Pastry perfection was the objective this week. We saw rough puff, shortcrust, sweetcrust, pistachio crust, some with egg, some without and of course some falling out and sticking to tins. All brightening our Tuesday evening.
A tricky tarte Tatin to start
Tarte Tatin was first in the running order this week. Mary Berry was looking for ‘crisp pastry with enough syrup and shiny caramel to cover but not soak the fruit toppings. For Paul Hollywood it was of course all about ‘the bake’. Bake it for too short a time and it would be too pale and undercooked. He also warned, in his now ubiquitous cautionary tone, about adding too much liquid which would soak into the dough and make it soggy.
There were some lovely flavours this week. James won my heart with his Apple and Lavender combination. I love the use of flowers in anything and lavender was a flavour I toyed with using for pastry week last year but opted for Elderflower and Honeycomb offset with an edible viola flower. I also loved the simplicity of Sarah Jane’s Banana and Ryan’s Spiced Pear and was so pleased they both got great feedback.
Some savoury cropped in too with Victoria’s Fig, Walnut and Peppercorn Tart and Danny’s Pear and Roquefort. I have to admit, neither appealed to me.
Of course there were some disasters. Manisha’s sugar crystallised because she stirred at the wrong time. Caramel is one of those things that needs the wait and despite how patient you are at home, when the clock is ticking in that tent, the temptation to stir and hurry things along are just too overwhelming.
The historical interlude – an Invalid Fruit Tart.
This was my favourite part of the show this week! I loved those early ‘dietetics’. What a fabulous job they were doing with a tasty dish that gave a balanced intake of nutrients to aid the path to recovery. I think there are some simple lessons for their modern day counterparts to take away.
A Treacle Tart to technically challenge
For those not familiar with this part of the show. The contestants are given the same recipe and the same set of instructions. These are however rather poor in places so the bakers must use their intuition and skill to get the best results. In this case as Sue pointed out the bakers were not given the baking time. They were also unlikely to have been told how big the breadcrumbs or how thin the syrup should be, or even how long to cool the syrup for.