Last week, the bakers went into a frenzy over Festival Week. It still had all the fun of your average festival, and probably a similar amount of cleaning up after! In the end, Henry stole Steph’s Star Baker crown and Michael left the tent- don’t think I’ve fully recovered from that one, either!
This week, as usual, I sat down to watch Pastry Week unfold. It was as difficult as you can imagine at this stage and just as exciting!
I wasn’t really sure of Alice at the start. I think, like you do with the contestants at the start, I prejudged them and got it into my head what we saw on the first week was the contestants. Of course, as the competition has got closer and closer to the finals, I’ve learnt that they’re actually all so lovely. That’s why it’s so difficult for me to pick favourites as it goes on. That being said, I think Henry is really funny and I really like Alice, too. To be fair, I actually like all of the bakers this year.
Pastry Week began with the Signature Challenge, which saw the bakers make a savoury tarte tatin. My first thought was that sounds disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, I do like savoury things but I just feel like some things should just be sweet, as the original recipe intended. The key to this, apparently, is caramelisation and Paul and Prue were looking for pastry that was light, flaky and golden brown.
(They don’t ask for much at all!)
I just felt like the bakers combinations in this challenge were kind of, dare I say it, boring. You wouldn’t really have thought we were so close to the finals, something which was reflected in the tasting. Most of the bakers produced something that was either too wet or too dry but, where the execution was lack lustre, the bakers made up for it with flavour.
Onto the Technical! The bakers had to make a nicely spiced, evenly cooked Moroccan pie (which I didn’t realise was a thing!). It sounded kind of easy, until you thought about the fact that it was made of brick pastry (I guess it’s kind of similar to filo) and it was cooked on a kind of pan. In the end, there were a few disasters. Last week’s Star Baker, Henry, came last and (finally!!) David won a technical challenge.
The Showstopper was a vertical pie. I’m not sure why but whatever floats Bake Off’s boat I guess! There was a treehouse, a fish pie, a dragon and a chandelier (I’ve forgotten what the other one was!). Rosie’s design impressed, but the pastry was too thick and the filling was dry. Alice’s design was ‘exceptional’, but the pastry was tough and dry. David’s design was intricate though his pastry needed to be baked a bit longer and his filling was over seasoned and dry. Steph impressed with both her lovely, neat design and her delicious flavours. Henry’s pastry was raw and thick, with a dry filling and the idea impressed but Paul and Prue (mainly Paul!!) thought the execution was poor.
I was supposed to write this post yesterday but, aside from being busy, I delayed posting because I couldn’t comprehend the result. Totally dramatic but a few people on Twitter agree with my view so it must be true, right?
Anyway…this week’s Star Baker was….Steph! I mean, at this point, I’m really not surprised. She’s incredibly talented and, up to now, hasn’t put a foot wrong. Now here’s the really sad part. After triumphing last week, the Star Baker curse hit as it was Henry who left the tent.
I was furiously texting my friend at that point, outraged. I think Henry was not only a lovely person, he produced great bakes. Unfortunately, when you couple the pressure of this stage of the competition and a couple of mishaps, I think it was Henry’s time to go. Of course, like all the bakers, I’m looking forward to seeing what Henry gets up to after the show.
I’m still on the job hunt. Of course, I’ll be back next week to talk all things Bake Off. My post is done, darlings!