The Great British Bake Off – episode five


Week five, and it’s the dreaded pastry week.  We kicked off with the signature challenge: Danish pastries. Two different types, 24 pastries in total.  My colleague Beth is fond of the occasional Danish pastry for breakfast, which she reasons is “mostly air” and therefore does not weigh particularly heavily on the calorific front.  I like this opinion.

Back in the tent, Cambridge-educated engineer Andrew manfully deployed his ruler (not a euphemism).  He measured precisely his pear and chocolate pinwheels and did something complicated with, er, right angles. I’m a bit hazy when it comes to Geometry, not considering it half as important as reading Philip Larkin when I was at school.  I like this opinion too.

Anyway, I missed the rest of this bit due to doing something important involving a cork and a bottle, but I can report that there was a lot of “good lamination” from Paul and “I’m not getting any ginger” from Mary.  A lot of stuff wasn’t cooked, which Val attempted to style out by pretending her family ate raw pastry on a regular basis.  Bad luck, Val’s family. Paul remarked that Benjamina’s butter had exploded (also not a euphemism – this week was stuffed with them).   Candice did well, which after her tears last week was particularly cheering.

The technical challenge was to make a Bakewell tart.  Crushingly for those of us over the age of 40 *ahem*, the young ‘uns looked puzzled, and claimed never to have heard of them. “What’s the top of one meant to look like?” enquired Andrew. Ouch.  Val, meanwhile, declared that she made Bakewell tarts all the time, and proceeded to ignore the admittedly fairly sketchy instructions, because of this superior knowledge. Brave move, Val.  Back at Andrew’s station, he couldn’t understand why his tart wasn’t baking. BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T SWITCHED YOUR OVEN ON, ANDREW.  Andrew works as an aerospace engineer designing jet engines for Rolls-Royce, people.    Jane won the challenge, and Val looked at her darkly.  Val is a former primary school teacher, and looks the sort who would have made her own dunce’s hat and placed it on some unfortunate pupil’s head every half hour.

Finally, the showstopper, which this week comprised filo pastry amuses bouches.  For the uninitiated, these are placed, with an entirely unnecessary flourish, in front of you in smart restaurants, and which you eat not because you want them “today the chef has made a celeriac and goat’s ear blancmange with whisky soil and a hint of armpit sweat” but because they’re free and you’re frightened of the waiter.

Rav made chocolate samosas – WHY? – Andrew made deconstructed baklavas, Tom made chocolate steak – seriously, WTF? – and Candice told us that “it’s good to get a handful of sausage.”  I’m just going to leave that remark there, without comment.  Jane made filo cones which looked delicious.  Paul wasn’t amused (see what I did there?)  “Those aren’t amuse bouches. They’re too big.” Paul tasted one.  “They’re delicious.” Told ya.

Candice did extremely well (Star Baker) and then Rav nervously produced his prawns. “That’s just the sort of surprise I like before a meal,” declared Mary.  Anyone following the GBBO Innuendo Bingo game knocked back a triple and slumped to the floor.

Val was sent home, possibly with a note about doing her homework.

Next week it’s botanicals. Knowing Mary’s fondness for a tipple, the person who uses gin in all three rounds will probably win.






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