This week on The Great British Baking Show, the five remaining bakers are competing in the quarter finals, “Pastry Week.” They will face three pastry-themed challenges to compete for the title of Star Baker and to avoid being eliminated from the competition. This week was mostly a disaster and ended with a surprise elimination. Read on to find out what happened!
For the Signature Challenge, the bakers were given two hours to bake a batch of 12 sweet vol-au-vents. The judges asked for a sweet take on the usually savory snack and wanted them to be made from flaky rough puff pastry.
Syabira alone did well in this challenge. She made orange and mandarin cream cheese vol-au-vents, topped with pecan praline. The judges liked the look of them, as they had a lovely height. They thought the flavors were delicious and that the cream cheese was nice and light. However, her pastry was a little doughy in the middle and could have done with a couple of minutes longer in the oven.
Janusz made strawberries and cream vol-au-vents. He had originally intended to fill his pastry with crème patissiere but it ended up gloopy, so it was substituted with whipped cream. His whipped cream was topped with liqueur-glazed strawberries. The judges thought they looked attractive, but it was a bit boring in flavor. The pastry was too dry, pale, and was still a little raw inside.
Abdul made coconut and berry vol-au-vents which contained berry compote and coconut crème patissiere. The pastry was dipped in dark chocolate, and it was topped with strawberry flowers. His pastry wasn’t as tall as it should have been and all the butter had leaked out in the oven, leaving it dry. The judges also thought that he had used too many flavors, leaving the taste muddled.
Sandro made key lime cheesecake vol-au-vents which contained lime jam, lime crème patissiere, lime cream cheese icing and a ginger biscuit. His pastries leaked a lot of butter in the oven and ended up flat. He had also accidentally not pre-heated his oven, so he was rushing at the end of the challenge. This meant his fillings became soft and a little runny as he was piping them into warm pastry, and they looked a mess. Both his pastry and his ginger biscuit were overbaked, but the judges thought his flavors were amazing.
Maxy baked vol-au-vents that contained Chantilly cream, cloudberry jam, gooseberry jam, and were topped with elderflower-soaked berries. Rather than using cold butter like the rest of the bakers for her pastry, she used room temperature butter and then chilled it afterwards, which had worked for her in practice. However, it didn’t seem to work for her in this bake, as most of her butter leaked out in the oven and her pastry went wonky. The judges pointed out that they were irregular in size, height, and color. Her jams were delicious but unfortunately, she had a large band of raw pastry at the bottom of her bake. The judges were just left with the overwhelming taste of raw pastry.
For the Technical Challenge, the bakers were given one hour and 20 minutes to make eight spring rolls using a recipe that they had never seen before. The judges were expecting spring rolls with crispy deep-fried pastry and served alongside a dipping sauce. The judges ranked the bakes from worst to best in a blind judging, not knowing which spring rolls belonged to which baker.
The main difficulty within this challenge was for the bakers to work out how much water to put into their pastry dough. If they put too much water in, there would be huge and ugly bubbles in their pastry once it was fried. The dough needed to be mostly smooth with few bubbles, crispy, and contain a nice mixture of the fillings inside.
Maxy came in last place, as her spring rolls were too small. She did not put enough filling in and so there was too much pastry compared to filling, which made her rolls stodgy. They did taste alright though.
Syabira came in fourth because she had put too much water in her dough. Her pastry had lots of large bubbles. She also had not fried her pastry for long enough and so her pastry was still a little raw. The flavor of her fillings was good though and her dipping sauce was nice. Abdul had a similar problem and came in third as his pastry was crispy but had quite a few large air bubbles. He had also put too much mushroom in the filling.
Janusz came in second as he had a few large air holes, but his spring rolls were crispy and his sauce was good. However, he only presented seven spring rolls instead of eight. He was very confused about where his other spring roll had gone as he was adamant that he had baked eight.
This left Sandro in first place. His pastry was very good and beautifully thin and crispy. He had a nice blend of fillings, and his sauce was delicious.
For the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers were asked to bake a 3D pie scene inspired by their favorite childhood story or nursery rhyme. The bakers could produce sweet or savory pies, but they had to produce at least eight. The judges had been disappointed by the pastry offerings so far and so were expecting the pastry to be the star of the show.
Syabira, once again, did well in this challenge. Her scene was inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk, with pies including Jack, the Giant and his castle, and the beanstalk in a two-tiered design. She used hot oil pastry and had two flavors which were chicken rendang and Malaysian curry. The judges thought her pastry was clever, as it was very solid for construction. The pastry was buttery and flaky. They also loved the flavor of the fillings and thought her pies were well packed. However, her chicken rendang pies were a little dry.
Abdul also did quite well with his Treasure Island inspired pies. He made two kinds of short crust pastry for his pies which included apple and blackberry crumble pies and aubergine and potato curry pies. His shapes included an island, a pirate ship, a chest, and an octopus. The judges thought they were a little rough looking but effective. They loved his flavors, particularly the aubergine, and his pastry was short and crispy. The judges were surprised by his simple but effective pies.
Janusz made pies inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar but did a spin on it to honor his sausage dog, Nigel. He made a variety of pies which included a sausage meat sausage dog pie, salmon and spinach fish-shaped pie, apple-shaped apple pies, and dauphinoise potato cheese-shaped pies. They loved his dauphinoise potato pies and liked the flavor of the apple pie, although the mixture could have been wetter. His salmon pie tasted lovely, but the pastry could have been shaped better to look more like a fish. The judges liked the flavor of the sausage pie but didn’t like that there was a large gap between the filling and the pastry. So he received very mixed feedback on almost every pie that he made!
Sandro was also inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar and made a spicy chorizo and beef caterpillar pie. He also made lots of other pies representing the food that the caterpillar ate which included fruit-filled pies, chocolate pastry for a chocolate bar, and actual ice cream. His scene looked attractive although the pastry on the caterpillar had cracked. They liked the flavor of the caterpillar but sadly the pastry was underbaked and soft and dry inside. The pastry for his cherry pies was very tough. The judges loved his ice cream and his flavors, but sadly he was let down by the pastry, which is unfortunate in “Pastry Week.”
Maxy made a scene inspired by the nursey rhyme Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. She made two types of pastries: star-shaped shortcrust pastries with spiced chicken and cloud-shaped shortcrust pastries with crème legere and fresh berries. These accompanied her filo pastry half-globe which was filled with curry. She was very ambitious to try to make filo pastry and sadly it did not pay off. It wasn’t flaky and needed to be baked for longer. It also looked very messy. The judges liked the star pastries, but they said it needed something else to go with it. They really liked the cloud pastries, as the mixture of the pastry and the crème legere was delicious, but they didn’t contain enough fruit.
The Star Baker this week was not much of a surprise, with Syabira winning for the third week in a row. She has established herself as the one to beat in this competition.
This week Maxy was eliminated. This was a bit of a shock, as I was sure she was going to be in the final three due to her strong performance up until now. Unfortunately, pastry seemed to be her downfall as this week was a bit of a disaster for her.
Baking Show Best Bits
Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!
- The many pronunciations of mangetout in the Technical Challenge.
- Sandro convincing host Noel that one of his pie fillings was cherry and paprika and getting Noel to eat a cherry dipped in paprika powder.
Next week, the bakers will compete in the semi-finals: “Patisserie Week.” Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!