The Bake Off Blog: Week Five – Pastry Week

It’s another dramatic episode, and is tent-side.

3:00 – Things get off to a typically filthy start – Mel’s promise of a “technical tart” doesn’t bear too much thinking about. Minds out of the gutter though: the Signature this week is everybody’s favourite breakfast treat – Danish pastries!

11:00 – There’s disappointingly conservative flavours on the whole, with a few notable exceptions. Candice is giving a croque monsieur Danish a go, but burning the bacon isn’t the best start. Tom’s granola themed Danish is experimental, but sounds disgusting. Selasi on the other hand is so pleased with his “Ghanian pastries” that they deserve a fist pump, and Paul is munching on his ingredients!

13:00 – Val is at it again with her anthropomorphic baking produce. “Bless them,” she says in an indulgent aside, “they’re going to have ten minutes.” She then proceeds to garrotte her pastry with dental floss, so mixed messages really.

23:00 – It turns out Tom’s granola Danishes were just as awful as they sounded, while Jane wins acclaim for some pastries which from their appearance you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. Candice’s pastries are so good that Mel is running off with six of them – if only the perk of free Danish pastries was enough to make her stay! Val’s pastries are undercooked, which is the way she likes them apparently. Paul’s heard this all before and simply stares her down.

25:00 – Time for that “technical tart,” of the Bakewell variety. I can never tell the difference between a Bakewell tart and Bakewell pudding, but let’s hope this isn’t a problem for the bakers. Meanwhile Paul is calling Mary ‘Bezza’, which is frankly terrifying.

26:00 – In an unfortunate oversight Val forgot to read half of the recipe, so she’s just decided to make it up as she goes along. Bad things tend to happen to bakers who ignore the recipe in the Technical, but apparently Val makes a Bakewell tart every week, so she should be fine, shouldn’t she?

31:00 – Rookie Error of the Week: Andrew peers at the oven, muttering “it’s not looking very cooked.” This is because he’s forgotten to turn the oven on. “That’s unfortunate,” he says in desperate understatement.

34:00 – The Technical has actually gone surprisingly well, with most bakers making very nice tarts. Rav’s slumped Bakewell is last, followed by I-Cook-Bakewell-Tarts-Every-Week Val. Andrew tops them both, proving that he is a superior baker even when he forgets to turn his oven on. Jane is first, Candice second.

37:00 – This week’s showstopper is a selection of filo pastry amuse-bouche. I haven’t a clue either, but Paul is insistent that each pastry should be no more than a mouthful. Val has the audacity to make a pastry which will take two bites to consume, but she reassures Paul that these are delicate mouthfuls rather than “Yorkshire gobfulls,” which I must say is a relief.

41:00 – Andrew is making baklava, but will they be as good as the ones from the Ciao Ciao on Silver Street? Judging by the way he describes his pastry as “wet” and “slack”, probably not.

48:00 – Jane is making filo cones, which sounds like a lovely idea until they start falling down like bowling pins as she attempts to get them in the oven. Andrew’s filling is seeping out of his pastry, which looks like the baking equivalent of what Tena call an “oops moment”. Nobody is quite sure what’s going on with Val’s pastry, but it doesn’t look good.

54:00 – At the end of this bake Val and Tom have bombed and are in danger of imminent departure. My money was on Rav leaving after the incident with the collapsing tart, but he’s saved himself with some beautiful pastries that demonstrate his characteristically on point flavours. Jane and Candice have come out on top, although I can’t help but be irritated by her self-consciously Instagram-able habit of putting her bakes in baskets with cutesy signs or on vintage weighing scales.

56:00 – Candice bags Star Baker, and Val gets the chop. It’s very sad to see her go, but her departure this week was inevitable and (if we’re honest) long overdue. Paul says that “her character was fantastic in the tent,” which is a nice way of saying that she comes across as completely insane. We’ll miss her.

See you next week for another ‘Bake Off’ first: Botanical Week. Will it be a case of flower power or will the bakes look wilted and sad? You’ll have to wait until 8pm next Wednesday to find out!

Photograph: Matt Barber 

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