sweatily contemplate the utter disaster ahead.

I got off to a flying start after the discovery that we did not, in fact, possess baking parchment. So, as any good chef would, I improvised.

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I plodded on through the deceptively straightforward recipe, under beady-eyed scrutiny from afore-mentioned housemates.

The resident Mary Berry inspects...

The resident Mary Berry inspects…

Erm, is it supposed to look like this?

Erm, is it supposed to look like this?

One thing we don’t always appreciate when watching GBBO is the importance of special baking equipment;

“Spoon the mixture into a piping bag…”

Yeah, I didn’t have that.

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After some intense spooning, it was time to bung my trays of mixture in the oven and hope for the best.

At this stage, the Nuns’ bodies resembled doughy brains and their heads resembled, erm…

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Time for the crème pâtissière and chocolate ganache.

I had never heard of these words. Blundering on blindly, I hastened to ‘leave to cool’ in a number of time-saving ways.

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The neighbours clearly thought I’d lost my own cool, but I nailed it.

The next three minutes were a blur to me.

These two things happened in quick succession:

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Oops. This shit is stressful!

Next: putting both the crème and my face in the fridge to chill.

My manky funnel makes yet another appearance, this time to crème the balls. So to speak.

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It was all fun and games until I got a bit over-zealous and jammed my makeshift pipe into the crevice too forcefully

It was all fun and games until I got a bit over-zealous and jammed my makeshift pipe into the crevice too forcefully

Nun down.

After a short intermission consisting of me composing myself (read: laying down on the kitchen floor and crying inside), I soldiered on down the home straight and, one gooey brown mess later, my nuns were fully erected.

It's ok, I never liked that top anyway

It’s ok, I never liked that top anyway

My nuns were generally deemed a success

I’m pretty sure I heard “top class” muttered somewhere between mouthfuls but I didn’t want to push it.

Thus the conclusion of my GBBO journey: basically, it’s way harder than it looks and I’d have been fucked had I been given time constraints as well.

After a grand total of 3 hours and 23 minutes of cooking time, I think Berry and Hollywood would’ve ripped me to tiny little pieces.

The best bit of the experience? The leftover chocolate ganache, of course

The best bit of the experience? The leftover chocolate ganache, of course