Around the World with the Great British Bake Off
Every year on GBBO [Great British Bake Off], the judges seem to find new challenges for the bakers, with cakes and pastries from around the world that none of them have heard of before. I love seeing the way different cultures indulge their sweet tooth, and just how the outlandish show-presenters pronounce the confections the contestants are to produce. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below, with their countries of origin, meanings of their names, and of course a few pictures to get the taste buds going. Tea and cake, anyone?
Prinsesstårta. This Swedish Princess Cake is great fun – bright green and full of custard, jam, marzipan, and a mound of whipped cream!
Schnecken. These incredibly sweet buns have a sticky pecan topping and are filled with cinnamon and dried fruit. ‘Schnecken’ means snails in German, a reference the spiral shape of the buns.
Dobos torta (pronounced “dobosh”) is a Hungarian sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. The five-layer pastry is named after its inventor, Hungarian confectioner József C. Dobos. The bakers in Series 5 had to make a two-tiered dobos torta with an emphasis on all things caramel.
Baklava, with crisp flaky layers of perfectly pulled filo pastry, is claimed by both Greece and Turkey, and has been known throughout the region of the Ottoman Empire for centuries.
Schichttorte (literally “layer cake”) is a German cake cooked in stages under the grill to create 20 layers of different-coloured sponge.
Entremets, from the Old French, literally meaning “between servings” are, for modern pastry chefs, multi-layered mousse-based cakes comprising different complementary flavours with varying textural contrasts.
And the classic from the last series, the pronunciation of which caused great hilarity and no little confusion, was flaouna, or flaounes in the plural, (Greek: φλαούνα, Turkish: pilavuna), a special Easter and Ramadan food eaten on the island of Cyprus by the mainly Orthodox Greeks and Muslim Turkish Cypriots. They are a cheese filled pastry, which sometimes also include raisins or can be garnished with sesame seeds. Mel and Sue had great fun with the multiple vowels, but the bakers were rather flummoxed by Paul’s lack of detail in the recipe for this technical challenge.
I wonder if there will be any exotic foreign tongue-twisters in this series? Feeling peckish already…