This week is pastry week. The signature challenge was an open-topped frangipane tart made with shortcrust pastry, and a topping of the baker’s choice. For the uninitiated, frangipane is not only Paul Hollywood’s porn name, but also an almond cream that tastes like hell and when the day of my Glorious Rule dawns, will be banned from baked goods forever.
The seven contestants all declared themselves to be lacking in confidence, and Mary Berry said they needed to avoid a soggy bottom. Those playing the #GBBO cliché drinking game knocked back two shots of amaretto and then spat them out because ALMOND FLAVOURED STUFF IS VILE.
Alvin chose to make a plum frangipane tart; having decided against poaching his plums, he remained confident they would look nice fanned on top of a tart. Those viewers also playing the #GBBO innuendo drinking game were now lying in an alcoholic coma underneath the sofa. Ian confided to Sue that he was using eggs from his own guinea fowl. Hey, he’s Lord Grantham! Flora made a tart with apricot and rosemary. Perhaps she was planning on stuffing it into a leg of lamb later. Paul pronounced it both burned and bitter. Miserable sod. For good measure, he informed Alvin his plums were uncooked. Alvin looked crushed, as well he might.
There was a dull bit in Denby Dale where Sue stood in a field whilst a local bore informed her that there was a pie buried somewhere underneath it. Sue heroically managed to look interested.
Back in the tent, It was Technical Challenge time, this week Cyprus’ answer to a Greggs Cheese ‘n’ Onion pasty, the Flaouna. Apparently they’re like a cheesy scone, sometimes with sultanas in. Everyone looked puzzled, and gagged when they smelled an ingredient that I think was called Masticate. Mastick? Masturbate. Whatever, nobody had a clue. They all schlumped up to the judging table with their cheese and sultana offerings; frankly I thought they did a bang up job but of course Paul thought otherwise. Looking more and more like a badger recently introduced to VO5 Mega Hold gel, he grudgingly admitted “that could just about pass as a flaouna,” to Mat, who was declared the winner. Big up to Mat, eh Paul?
Finally, Showstopper time, this week all about vol-au-vents. Why, Mary, why? The 1970s was a god-awful decade, not least because all the food was foul. Maybe the BBC was hoping for a wodge of sponsorship cash from Iceland.
Anyhoo, the contestants had to make 24 of two different vol-au-vent flavours. Mary referred frequently to the requirement for creating distinctive lairs. What, like a James Bond villain? Oh. Layers. As you were. Mat went for what he termed a Full English: “a fancy dinner party kind of vol-au-vont.” Mat, love. You’re not starring in Abigail’s Party. Ian went for mushroom vol-au-vents, and scallops and squid ink. “They look, er, interesting,” grimaced Paul. Flora made chocolate vol-au-vents stuffed with ganache, and some with asparagus and parma ham. Nadiya plumped for korma and quail’s egg, and another with cod and clementine, which sounded revolting but Paul said was “amazing”. I’ll take his word for it. Everybody heaved and puffed and sweated and bashed and rolled and folded. Seriously people, just buy some Jus-Rol. Nobody with a brain makes their own puff pastry. Alvin made a bollocks of it. Mat won star baker. Alvin got the boot. He was gracious and grateful to the last. “I feel like I’m leaving the tent a better man.” Aw, bless.
Next week is all about recipes from the past, which I’m guessing means they’ll have to bake something like sheep’s head roulade decorated with peasants’ fingers. We’ll see.