Baking and preserves
Hints for showing
Most importantly the entry
should be correct by the schedule: size of tin or jar, number of items,
decoration, etc. If incorrect it will be marked as NAS (not as schedule).
- Flavour is the most important
feature looked for and should be characteristic for the item being judged.
- Appearance and texture are
secondary, although a burnt or damaged cake will lose marks.
- Undercooked items or those
with off flavours will be classed as not acceptable.
- If pastry items are cooked on
Pyrex or ovenproof cookware remember to allow a few extra minutes to give the
base time to cook through. Some people preheat a metal tray and stand the dish
on that to give the base a start.
- Do not leave pies on metal
bases or in tins. Remove carefully and serve on a plate.
- Take care when lining tins to
make sure the lining will give a good finished shape to the cake. If making a
rich fruit cake, use a double layer of grease-proof paper to line the tin. If
making a sandwich cake, line the base of the tins only.
- Cakes should be placed on a
doily on a plate. Savouries should not be presented on a doily.
- Cakes are better left
unadorned if there are no specific instructions. A very light dusting of caster
sugar is just acceptable on a Victoria Sandwich, but no icing sugar!
- If showing several small
items, e.g. four scones or muffins, make a larger batch and choose the four
that match each other best.
- Use a fluted cutter for sweet
scones, a plain one for savoury.
- To get a good finished
height, don’t roll scones too thin.
- Clean, plain jars, free of
all trade marks should be used.
- The most important point is
the seal. This shows the item is worthy of the term ‘preserved’. Cover the hot
jam with a waxed disc, shiny side down, cut down to size if necessary. The disc
must lie flat on the jam preventing any air pockets. Remove any air bubbles
with a skewer and avoid foam or scum. Cover with a cellophane disc either while
the jam is still hot or when it is completely cold. (If at a later date metal
lids are allowed by the schedule the process is slightly different. No waxed
discs are necessary. New metal lids should be used and should be put on to the
hot jam. As the jam cools a good seal should develop, giving a good pop when
the jar is opened. Do not test the seal before showing as this will break the
seal and make the item unacceptable!) Curd type products should be covered with
a waxed disc and cellophane.
- The jar should be filled to
within 3mm (1/8 inch) of the top. A large air space encourages the growth of
moulds and yeasts.
- The jam should be of firm
consistency and should not move in the jar. There should be no loose liquid or
syrup. (This indicates that the correct proportions of sugar, acid and pectin
have been achieved for good keeping qualities.)
- Make sure any spilt jam is
removed from the lip or sides of the jar.
- Labels should give the type
of jam and month and year of making. It should be of a suitable size for the
jar and put on straight. For curd type products, the label should show the
actual date of making, as contents should be eaten within 6 weeks.
Click here for recipes for some of the Show classes, such as savoury scones, chocolate sandwich and muffins.
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