The Great British Baking Show Season 4 Recap: Pastry Week

The Great British Baking Show goes back to the usual challenge after a very meta week. Now it’s Pastry Time.

This week, the birds outside the tent are singing. It’s pastry week, and let’s hope our bakers aren’t winging it with the puffs. At least, not for the Signature, which features the best meal of the day: breakfast!

With eight bakers left, there are twenty-four pastries to be made: 12 of two different kinds. Danishes are, obviously, mandatory. Some danishes are plain, some are pinwheels. Jane is doing two completely different doughs, one that will be cinnamon and chocolate based. And of course, there’s butter, butter everywhere, but not a drop for tea.

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Let’s see what everyone made:

  • Val Pecan & Maple Syrup Pinwheels/Apple, Sultana & Cinnamon Swirls Fail. Underdone.
  • Selasi Rhubarb, Mango & Ginger Plait/Pineapple & Coconut Pinwheels Half Pass. First is underdone, the other is perfect.
  • Tom Mega Breakfast Bonanzas/Granola Spirals & Wheat Foldovers Fail. Dry and Raw
  • Rav Cinnamon Swirls/Pecan, Walnut & Maple Plaits Fail. Dry, Miscounted, but the nuts are delicious
  • Andrew Mum & Dad’s Breakfast Pastries Pass, barely. Both taste amazing, but they’re all too thin.
  • Benjamina ‘Good Morning America’ Swirls/Peanut Butter & Banana Pinwheels Fail. She didn’t prove them, butter leaked out and they’re raw.
  • Jane Orange Pain aux Raisins Secs/Raspberry Chocolate & Almond Danish Pass. Well baked, great flavors.
  • Candice Danish Pastry Croque Monsieur Kites/Cinnamon Apple, Vanilla Créme Rose Danish Pass. Well baked, though dry, fabulous flavors. Mel steals an entire handful.

With half of the bakers having failed, it’s time to move onto the Technical Challenge, in which Mary demands “sheer perfection” in their bakes. That’s because the bakers are making the famous “Bakewell tart”, which I assume the Americans are frantically googling the moment Sue says that. Basically picture a tart covered in almond filling, with jam in the center. Soggy bottoms, ho!

Thankfully everyone in the tent has heard of them. Jane’s even made one. (Candice doesn’t say if she made one, but notes her Gran loves them.) Benjamina and Selasi look enviously on, assuming the oldest ones in the room will beat them on this “retro” baking challenge. But Val, it turns out failed to read the instructions and is totally making a Bakewell tart as she sees fit, not as they tell her to.

That should go well, right?

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8. Rav: Last Place Rav strikes again! “Collapsed goo” says Paul.
7. Val: She didn’t come in last, despite the soggy bottom! Thank heavens for Rav, eh?
6. Andrew: Icing unfinished.
5. Benjamina: No feathering, but perfectly thin.
4. Tom: A bit thick and melty.
3. Selasi: Good flavor but the visual was wrong.
2. Candice: Neat enough, but the frangipane is underdone
1. Jane: Practically Perfect.

Going into the Showstopper, Jane and Candice are neck and neck for the Star Baker title this week. Rav basically needs a miracle, with is to say, he needs Val to crash and burn.

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The Showstopper is a Phyllo dough challenge (or as the British spell it, filo.) They are to make 48 “amuse-bouche”, two sets of twenty four each. Is that Amuse-bouches? Or Amuses-bouche? Whatever, 48 little Phyllo dough appetizers, either cup shaped or pouched formed. Jane, being an overachiever, brought cone shaped molds. Of course she did. One set should be sweet filled and the other should be savory filled, both with tasty filling. (Because who makes non-tasty filling on Bake Off?)

We should remind our audience once again, as we do every time Phyllo challenges happen, that Food Network actually tells their bakers at home to just use store bought, don’t make your own. These bakers are not offered said supermarket option. So first they make it, then they have to measure out 48 equal shapes to fill. On you marks, get set, RULERS OUT.

Let’s see how amused the bouches and who wound up with tasteless smooshes.

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Benjamina’s Plantain & Spinach Samosas/Chai Pear Cups Both her offerings are pronounced tasty, with high marks for the plantains.

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Selasi’s Parma Ham, Asparagus and Cheese Filo Cigars/Coffee Cream Filo Cups The Ham and Asparagus are too dry. The coffee and cream needed a touch more butter.

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Andrew’s Spicy Chorizo Squash Parcels/Baklava Bites Tiny and perfect.

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Tom’s Yin and Yang Amuse-bouche Great visuals despite being informal, but way too big. Paul doesn’t think they go together.

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Jane’s Roquefort, Fig & Walnut Parcels/Cherry & Chocolate Cones They’re too big, but Paul loves how different they are, and the flavors are lovely.

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Val’s Caramelised Red Onion, Goat’s Cheese Tartlets/Mincemeat & Apple Spiced Parcels Hey, remember that crash and burn Rav needed? Val provides! What made it on the plate is underdone. The rest are in the oven.

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Candice’s Sausage, Black Pudding & Apple Rounds/Banoffee Whiskey Cups The flavors are amazing, and the sizes are not only perfect, but uniform.

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Rav’s Chinese-Style Prawn Filo Tartlets/Spiced White Chocolate & Hazelnut Samosas They look amazing, and you can see Paul and Mary rooting for the flavors to have come out and Rav save himself. And he has.

As Candice heads back to her station Jane whispers “Staaaaar baker!” at her. It was between the two of them and Candice indeed outbaked Jane. As for going home, since Rav saved himself, while Val crashed and burned there’s only one answer. Good thing Val made those good Yorkshire puddings last week, so she can return home.

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