I had an email from Gail at The Claytons Blog recently, about the blog event that they are currently orchestrating for the month of March. You can read all about it here. And you should. Because then I can go and pack my suitcase instead of writing all about it here (I'm in a rush!).
For the similarly time-strapped among us, though, here's a summary:
- It's a competition.
- It involves baking.
- There's a prize.
- Entrants have to make a huge version of a commercially available biscuit, at home, from scratch. This is called, ahem, 'pimping' a biscuit.
(I should have been an Olympian.)
Now, this challenge was not without it's difficulties. Despite having survived (though just barely) a childhood addiction to/dependency on those lurid pink wafers that come in the huge biscuit selection boxes you can buy at Christmas, as an adult I don't really buy biscuits that often, and those I like probably wouldn't appeal to judges ( my favourites are fig rolls and Garibaldi - hardly going to set the world alight with my creativity there, am I?). But the cookie gauntlet had been thrown down. On went my 'Blogging Community' apron: I was in.
More to the point, Gail and Coby both Re-Invented the Lamington, so I owe them big for making them mess up their kitchens on my behalf. Ladies - I've got your back, make no mistake.
Rules state that the biscuit to be pimped must be a known brand in the entrant's country of residence, and also be scaled up to at least 8" in diameter.
Well, I am pushing the boundaries rather more than just a little with my entry, but, darling, I live an international lifestyle, and for me, popping to the Monoprix at Beaugrenelle in Paris is just like nipping out to the Co-Op in Cardiff.
OK, not really. But I do always stop off at the Monoprix when I'm in Paris, and frankly, had hardly any time even to make my entry let alone go shopping for inspiration on my days off. So Mr. P's entry to the competition will be a pimped version of Bonne Maman's tartelettes chocolat noix de coco. You cannot actually buy them in Cardiff;I know I risk disqualification (I did do step by step photos though, Gail, which is a first for me!).
The other rule I broke was the size one. My biscuit measured only 7.5", and was the incorrect shape because I couldn't find the dish I planned to use but, regardless, these things are about taking part, are they not? (Just give me a chance, I can do it, I swear!)
Anyway, the actual biscuits in question are ridiculously scrumptious. I do actually usually buy the chocolate version every once in a while, but thought the coconut layer in this variety would make things more interesting from a home-baking perspective. The packaged experience goes something like this - rich buttery biscuit shell, filled with dark chocolate and a grainy, coconut filled hidden cream layer. It is almost enough to turn me into a regular biscuit buyer.
Since I doubt anyone will actually follow my lead and make this, I'm not posting the recipe as I usually would; completist readers are welcome to drop me an email however - I always like to hear from you.
To 'pimp' it, I considered using pastry as the base, but wanted to actually make a biscuit, as opposed to a pie, so took some plain cookie dough out of the freezer (a half quantity), which, thankfully, I had previously labelled 'vanilla' - I nearly picked up the 'lemon' - and rolled it out to fit into the dish I was using. Then I baked at 180°C until I had a tart-shaped biscuit. Which looked somewhat more rustic than the bought version, but never mind.
Then I mixed 1/3 cup of dessicated coconut with 3 tbsp double cream and spread the resulting (delicious!) mixture into the cooled cookie shell.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had some chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup) melting over simmering water. The coconut layer then received a thick coat of this glossily melted chocolate. If I were to do this again, I would use a ganache instead, or add some butter the chocolate to make it more liquid - the biscuits themselves have a smooth top, which I couldn't achieve with melted chocolate alone. Too time-short for regrets though am I, so let's get over it.
Enough talk - how did the pimped biscuit taste? Well, as you'd expect, about a million times better than anything out of a packet. Mr. Other P was left with over half of it when I went to London the day before yesterday, and I got back last night to find it gone. All of it.
Would I do this again? Well, I probably wouldn't 'pimp' any more biscuits (though you never know - the mint Viscount is not without its charms), but I would certainly make this as a dessert if I had the ingredients lying around. And I pretty much always do, so we'll see.
Now, where's my gold medal?
The competition is open until the end of March. You know what to do.