Onto the fiddliest week of all, Pastry Week. Pastries, Tarts and Filo Amuse-Bouche galore.
Onto the fiddliest week of all, Pastry Week. First up it was 24 Breakfast Pastries of the Danish variety. There were the tried and tested cinnamon with apple variations but then pears, maple syrup and peanut butter as the contestants got their creative juices flowing.
While the flavour combinations were out to impress those who executed the pastry would prevail. Benjamina’s combinations of maple syrup with bacon then peanut butter and banana should have wowed but they were raw and rushed. Val declared it was “better to be wetter than dry” though her swirls were similarly underdone, the start of a bad week for her. With a plethora of Ghanaian fresh fruits, Selasi’s flavours came through but again his baking was underdone.
If it was not underdone it was bone dry as Tom found out with his too healthy for their own good Granola Spirals. Rav’s were also bone dry then he also sheepishly tried to shy over the fact he miscounted his Cinnamon Swirls by one, cheeky boy. Those who did impress included Andrew for the good lamination in his Mum and Dad’s Breakfast Pastries and Jane for the delicious flavour in her Raspberry, Chocolate and Almond Danishes. Then there was Candice whose Croque Monsieur Danish Pastries sounded ambitious while her Cinnamon Apple and Vanilla Creme Danishes with dainty Apple Roses looked tempting, she nailed both.
The technical challenge was a great British institution; the Bakewell Tart. Any baker worth their salt has made at least two. Val makes one every week yet after an utterly disastrous bake resulted in the double whammy of a raw, soggy bottom she finished seventh. Yes, Rav was even worse than that and finished last for the third consecutive week as his collapsed. For such a classic dish it was fitting that Jane should triumph as hers stoically held its own, just like her.
Then the fiddliest of fiddly challenges, 48 Filo Amuse-Bouche (a single, bite sized hors d’oeuvre, Fact Fans). Not only did this test time management but patience, artistry and creativity. The pressure was really on Rav but he sailed through after a bout of prolonged silence before Mary deemed his Chinese Prawn Filo Tartlets and Spiced White Chocolate with Hazlenut Samosas as beautifully proportioned and beautifully tasting.
While this was another solid week for Jane she was actually criticised for the size of her Cherry Chocolate Cones even though they looked and tasted divine. Harsh. Tom again took chances with his flavours and combining Steak with Spicy Chocolate Mousse might have been disastrous but Mary quite liked them only for Paul to deem them too bitter. You simply cannot please everyone. Another great choice of combinations came from Selasi whose Parma Ham, Asparagus and Cheese Cigars with Coffee Cream Cups were deemed a beautiful marriage of flavours. Benjamina also went for some interesting flavours and her Plantain, Spinach Samosas and Chai Pear Cups went down very well.
Playing it safe was Andrew whose Spicy Chorizo Squash Parcels and Baklava Bites tasted beautiful to Paul, even if they were simply a deconstructed baklava. Val had been in trouble all week and having only presented 12 (way too early for this time of year) Mincemeat with Apple Parcels the writing was on the wall. That the tartlets were underdone and the parcels too thick was mere confirmation, Val was gone. Candice has been steadily improving throughout and brought even more of her trademark innuendo with the quote “good to get your hands in and give your sausage a good squeeze”. Again, her flavours were ambitious but opting for rounds to encase her Sausage, Black Pudding and Apple proved a masterstroke. She had already been given 10/10 for presentation but her Banoffee and Whisky Cups were to die for according to Mary, more than enough to award her Star Baker.
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