Baz steps in for Omar to review pastry week.
I’m stepping in for Omar for the next two weeks to cover The Great British Bake Off and first up for me was pastry week. Last night’s episode certainly defied expectations; strong contenders for the final like Dan crumbled while Bryony, who has struggled over the last couple of weeks started to excel. It was great to see some of the innuendo back, with the technical challenge litterly translasting as erotic wells of love. And there was plenty of amusing banter between hosts Noel and Sandi, who feel much more confident and relaxed this series.
First up was a mix of savoury and sweet samosas, something no one has ever made. Ruby got a handshake for going all traditional with her flavours with plenty (AKA too much) spice. Her mum’s chutney recipe went down a treat too. Bryony rose from the ashes of the last few weeks with samosas that actually looked good. Her savoury did well though her peanut putter sweet samosas were a bit too gooey. Jon was inspired by meals where he wooed his wife; his chicken pesto samosa were just okay.
Kim-Joy almost seemed to suffer with the curse of the star baker by forgetting spice but still did well and maintained her imaginative crown with Pythagoras theorem written on her samosas. Rahul was as nervous as ever but yet again he didn’t need to worry, finally letting out a hint of a smile we he got a handshake from Paul. Manon struggled with her splitting samosas but it was poor Dan who really failed. He had to start his pastry again and then when he was finished his second rushed batch had pastry that tasted like rubbery leather. The fillings were good though.
Prue set the technical and it was only Bryony that came out unscathed, winning the round with her six puits d’armour; puff pasty, Choux pastry, compote and blow-torched crème pate. It was a general disaster for most, with the shot of Dan staring despairingly into the rain particularly heart breaking. On a more positive side, Noel did set a challenge of trying to help Manon in her quest to find an English husband. Ruby came last with her burnt pastry, with Dan’s flat puits d’armour just behind her. Fifth was Kim Joy, fourth was Manon, Rahul was third and Jon second and Bryony rose triumphant.
The final challenge was a shaped banquet pie. Bryony went for an Alice In Wonderland theme with her ‘Down the rabbit hole’ pie filled with game, mushroom and sweet potato. Prue was worried about time and Brony figured she might just bribe the judges with little bottles of port. In the end it looked wonderful, full of intricate decoration. There was tension as the game pie was cut open but it had a perfect consistency. Prue felt there was too much venison to sweet potato but the bottle of port really helped.
Dan Salmon went for a coulibiac fish themed pie. His confidence was obviously knocked and the disaster continued as he lost track of time. You could feel the tension, particularly when he still had to get his pie in the oven when the rest were already cooking; that turned to panic as he rushed to get the pie out of then oven with just a minute left. It looked great, perhaps too much so with Prue commenting that it didn’t look appetising because it looked too much like a silver monkfish. Unfortunately the pastry was raw all the way round, though the fish filling was delicious.
Kim-Joy obviously went for a glittery Mermaid vegetarian pie. Silky the vegetarian mermaid looked great but some of the dough hadn’t cooked and the pastry was too soggy. Jon went native with his Welsh dragon pie with fiery minced beef. Unfortunately the dragon lost its wings, becoming a monster sausage roll with wet pastry. Ruby attempted to regain her footing after the technical disaster with a Kohinoor Crown chicken curry pie on a rice base. The judges found the decoration astonishing and it held together. The hot water short crust pastry and the curry filling were all great.
Rahul made a lamb curry buttefley pie…with tentacles? Or was it attena? His pie soon started leaking and you had to wonder if this the moment Rahoul started to fall from grace? The colours looked good but it was wet and fell apart. The flavours and spices won the judges over though. Finally Manon mad an octopus pie with a salmon and scallops filling. She soon worried she had made it too simple after her earlier struggles and poppy the octopus exploded before it was even ready. When it came to judging, it didn’t look like an octopus, it needed to bake longer and tasted salty and dry, putting her in contention to leave.
Manon and Dan were in real trouble this week with Ruby and Bryony in line for star baker. Bryony absolutely deserved star baker but poor wannabe finalist Dan who crashed and burned with pastry week. It’ll be sad to see him go. Next week is Vegan week. And before you start groaning, I can testify that I have a vegan friend who has made some of the best cupcakes I have ever eaten…
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