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GBBO episode five: 'Pear-shaped' pastries

03 SEPTEMBER 2014 Following the Great British Bake Off’s 'Bin-gate' drama last week involving Iain's melted Baked Alaska, it was later revealed that fellow contestant, Diana Beard, was forced to quit the show due to health reasons.

In the opening of episode five's Pastry Week, Diana’s departure was revealed to the other baking hopefuls making everyone in the tent question- will anyone leave GBBO this week?

Putting their worries aside, the contestants were asked to make a family sized tart for the signature challenge in two and a half hours.

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"It’s all about texture," explained Paul Hollywood, as he highlighted that he wanted to see a crispy base with beautiful, silky custard.

The culinarians' flavours ranged from Martha’s apricot tart with pistachio pastry, to Nancy's chocolate crusted passion fruit tart, to Kate’s rhubarb and custard tart.

Luis took an unusual take on the tart challenge, deciding to make a tropical Manchester tart using passion fruit, orange, lime and mango puree, while Richard opted to create a poached fig and orange tart.

A custard tart must be blind baked in order to avoid leaking and the edges of the case should be delicately trimmed whilst hot. A steady hand is vital, but with the pressure on to create perfect signature bakes, the nerves got the better of several of the bakers.

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In the end, Nancy's shallow bake and Norman's sharp citrus flavours impressed the judges while firm-favourite Richard's lack of a steady hand disappointed the judges, as did Chetna's weak flavours.

For the baker's technical challenge later that day, the hopefuls were asked to create Paul's recipe of mini pear pies in two hours.

The pears were to be perfectly poached, surrounded by spirals of rough puff pastry and baked until golden brown.

Paul explained that it was essential that the pears were cooled while the dough is chilled, as hot pears would result in the pastry slipping off.

"It's a difficult challenge, but we're here to challenge them," joked the famous baker.

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The poaching liquid, made of white wine, sugar, orange zest and cinnamon tested the bakers as the pears should not be poached too long as they would collapse when wrapped in pastry.

Ultimately, Martha won the technical challenge with her thin pastry and perfectly poached pears but, surprisingly, Richard ended up in last place.

For their final challenge, the show-stopper involved making a three-tiered pie in four and a half hours.

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"The pastry is important as the pie requires a good, strong pastry that will support itself," said Mary Berry while Paul stated that cohesion of a strong theme is crucial in this week’s multiple bake.

The contestants certainly didn't disappoint in their themed bakes, ranging from Luis' four fruit seasons tower topped with fruit and filled with meat, to Martha’s three little pigs' pies.

The majority of the bakers opted to use hot water crust pastry as it is strong enough to withstand the weight of the tiers and cooked their fillings before baking in order to avoid leaks.

Interestingly, Nancy chose to hand-raise her trio of apple pies without a tin which wowed the judging panel.

It was important that the bakers didn't overfill their pies as this would result in the pastry bursting- a task which proved difficult for Martha whose pie ultimately leaked fat all over her baking station.

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Meanwhile, Luis' tiered pies toppled over minutes before judging, but the designer was able to reconstruct his tiered bake, just in time for Paul and Mary.

In judging, Chetna and Martha were praised for their blend of flavours and regimented layers, while Nancy received brownie points for her innovative hand-raised pies, despite her dry flavours.

In the end, Kate was crowned Star Baker this week due to her thick scrumptious pork pies while Norman's time in the tent had come to an end, as his crumbly tarts failed to wow the baking duo.

Tune in next week at 8pm on BBC One for more GBBO drama.

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