UKE Baking Expert, Sophie Johnson gives us the latest from the week’s GBBO!

Butter, breakfast, baklava and blind baking.

It must be pastry week on The Great British Bake Off!

 

 

Who doesn’t love waking up to the rich smell of buttery pastry, sinfully sweet fillings and gentle spices.

Do you drool over a Danish? No I’m not talking about Helena Christensen (although she is pretty dishy!)

I’m talking about crumbly, moreish Danish pastries, warm from the oven and brilliantly bad.

For this week’s Signature challenge our bakers had to make 24 breakfast pastries in two different flavours, sweet, savoury, sloppy, spiced, it was all down to them. Both Candice and Benjamina brought in influences from overseas with their savoury take on a sweet classic. Benjamina’s taste of the Big Apple brought sweet maple syrup and crisply candied bacon in it her breakfast swirls, with her ‘mad flavour’ peanut butter and banana pastries prompting Mr Hollywood to congratulate her on her ‘bizarre’ bakes. Candice was the star du jour with her take on a Croquet Monsieur, creamy béchamel, gorgeous Gruyere and mighty mushrooms all featured in her French fancies. Meanwhile Tom took breakfast too the extreme, mixing a rather familiar wheat square cereal with crème patisserie into his pastries. Unfortunately, they were soggier than cornflakes left in milk, leaving them raw and inedible. Apple, cinnamon, coconut and pear, we saw it all, even Rav’s ‘delicious nuts’! Cheeky!

soggy

With breakfast firmly behind, it was time for a ‘classy classic’ in the technical challenge. Thin, buttery pastry, juicy homemade jam, sweet and sticky frangipane, and more feathering than a peacock in season… The Great British Bakewell Tart . Vivacious Val got stuck right in with her shortcrust pastry, guessing grams and blindly baking, only to discover the recipe was in her drawers all along. Oh pants! With Mary expecting ‘sheer perfection’ the heat was on in the tent, except that is, for in Andrew’s oven. After watching his pastry fail to bake for fifteen minutes his cheeks were as rosy red as his raspberry jam when he realised his oven was switched off. With the tarts lined up on the gingham altar there was no room left for a ‘frangipanic’. Rav reigned supreme again….. at the bottom of the lineup for the fifth week in a row, his beautiful jam couldn’t make up for the missing half of his tart. Benjamina’s thin pastry placed her in 5th place, whilst Selasi’s funky feathering failed his great pastry and saw him flap into third, but it was Jane’s crispy bottom that saw her clench a number one. (First place you dirty minded reader!)

With two challenges down, Paul wanted the bakers to amouse his buche…

…with 48 sweet and savoury bite sized filo showstoppers. The key to these intricate little nightmares is an extremely thin dough stretched until nearly transparent. In the words of Jane, ‘if you can read a bottle of alcohol through it, you’re okay.’ You would bloody well need the alcohol after the workout finickity filo gives you.

Fold, roll, flour, repeat. Fold, roll, flour, repeat.

Rav surprised Mary with his Chinese Prawn tarts bringing a smile of joy, simply beautiful, but although Janes cherry, chocolate cones looked fantastic with a taste that impressed, they were far too big, even Paul couldn’t fit a whole one in! Val had us feeling festive with her mincemeat and apple Santa sacks, but her suspiciously stringy dough left her with only half a batch of underdone pastries. Like an unwrapped gift, or another pair of Christmas socks, they went down like a piece of coal at the bottom of a stocking. Chilli, chocolate, steak, more like mistake! Tom’s man sized meaty mountains left a bitter taste in the mouth of old blue-eyes himself. (That’s Paul Hollywood to you and me.) Clever Candice wowed with her perfect balls of sausage, oi!, like little apples waiting to be picked, they were ‘spot on’, and although her lipstick might be questionable, her preening pout was well deserved as she went shooting into the stars as this weeks Star Baker.

In the end, it was the nightmare before Christmas for Val, who’s soggy bottoms, seeping onions and squishy swirls saw her leave the tent behind. Although she was a ‘great character’ the judges thought it was time. The nations hearts skipped a beat as she promised to always stir a little love into her recipes.

Oh Val, we love you too.

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Blooming marvellous!

It’s Botanical Week next time on the Great British Bake Off. With Hollywood’s herby bread challenge, marvellous meringues and a flourishing floral finale, it’s time to forget that it’s Fall and embrace the battle of the flowers.

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Sophie Johnson, 28, Proud mummy of Bea, 4, Expert Baker, loves all things cake, UKE’s resident baker.

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