Well, that was a flipping rollercoaster! Week five was pastry week and if we’re honest this episode has put us off baking pastry for life. Filo? From scratch? What a palava!
The signature bake called for our eight hopefuls to knock up no less than twenty four Danish pastries in two different flavours. No mean feat in the allotted three and a half hour time slot. There was little to no banter and mucho chaos as everyone set about mixing dough, laminating pastry and preparing the various different fillings. We learnt a sweet little life hack form Val: slice individual pastries from your roll using dental floss to avoid knife damage. Thanks, Val!
Val says she makes Bakwell tarts every week. [Photo: BBC]
When it came to the crunch though, Val’s Danishes were underdone. “That’s how our family like them.” she told Paul. It didn’t change his mind though. Tom’s granola topped creations received the ultimate Hollywood insult - refusal to eat. Rav, according to Paul, served up “bread with some bits in it”, although he did like the nut filling in his sweet pastry offering.
Benjamina’s pastry haemorrhaged butter all over the oven leaving hers raw and dry. Mary wasn’t sure about the flavour combination of mango and rhubarb in Selasi’s. Andrew employed all his engineering wizardry to measure and bake everything with precision and while the judges enjoyed the presentation and fillings he cut his pastries too thin and “biscuity”.
Precision, precision, precision. Andrew brings his engineering expertise to the kitchen. [Photo: BBC]
Candice’s savoury pastries looked good but were a little dry, however Mary loved the presentation and delicious flavour of her apple and cinnamon Danishes. Despite some earlier drama involving overflowing fillings Jane nailed the signature challenge with her “delicious” orange pan au raisin and raspberry chocolate and almond Danishes.
On to the technical challenge which this week was a Bakewell tart. Selasi had an idea of who might know what they were doing with this classic, “I think the winners will be the aged,” he whispered.
Selasi taking a break from pastry laminating. [Photo: BBC]
For the frangipane part of the recipe most contestants went with their gut, Val however, had been going with hers since the challenge started. Part way through baking she realised she’d been missing a second sheet of instructions. “I make a different one and I make it every week.” she casually told Mel. She wasn’t the only one to have an early mishap, Andrew was shocked to discover he hadn’t switched his oven on losing him valuable baking time.
With the clock ticking many of the time-squeezed contestants were forced to ice their tarts while still warm. Rav’s fell apart. Andrew cut his losses and served his semi iced.
Rav before disaster struck. [Photo: BBC]
Rav’s crumbled tart saw him come bottom of the technical challenge table for the third week in a row, closely followed by Val who served up the first soggy bottom of the season. Ben and tom were in the middle, Selasi came third, Candice second and Jane first.
The showstopper was a right fiddly challenge: 48 filo pastry amuse bouche in two different flavours. The GBBO tent was deathly silent as the eight hopefuls rolled and rolled and rolled until they got that super thin pastry. Another life hack from Val: use a broom handle as a rolling pin. Nice one!
With his neck on the line Rav had to seriously pull his socks up. Fortunately he whipped up 48 perfectly identical bite-sized delights with time to spare. They went down a treat with the judges and his bacon was saved for another week. Benjamina also managed to redeem herself with her plantain and spinach samosas and chai pear cups.
Jane taking it slow with her filo cones. [Photo: BBC]
Tom’s efforts on the other hand were “informal”, too big and “disapointing” according to Paul. The judges liked Jane’s Roquefort walnut and fig parcels and though her cherry and chocolate cones tasted great they were too big to qualify as amuse bouche. Selasi’s parma ham, asparagus and cheese filo cigars were on the dry side but his coffee cream cups went down well.
Working hard. Candice prepares banana for her bannoffee and whiskey cup showstoppers. [Photo: BBC]
But it was Candice who stole the show with her perfectly golden sausage, black pudding and apple rounds and banoffee and whiskey cups, bagging herself the Star Baker title for the second time this series.
The Great British public donned their mourning weeds when Mel broke the sad news we’d be saying goodbye to Val. Her good humour and eccentricity will leave a gaping hole in series seven. It’s fair to say most of Twitter are in pieces about it. Goodbye Val, you’ll be sorely missed.
Series sweetheart. Val will be sorely missed. [Photo: BBC]
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff)
— katie (@Kaaaaatie_x)
Next week, a Bake Off first: Botanical Week. Hope thistle make you feel better!