It’s pastry week in The Great British Bake Off tent, leading Brits everywhere to question why anyone would bother to make puff pastry. I certainly don’t know anyone that does. Although I take this opinion of many of the technical challenges… quit faffing and just pop to the shops!
But I digress. After a rather painful joke about the Life of Pi, involving Noel dressed as a tiger, the show hit its stride as the bakers were tasked with creating four savoury pies, each decorated differently but with a cohesive theme. These themes ranged from video games to science, an eclectic mix of inspirational people including John Lennon and Shakespeare, and love. Awww.
Unlike last week, there were no Hollywood handshakes (perhaps Paul is aware how quickly they lose their value), or Fielding fondles awarded to the bakers. However, Sophie scored “a proper Prue pat”.
Julia’s loosely themed ‘things that you find on a tree’ pies failed to impress the judges, while Noel was disappointed at the lack of pastry monkey. Julia did, however, include pastry grapes on her pie leading to a few raised eyebrows – they grow on vines, duh. Side note: I definitely didn’t google that to double-check vines weren’t a type of tree. Wikipedia says no.
Yan also struggled, with delicious pastry, but a dry and overcooked filling, although her biggest concern was “now people will think I can’t make pies, I can so make pies”.
On to the technical, whipping up 12 pasteis de natas – also known as Portuguese custard tarts. Do you think Paul and Prue actually make the technical? Or do they have a minion follow the recipe?
The word tarts inevitably lead to numerous innuendos including “you have one minute to finish your tarts off,” and “I’m filling my tarts now”. Oo-er missus. Although this has nothing on the Dr Oetker cupcake screaming “make it rain” in the ad break.
For everyone (like Liam) who doesn’t know what a Portuguese custard tart is, they’re the delicious-looking things at Nando’s – you know, the ones in the glass dome at the till, taunting you before you’ve even had some chicken… those things.
It was the rolling and shaping of the pastry that stumped most of the bakers, with Stacey and Liam rolling their rough puff the wrong way, leading to fewer layers. Julia’s was overworked and Kate straight up burnt her tarts. Yan and Sophie triumphed, coming first and second respectively.
This week’s showstopper seems familiar – we’ve seen bakers in previous seasons challenged to make hot water pastry pies. However, the fact that they were supposed to be hand-raised led to confusion among the bakers: are you allowed to use the inside of a tin to shape them or not? It remains a mystery.
Yan’s philosophy on pie – adding fruit, so you feel less guilty when eating “a great big fatty pie” – is something I can definitely get behind. I’m hoping a side of sweet potatoes fries has the same effect on a burger. Her checkerboard pie filling impressed the judges, as did Kate’s potato and onion curry pie. Out of all of them, this is the one I would have eaten.
But it was Liam who knocked the competition out of the water with his Nan’s Sunday dinner pie, complete with goat and plantain. Paul proclaimed Liam’s grandma, Cynthia, to be a genius, describing the pie as succulent, juicy and “crazy good”. It was heart-warming to watch Liam be crowned star baker for his efforts, particularly after the trials and tribulations of the previous week.
Steven didnt fare as well. His Christmas pie, although perfectly formed, was “a bit of a let-down” with a bland filling. Stacey’s, meanwhile, tasted good, but as Prue said “looks homemade” – a very diplomatic way of saying it was incredibly wonky and partially collapsed on one side. Perhaps Prue is taking a leaf out of Mary’s book, trying not to be quite so harsh.
Julia rounded off a troublesome week with a true feat – a pie whose filling was overcooked while the pastry was undercooked. It was this misdemeanour which saw her become the sixth baker to exit the tent, leading to a surprisingly emotional Sandi who nearly cried when announcing this.
But I reckon it should have been Stacey who went home. She fed the judges baking parchment! They wouldn’t stand for this on MasterChef.
Here’s my thoughts on this week’s episode:
Most likely to win: Sophie
Who should have been sent home: Stacey
Most fun to watch: Liam
Quote of the week: “Get in! Yes Nan!” - Liam