the taste buds do tgbbs

taste buds meetup

Sundays can’t come fast enough lately. Monday through Friday, I go to work and make dinner and yada yada, but by the time Saturday rolls around, I’m so excited about the next day’s episode of The Great British Baking Show that I can’t get through the day without talking about it at least a dozen times. Tell me I’m not alone in this. Because, judging from my meetup with the Taste Buds last week, you’d think I were.

Maybe it was silly of me to think that picking recipes from TGBBS would make my cooking pals interested in watching it, or maybe I turned everyone off when I emailed them the link to the online episodes and told them they should watch it if they “cared even a little bit about my happiness.” Desperation is unattractive, I’m told. Whatever the reason, I successfully converted 0 new fans of the show, which is a bummer only because my goal was to have more people to talk about TGBBS with. Perhaps I need new ambitions.

celeste florentines great british baking show
Celeste and her florentine cookies

Despite the clear lack of enthusiasm for the show itself, everyone came through on the actual cooking part so, really, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Anna made perfect little walnut cakes, Celeste made florentines, Kelly–the only other quasi-fan of TGBBS–made orange savarin, and I made failed raspberry eclairs-ish things. I also made lasagna so folks had real food to eat, and Kate, Kimberley, Andrea, and their men were on hand to provide salad, snacks, and moral support. Deep conversations about the joy of foam rollers and the strange culture of estate sales were a fun bonus. I guess you could call it the “icing on the cake!” (And here is when I realize I will slowly drive away all my friends and die alone.)

Next time, I might stick to cooking from a more familiar source. Or maybe I’ll make everyone cook from Maangchi. Guess we’ll see.

Attendees: Andrea, Anna, Celeste, Kate, Kelly, Kimberley, Len, Jez, Rob, Saif, Isaac, and me


Florentines: Celeste said this recipe was pretty easy to follow, which surprised me, considering it was a technical challenge* on TGBBS. The recipe called for candied citrus peels, which she couldn’t find and didn’t want to make, so she subbed in candied ginger that added a nice little brightness. I thought it was pretty adorable that she couldn’t be bothered with candied citrus but she did have time to make swirlies on the bottom of each cookie with a fork. “What! The recipe said to do it!” 

*A technical challenge is when the contestants are given the ingredients for a recipe but the key instructions are missing. Hence, it challenges their technical baking knowledge.

florentine swirls

Miniature Coffee and Walnut Cakes: Anna made this recipe originally created by Richard, my favorite contestant and frequent winner of the coveted “All-Star Baker” title. No one spoke of it, but there was definitely increased pressure on Anna to do a good job since her boyfriend Jez is British. If she failed, who knew what would happen between them, you know? (Some kind of punishment involving Marmite, probably.) Luckily, these were scrumptious. The cake was light, the frosting sweet, and she said it was easy to make. Bonus: Jez said they tasted just like his grandma’s!


Orange Savarin with Cinnamon Cream: Kelly chose to make Chetna’s cake in cupcake form, and go figure the recipe is hecka complicated. It’s a yeasted cake, which sounds unnecessarily difficult to me in this age of baking soda, but perhaps the yeast is what made the thing so airy. Kelly said she messed up one of the two proofings, but since none of us had tasted a savarin before all we knew was that it was delicious. I finally know why Paul and Mary (the judges on TGBBS) are always telling Chetna she’s so good with flavors, because this was seriously so tasty. My favorite of the night.

orange savarin cinnamon cream

Raspberry Ripple Eclairs: Damn that Nancy. I’ll admit, I picked this recipe because I wanted to impress everyone by decorating these eclairs with the itty bittiest icing work just like Nancy. Because, you see, this is what hers looked like:

raspberry ripple eclairs

Cute, right? Instead, mine turned out like this:

raspberry ripple eclair fail

Embarrassing. I evidently didn’t cook my crème pâtissière enough, my raspberry coulis never set, and I gave up long before it was time for me to make the fondant icing because I was like what’s the point. So I ladled what I called my “crème juice” into a cup, dipped the choux into my runny raspberry sauce and then served it like a churro in hot chocolate. I’m told they were tasty, but I was so over it I’ve blocked this one out of my memory. 

My disastrous eclairs aside, all in all these were really solid recipes. And, just in case you’re wondering, all the leftovers made for a great breakfast the next day.

Til the next Taste Buds meetup!

4 thoughts on “the taste buds do tgbbs

  1. Nora

    First things first: So glad I caught you reactivating your blog because count me in. I’m here to stick around.

    Secondly, how awesome is this cookbook club?! This is so inspiring, I must gather some friends and try this too.

    Thirdly (is this even correct English?), I live for Sue Perkins. I’m trying to convert everyone to watching Supersizers and if you haven’t seen it yet then I dare you to look on a certain Tube for it. If you like Mary Berry then the Fifties episode is the one for you. I promise I’ll start watching TGBBS in return.

    And finally, you are amazing. I would have thrown my eclairs and pastry cream into the trash with such brute force, throwing an absolute tantrum. You made me hungry for choux sticks with pastry cream dip.

    1. Donna Suh Post author

      How stoked am I to read your nice little comment?
      I have not heard of Supersizers but am definitely going to check it out. I need something else to fill my time (and my heart) now that TGBBS is over.
      Thanks, Nora! PS your site is gorgeous.

  2. Lan | morestomach

    i am a fan of the Great British Baking Show. it was a fluke that i came across it, we gave up cable and i was watching pbs and bam, there was it. (though, can we still be friends, i watched it Monday nights because sunday nights was for the walking dead which i streamed online…)

    anyway, there were weeks when i would be GUTTED (i’m so wannabe british for saying that) over who got kicked out (CHETNA!) and i avoided my twitter feed to not give into temptation to look for spoilers or chat up the contestants. i’m currently watching the celebrity version, streaming it…ahem illegally… off bbc somehow. it’s a riot.

    i have my heart set on making the schichttorte tart for easter, because why not cry over baked goods while celebrating the resurrection of jesus?

    PS. i am so envious of your cooking group.

    1. Donna Suh Post author

      In looking up an image for The Great British Baking Show a few weeks ago, I accidentally found out who the winner was and I was so bummed I ruined it for myself! I didn’t know about the celebrity version. Must investigate.

      Schichttorte sounds naughty. Looking forward to seeing how yours turns out.


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