Pasties, Pastries, and Problems

The Great British Baking Show | Netflix | W5: Pastry Week

Edible architecture? Flaky golden crusts? It’s pastry week in the tent, and this marks the halfway point of the competition; several bakers say they’ve been looking forward to this. Will they – and their pastries – avoid soggy bottoms and rise to the occasion?

Signature Challenge

First up: the bakers must make their version “of the Cornish national dish, the pasty” (and that’s “past-ee”, not “paste-ee”). They’re tasked with making 8 pasties with any pastry or filling, in any shape, at least 15mm long. What are pasties, exactly? They’re basically meat pies; kind of like a Jamaican beef patty as we know them in the US. The bakers get to work and come up with some interesting flavors – including Peter’s smoked haddock and boiled egg pasty, and Lottie’s “toad in the hole” pasty. Here’s how they turned out!

When judging, the number of crimps in the dough was called out for some bakers, as well as how dry the fillings were. Overall the bakers seemed to do much better than the previous challenges; Paul and Prue had great things to say to several bakers, including Mark and Hermine.

Technical Challenge

Prue’s eclairs

The challenge, set by Prue, is to make 3 raspberry and 3 salted caramel eclairs in 2 hours 15 minutes. Making choux pastry and creme pat for the eclairs are precise tasks, and things can very easily go wrong – especially since the bakers have a pared down recipe.

There’s some trial and error in this challenge, as the bakers aren’t told how long to bake the pastry, and some people – like Marc, Linda and Lottie – have some trouble off the bat. Linda re-makes her pastry and hopes she’ll have time to bake it again…

Some other bakers have trouble with the fillings and toppings, then filling their eclairs. This challenge really looks tough, across the board, and no one seems too confident with their work, as per usual!

Here’s how the bakers’ work turned out:

Linda comes in last place, Mark in third, Hermine in second, and Peter in first!

Showstopper Challenge

The showstopper challenge, as Noel puts it, is to create “An exquisite sweet tart, contained within an intricately-latticed pastry cage” that must be free standing. Caged tarts? Sure, why not?! Prue says the bakers’ tarts should be really luscious – the kind of tart you want to eat a whole lot of but shouldn’t. As usual, the bakers’ designs are quite ambitious – there are intricate weaves on the various cages and flavors that run the gamut. Linda says she’s making a gypsy tart, and Noel says it was his favorite dessert, but that he hasn’t seen one since he was in school. Bless!

The cages that Mark and Linda make unfortunately break; Mark is able to somewhat salvage something, but Linda was not. Here’s how the caged tarts turned out:

Dave does well, as does Hermine; though Paul breaks her cage when he lifts it, the judges love her tart and cage. They give compliments to Laura, Lottie and Peter, but Mark and Linda come up short.

The judges deliberate and Paul says it’s “painfully” close for who will be eliminated this week as there are several options. Ultimately, Matt announces this week’s Star Baker: Laura! Her caged tart really looked incredible. Noel announces who will be leaving the competition this week: it’s Linda, who really did struggle with each of the week’s challenges. She says she’s proud of herself (she should be!) and all of the bakers breathe a sigh of relief until their next trio of baking challenges… M

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