The Great British Bake Off: 6.07 Victorian Week

For one week only, The Great British Bake Off went back to the Victorian Age for game pie, tennis and Charlotte Russe (the dessert, not an actual person). Obviously pies never went out of fashion as the signature challenge was a Raised Game Pie. Made with a hot water pastry, this meant for thin crusts and bonus points for decoration.

Clearly there were two parts to this challenge; simply the innards and the outer part. Paul opted for Not a Boaring Pie which was flavoured with cayenne pepper and juniper berries baked in a relatively simple mould. Alas, this was over-baked and marked down for a lack of moisture, which was actually pretty boring in itself. Far from boring was Tamal who put in a Middle Eastern Game Pie which offered gentle Arabian spice and aided by fatty lamb which helped set the filling. Paul Hollywood was so impressed he even offered a handshake.

Mat brought out the big guns in a borrowed tin from 1850 (apparently) which brought a classic look but, like many dishes, needed more bacon. Keeping it simple was Ian whose Roadkill Pie came with a chilling backstory of him bringing in knocked down animals to then pop into a pie for practice. The filling was always going to be tender but he had bonus points for the authentic trotter jelly. Flora, or 'Bird Girl' as she was once known, went for a relatively simple Sage and Game Pie though hers was overfilled hence her fretting over the temperature. Eventually it came out looking a tiny bit burnt yet she largely got away with it. The brief was Victorian yet Nadiya went all out for the largely unavailable Chinese Five Spice in her Aromatic Game Pie which largely masked the taste of the meat, a shame.

The technical challenge was perhaps less brutal than recent weeks as it was a fruit cake decorated with a tennis court. Everyone knows what a tennis court looks like, right? While the fruit cake was baking for two of the three hours the trick was getting it cooled as most of the time would be spent recreating the intricate parts of the court. A lot could go wrong with the Victorian methods as Flora overcooked her royal icing while Mat decided to bake his, much to the dismay of Nadiya. He was last, mainly down to the raw middle of his cake and the strange, haphazard green pitch icing. Meanwhile Nadiya again triumphed at a technical challenge.

The showstopper round was a Charlotte Russe; no, me neither. This was an intricate dessert of high class using a ladyfinger sponge for a base and an outer shell surrounding bavarois cream and jelly. Again, the greatest concern was getting elements of the bake cooled, especially the bavarois.

Ian put most of his hopes in a 3D Queen Victorian crown which did look stunning decorated with silver balls yet he was commended more for the excellent consistency throughout. Fruit carvings were Paul's method of impressing though his were on the side, not on the top which is probably a blessing as the jelly ran. Flora opted for flavour combinations with a Raspberry Sponge, Champagne Jelly with Pomegranate Juice and White Chocolate Bavarois. The layers were distinctive enough yet Paul rightly wondered why she bothered with the sharp taste of the pomegranate. Why, Flora?

The layers were also excellent in Nadiya's Raspberry and Mango Bavarois while she used a Home Education recipe for her Italian Meringue variation. An excellent choice as Paul and Mary Berry raved about the mousse-like texture. She was comfortable enough yet Mat was in real trouble having finished last in the technical. He kept his flavours simple by sticking to strawberry though his ladyfinger wall split and it looked rushed so he left after a stressful round. Star Baker finally went to Tamal for his excellent flavour workings and genius in using a layer of Raspberry and Ginger jelly instead of a ladyfinger base. This was topped with Spiced Blackberry and Cardomom cream which were tricky combinations but he pulled them off.

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