The Great British Bake Off: 9.08. Danish Week
Suddenly the quarter-finals are upon us and only five remain. After the challenge of vegan baking, Danish Week promised to be even more arduous. Indeed, tears were shed as the stakes got even higher. At least Sandi felt at home.
This week's signature challenge was in two parts; bake a rye bread then make two open sandwiches known as Smørrebrød. The locals would take 24 hours over their loaves and this was another reason for Paul Hollywood to bring out his Bread Bad Cop routine as he prowled the tent.
Amidst all the various pickles, vegetable toppings and cheese (yes, actual cheese) Rahul created a Smoked Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Smørrebrød. The problem was not the seemingly endless list of accompaniments but the actual bread in that the rye flour leadened the dough, scuppering its rise. Of course, Paul kept schtum when on his rounds then struggled to swallow the end result and, for once, Rahul's expectantly terrified face was not rewarded by any compliments as the dreaded word, 'inedible', was uttered.
Briony made two doughs for her Smørrebrød with Ibérico Ham and Chorizo for Spain then the West Country represented in Flaked Makarel. Like Rahul, she also left limited time for her loaf to cool resulting in comically doorstep sized slices and questions being raised around whether hers could even be considered an open sandwich.
If that was questionable, Manon went even further. She took the bold step of using a cheese base of goat's cheese then a combination of gorgonzola with mascarpone for her Cheese and Fruit Smørrebrød. The gamble was initially whether the strawberries then pear would marry up with their fromage friends. Actually, the gamble was whether her loaf could be classed as rye due to the lack of rye flour and seeds, as pointed out by the Bread Boss himself, Paul, when he declared it a French loaf. Despite the sandwich looking more like dessert, it looked like she had gotten away with it.
In the latest of Kim-Joy's wild and creative animal-based escapades she attempted to transform hard boiled eggs into bumblebees to go with smoked salmon and havarti cheese for her Bumblebee Eggs & Fish Smørrebrød, because it's Kim-Joy and that's what she does. The only thing lacking was a bit of seasoning in what was a solid effort.
Ruby kept her Smørrebrød personal and themed it as a 'post-gym' special with a Mediterranean breakfast of Avocado and Chorizo with a Tandoori Chicken lunch. Paul already managed to put the fear into her by questioning her water to flour ratio yet the flavours worked and the rye was the star of the show.
Whatever will they think of next in the technical challenge? This week it was fourteen Aebleskiver filled with cinnamon spiced apple and served with a strawberry jam dipping sauce. Sort of like a pancake ball in which you rotate the batter in a metal plate and somehow lock in the filling using two wooden skewers. All in an hour. Ridiculous.
Rahul struggled again as he went from 'inedible' to 'burnt' leaving him bottom. Despite having seen them being made before, Manon was still fourth due to the sheer variety of her collection. Ruby cheekily cut hers to prise in the filling which left her third. Kim-Joy's were even but Briony got the texture spot on meaning she had potentially redeemed herself.
The showstopper was a Kagekone (fem) or Kagemand (masc) which is a Danish birthday celebration cake. These personable efforts would involve at least three different confectionery making skills and a whole lotta delicious, golden Danish pastry. Inevitably, keeping the butter cool during lamination would prove especially tricky in a warm tent (seriously, can they not invest in air conditioning?).
Briony's Nana Pat Kagekone was of divine, golden brown Danish swirls filled with blueberries and ginger creme patissiere which was deemed the closest to a Danish pastry. The likeness was not quite as adept as some others but the flavours and colours were there, even the sherbet was a triumph.
Ruby went for the jigsaw approach of decorating each frangipane and apricot filled Danish with marzipan then dressing her Sister Kagekone in chocolate truffles and honeycomb. The end result was cute enough, the layers present and correct though the only issue was the lack of glazing. Evidently this was a misdemeanour as she was deservedly crowned Star Baker.
Perhaps the most extravagant was Kim-Joy's Off to the Opera Kagekone with a white chocolate ballgown and intricate royal icing necklace. Her issue was the great escape of the butter which resulted in a soggy, under-baked dough. Given the stakes you could forgive her for having a sob though she did warrant someone, ANYONE, giving her a quick hug. She need not have worried.
Only a brilliant showstopper could seemingly save Rahul and his Indian King Kagemand was hampered by indecision. When to get it out of the oven? When to add the handmade chocolates and fruit jellies? With his confidence already rocked, Paul then questioned his decision to coat the Danish twists with buttercream, essentially hiding the celebratory pastries. He eventually part-covered the showstopper with marzipan though the pastry was evidently dry and even burnt in places. Despite this he somehow remained as at least his baking hit the brief.
Manon again kept it French with croissants and pain au chocolates for her Birthday Girl Kagekone. Apparently, her choice of pastry was not the immediate concern, rather that she had used Danish butter instead of French. That and her oven being too high resulting in burnt bottoms. She did go one further with the confections of plaited marshmallow, bon bons, caramel and neat nougatine though her baking was condemned. Partly for the execution but also because it was French masquerading as Danish. She was in tears before the final judging and in tears when it was announced that she would be leaving.