How does a proper homemade Bestive Fake compare against the popular Festive Bake?
It’s the second week of November, so we think it’s ok to start using the C-word. Especially as we’ve officially entered into the six week countdown to Christmas and Greggs, high street purveyor of mass-produced pastry goods, has launched their Festive Bake.
We know their seasonal special is popular (the relentless queues show that) but is it any good? Is it as satisfying as ‘real’ food? Has it had any contact with a human being during preparation? And what’s even in it? So many questions.
Helpfully, Greggs list the ingredients of the Festive Bake on their website (along with ‘nutritional’ info of 453 calories and 27g of fat.) Controversially, this £1.50 Christmas carb-bomb is made using chicken breast, rather than turkey. Then the puff pastry parcel is stuffed with a gloopy sage and cranberry sauce, packed together with sweetcure bacon, and sage and onion stuffing. On top is a dusting of crunchy sage crumb. Sage is a bit of a bully, so they might have overdone that.
We thought we’d find out what a more ‘homemade’ version might be like, so went over to see Richard and James from Beastro in Spinningfields. They totally went all out, with no corners cut – other than ones made from pastry, obviously.
Inside their magnificent ‘Bestive Fake’ they’d stuffed a sous-vide Norfolk turkey thigh with sausagemeat and cranberries, shredded sprouts and chestnuts, wrapped it all in Savoy cabbage leaves, and smothered it in a cranberry sauce made using the full-flavoured turkey stock. As if that wasn’t enough, they made some space on top for sliced pigs in blankets, all wrapped up in a golden puff pastry parcel.
Good lord it was good - but it’s only fair to point out that they had made a giant one for our (very scientific) test, which could quite happily have fed four. The brilliant news is that Beastro have agreed to put (a slightly smaller, one person) version of their seasonal special ‘Bestive Fake’ on the menu. If you want to try it for yourself (and we really, really recommend you do) you can pop in and get one for £7 (with £1 from each being donated to Action Against Hunger.)