Yesterday I decided to watch scientist/chef Heston Blumenthal’s fantastical food. This week Heston was looking into the Great British “Tea Break”. A time when workers can bond over a cuppa during their lunch hour. Heston wanted to recreate the childhood experience of dunking biscuits into tea. He wanted to so this on a mega scale!
He wanted to make a huge teapot full of tea for everyone, everyone in East Lancashire to be precise. He also wanted to create a triple layer biscuit to dunk into the tea. Heston came up with the dilemma of creating a gigantic teabag that wouldn’t burst when absorbing water. It was a really quirky experiment which I though was entertaining to watch.
As for deciding what biscuit to recreate he gathered the public to take the “Dunk test”. This test consisted of two famous branded biscuits going head to head each round, which biscuit could survive the most dunks into a hot cuppa tea. The winner was the renound chocolate digestive, it managed to beat the jammy dodger, bourbon, malted milk and a few more.
The science behind the digestive was the chocolate layer, when the biscuit base absorbs the tea the chocolate top holds the biscuit together.
The next step was to re-create this winning biscuit x 1000. Heston decided to visit the McVitties factory where he could see how the digestive was made. A manager at the factory assured him this formation of a monster biscuit digestive could not be done. So instead it was plan B where he would create a new biscuit containing all of the classic favourites digestive, ginger nut crunch and the hobnob.
But that’s not weird enough for Heston he wanted to make a tea puree of afternoon snacks, he covered cherrybake wells in black tea then sieved to make a thick consistency, he did the same with a chocolate cake, a lemon slice and wait for it… a cucumber sandwich! (Yuck!) the tea flavouring appeared to get lost among the taste of all the sweets.
The idea was to recreate the flavour as a gel pod which could float inside the tea. This is where I learned something new, apparently some brands of onion rings are filled with an onion flavoured gel instead of actual onions, the gel is injected into the batter as an onion substitute.
Believe it or not but this same gel flavoured differently is used in a good few products. The gel is made to resemble peppers and stuffed inside the jarred olives, if you cut open the olive you will see the gel form isn’t a pepper at all!
You learn something new everyday!
Luckily the tea break went to plan and the town of Darwin got their tea and biscuits as well as the flavour infused tea with the gel drops. Next episode Heston tries to make a meal out of gum sweets and the worlds biggest pack of Rolo’s!