Many moons ago now (October last year) a group of people came together to marvel at a very special person, a very gifted, very marvellous person, an iconic figure from whom we can draw so much wisdom and inspiration.
A roundy baldy headed Manc called Karl Pilkington.
And he probably knows more about science than I, as a scientist, do:
So we, a bunch of scientists, having listened to Karl on the Ricky Gervais podcasts, having followed his teachings, gathered to see him in his latest intellectual triumph, his odyssey of diverse cultural edification: An Idiot Abroad.
For the occasion of the viewing of the torrented files I’d gotten hold of because it would take a further 6 months for the programme to be aired in Australia after it premiered in the UK, I put together two baked items inspired by our Holy Father Karl.
Because, as Karl observes, like the sage he is, in the podcasts: “You never see an old man eating a Twix”. And you don’t. It’s just a fact.
And of course, congress tart:
And it was a glorious occasion of much learning and mirth and young people eating Twix.
I would have made little orange-flavoured white chocolate truffles (perfectly spherical) and drawn Karl’s face on them, but I didn’t have the time.
Recipes after the cut.
It was a long time ago that I baked these things for Karl Pilkington Night, so I can barely remember how I actually did it.
I’m pretty sure the Twix were just a reproduction of this excellent recipe but without the lavender. I may have made changes but if I did I cannot remember them.
The recipe for congress tart I have managed to uncover, though, and I do recall it was surprisingly delicious (despite people being dubious of its reputation for being naff and, well, rather northern… according to the southern Englishwomen attending the night). Some recipes call for coconut, which is something I generally detest, so you’ll find none of that here.
250g plain flour
125g butter, cut into cubes and slightly softened
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
40ml cold water
Put the flour in a bowl and add the butter, egg, sugar and salt. Mix it with your hands to bring it together, making a texture like breadcrumbs. Add the cold water bit by bit until the pastry begins to cling together, then roll into a ball. On a flat surface, push the pastry to stretch it out flat, roll it up again, push it out again, and repeat a few more times. It should be nice and smooth. Roll into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling-wrap and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes. Take it out and roll it out about 5mm thick and line a ~25cm tart tin with it. Place the tin in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
3 egg whites
225g caster sugar
225g almond meal
1 1/2 tbs semolina
zest of one orange
1/4 cup raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Whisk egg whites until foamy but not quite at the soft peak stage. Mix the sugar, almond meal, semolina and orange zest together in a bowl then fold this into the egg whites.
Take the tart tin out of the fridge and cover the bottom with the raspberry jam, spread evenly. Add the egg white mixture into the tart case and smooth it out. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the filling is golden on top and the pastry is cooked. Allow to cool before serving. Give it to your Auntie Nora, I bet you she’ll love it.