I decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show (GBBS for short) and write about it. Don’t know much about GBBS? No worries. Check out my first blog in this series to learn more about the show and about why I decided to do this, for better or for worse (so far, mostly worse).
Okay, so this week I’m supposed to be tackling a Baked Alaska, which was the showstopper challenge on Season 1 Episode 4’s Desserts episode.
And I’m going to do that. I’ve already done that. Well, I’ve done about a third of it at least. But first, I can’t talk about that episode of GBBS without talking about #Bingate.
Here’s an explanation from Eleanor on The Good Place. (P.S. Watch that show.)
So the bakers were making a Baked Alaska (a.k.a a sponge cake, ice cream and meringue masterpiece) on what was apparently one of the hottest days of the year. (Sidenote: it was only 77 degrees Fahrenheit, which here, is a basically lukewarm, but in Britain, it was apparently a “scorching day”. Those are PBS’ words. You can check out their official take on #Bingate here.)
Anyway, we’ve got ice cream. We’ve got heat. We’re basically building toward a disaster, right? Right. (If by disaster, you mean someone on a reality television show having a bad day. Which is what I mean right now.)
#Bingate was arguably, disaster-worthy, by GBBS standards. It was said to be the most controversial moment in GBBS’ history.
It legitimately became a national news story.
What’s #Bingate? I’ll break it down: one of the bakers took another baker’s Baked Alaska out of the freezer. And it melted! It melted! (Because it was a “scorching” day, remember?)
And, yeah, that’s all #Bingate was.
Iain, one of my favorite season 1 contestants, put his Baked Alaska in the freezer as he went to mix up some meringue or something (as you’re wont to do with ice cream on scorching days.) Then, Diana, another contestant (show below in orange), came along and took Iain’s Baked Alaska out of the freezer while she put in her own.
And then…she didn’t put it back.
I know what you’re thinking:
Yeah, that’s what Iain thought to.
I get it, Iain. People are messed up.
And, Iain’s Baked Alaska was real messed up too. When he went to pull his ice cream out of the dish, it ummm…well, I’ll just show you:
And Iain, didn’t handle it well (by British standards.)
If this had happened on an American television show, Iain probably would have gone after Diana with an egg beater or something, or at the very least, dumped his melted ice cream all over her head.
But this is Britain, so what Iain did (which, reminder: caused a SCANDAL in the U.K.) was just calmly throw his ruined Baked Alaska into a trash can (or bin in the U.K.) hence #Bingate.
Then he calmly walked away from the tent to collect his thoughts before judging time.
Come judging time, Iain obviously had nothing to present, so he just had to carry the trash can up to the judging table.
Frankly, he’s being a jolly good sport about the whole thing, in my opinion.
But, the judges, the venerable Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, didn’t agree. Though they were sympathetic that it was just a moment of craziness that led Iain to throw his dessert into the bin, he was still kicked off the show that episode. Paul explained that he and Mary have to have something to judge and they couldn’t very well judge a trash can. So Iain got the boot.
And the British public was well, as angry as the British public can get. They called for Diana to be kicked off the show, but Iain, ever the good sport, came to her defense:
So that is the story of the famous (infamous?) Baked Alaska meltdown a.k.a. #Bingate.
P.S. Did you notice how I waited until the very end of that to put in the “meltdown” pun? You have no idea how hard that was for me to do.
Anyway, now on to my Baked Alaska.
As you probably noticed from the title of this post (because you’re so smart and observant), I’m doing this challenge in two parts for several reasons:
- I knew, going in, that it would take me at least half a post to explain #Bingate.
- I learned from Iain that you need to make sure your ice cream is really firm, so I worked ahead so I’m not messing with my ice cream the same day as I do my cake and meringue.
- I ordered a KitchenAid mixer and I’m waiting for it to get here before I tackle my meringue.
What I have done so far, is my ice cream.
In the actual challenge, the bakers made their own ice cream, but I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I cheated a bit and decided to follow Mary’s recipe for a Neopolitan Baked Alaska instead.
This recipe calls for using store-bought ice cream and Mary explains the recipe step-by-step in her and Paul’s Season 1 Masterclass Episode: Part 2.
The recipe has 15 steps. I’ve done three of them. And the three I did are basically just about putting ice cream into a bowl and then putting it in the freezer. But so far, I’ve nailed it, guys, nailed it.
To get the ice cream ready, I had to line a 3-liter mixing bowl with cling film or Saran wrap, as we say it in America.
Then, in a separate, large bowl, I beat 1 liter of vanilla ice cream to soften it a little and then put it into the base of the bowl I wrapped with cling film. Then I had to level it off using a spatula, and then freeze it for at least an hour or until it’s firm.
Then you get to repeat the exact same steps with a liter of strawberry ice cream and then a liter of chocolate until you get a full bowl of ice cream.
(Sidenote: I used ice cream that comes in 48 ounce containers which are actually supposed to be about 1.42 liters or something. When I measured it out though, I ended up just using the full container because that looked close enough for me.) Also, I may have eaten some of the ice cream as I was assembling this. Just maybe.
So after more than three hours of combined work and waiting time, I have succeeded in making a bowl of ice cream. (Yay, me!)
Okay, applause aside, later this week, I’ll start on the actual hard parts of this baking challenge: making a chocolate sponge cake base, and the meringue that I have to cover the whole thing with before I put it in the oven. I did mention that I have to put this in the oven, right? After it has ice cream in it? That seems like a terrible idea.
And yeah, it could go terribly…but, it’s okay, I’m totally not worried about it at all. Like at all.
P.S. I changed the web address of the blog so now it’s https://sometimesibakemistakesblog.wordpress.com/ Before that it was something totally unrelated which made no sense. Now it makes sense. So win.
P.P.S. I also got a separate Facebook page “Sometimes I Bake Mistakes Blog”. You can like it, if you feel like it. No pressure. Thanks.