BLOG: Former Great British Bake Off contestant Kate Henry gives her verdict on pastry week... and she's getting a little distracted by the gorgeous Tamal. Aren't we all!
It’s pastry week!
I loved this week on my series. I managed to get star baker and so it is especially close to my heart. I am celebrating with a slightly warm sparkling wine I found languishing at the back of my drinks cupboard. It tastes pretty rank.
The first challenge is frangipane tarts. I love a frangipane. I filmed one a couple of weeks ago with Chetna from last year’s show. If you scroll down you can watch it.
Oh Flora, don’t trim your pastry before you bake it. It’s basic pastry rules. Why don’t you know this? Look, they are all at it. This is anarchy.
Alvin fannies about with plums and Paul is making a Christmas themed tart which does sound good.
Tamal’s also sounds good but I’ve already forgotten what’s in it as I’ve started drowning in the deep pools of his eyes.
Alvin looks worried (he always looks worried though) and is struggling to roll out his pastry. I’m disappointed in the skill levels this week.
Flora is making extra things again. This time its Amaretti biscuits. She’s not convinced. Neither am I.
Paul says he’s going for underdone rather than overdone, whilst Flora has gone for overdone. In fact, she’s gone for burnt. Luckily she has those Amaretti to cover up any incriminating bits.
Tamal is celebrating his tin release (it’s the little things in life) and the judges love his tart. They don’t think it’s very beautiful but luckily he is and his tart tastes ‘delicious’.
Nadiya’s looks very professional but has a soggy bottom. Mat’s looks OK, but the pastry is doughy and the taste is bland.
Flora hasn’t impressed with her Amaretti biscuits or the burnt bits on her tart and Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry have a scuffle over whether it is overbaked and bitter or not overbaked and not bitter.
Paul did exactly what he intended to do and his tart is indeed under-baked, so that’s good then.
Alvin has had a bad morning, his pastry is overcooked and his frangipane is raw.
Along comes the technical challenge and it’s another thing no one has ever heard of ‘Flaounas’ from Cyprus. They are basically a yeasted pastry (like a Danish) but with a savoury filling.
Slender Mat is showing signs of body dysmorphia as he worries about his figure and all the bakers appear flummoxed. They seem to be getting confused between bread and pastry and there is a worrying amount of kneading going on. ‘Ooooh stupid.’ Says Tamal and I have to agree.
Flora rightly apologises to the people of Cyprus.
At judging time there is a lot of giggling.
‘The universe has beaten me back down’ says Tamal as he comes last and Mat gets the top spot.
The rain arrives again with showstopper day. And it’s the 70’s classic vol au vents. I pause the action on the TV so I can rummage in my drawers (oooh er) for a celebratory cocktail umbrella to liven up my drink, while I hear Paul and Mary comment from the other room that the Judging is getting difficult as none of the bakers are consistent.
Brolly in place I feel a little more cheery as Tamal gives us a short lesson on puff pastry, informing us that we must very gently roll the dough so as not to squish the butter layer into the pastry too much – cut to Alvin who is seen battering his butter into the dough with all his might.
Ian is doing a neat job. But has decided to make a squid ink filling that his wife didn’t like when she tasted it. ‘Jet black food is a little bit risqué.’ Yes. It is. And it looks like tar.
Mat has decided to try to please his wife (very wise move) with her favourite smoked trout and horseradish. Flora is making a chocolate pastry dough which might make it difficult to rise but I love the idea.
Ian and Nadiya’s butter is a bit lumpy and Nadiya decides to start again with hardly any time left while Mat soldiers on.
‘That’s what they are getting now. I don’t have time to start again.’ Very wise Mat. Just go with it.
Paul’s aren’t rising straight. Tamal’s are melting in the oven. So are Nadiya’s.
This is a bit rubbish. I don’t think any of them could be described as showstoppers. Did I mention I was disappointed?
They all look a bit rubbish. Apart from Mat’s. They love Mat’s.
The judges like most of the bakers’ flavours apart from Ian’s whose tarry pots of uneven pastry do not impress.
Nadiya has had a total disaster but somehow this is overlooked because her fillings taste good. But this is bake off. Not Masterchef.
Alvin’s are raw but again the filing is delicious.
In the end, sweet worried Alvin leaves the tent, and slimmer of the week Mat is awarded star baker.
The moral of the story is always do what your wife wants and everything can be improved with a cocktail brolly.