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Great British Bake Off, 2014 - Patisserie week

Great British Bake Off, 2014 - Patisserie week

by Urvashi Roe 02 October 2014

The semi final of Great British Bake Off. Just four of the bakers are left and they all seemed to be feeling quietly confident though none of them were admitting to that except Chetna

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This week was patisserie week but it should rather have been entitled 'wahffer thin week'. You will see why in a mo.

The first semi final challenge was filo pastry. A worthy challenge but who really makes filo pastry? As Richard put it 'we have so many great shops in North London' why bother? But a challenge it was and they all got stuck in to making two different types of Baklavas. Paul was looking for a beautiful syrup binding a beautiful filling. Mary wanted a "wahffer thin" pastry.

The pastry is made with flour, water, vinegar and water and Luis had the great tip of just letting the KitchenAid do all the work in kneading it to build the gluten up to make is stretchy and elastic to work with. Most of the others seemed to knead by hand

Chetna was the only one to make two different types of pastry. A normal one and a chocolate one. Her flavours were chocolate filo with orange and pistachio and then a masala chai (of course as we are coming to expect nothing less than spice mixes).

Luis had his own interpretation of baklava. He was making filo flower shaped cups in a muffin tin to fit a rose and barberry filling. For his second bake he was making what looked more like filo cigars with a cashew, almond and carrot filling and a saffron syrup. I love how Luis uses saffron in his choices. Such a delicate flavour that is difficult to get right. Too much and it's too bitter. Too little and you've wasted about £10 worth of the strands!

Nancy went for something completely untraditional. She was making granola. Yes granola to go inside her breakfast baklava. What a genius idea. I would live this for breakfast right now. With a dollop of rose scented yoghurt perhaps. This was complemented with a coffee and chocolate baklava.

Richard opted to stay true to the baklava roots with a rose and pistachio combo in the traditional shape and then a walnut and almond version with a cinnamon syrup. Delicious and completely akin to those we see on the shelves of Turkish bakeries in North London. I would recommend Yasser Halim in Palmer's Green. They also use the filo for amazing savouries too.

Anyway, the challenge seemed to sail away. Before we knew it they were all playing up and being judged. Nancy had a great result with both. No negative comments. Her bonkers granola baklava idea was spot on. Richard received the same showers of praise. Luis did not. Paul commented that his pastries were not really Baklavas as there were no layers and the bakes were 'bone dry'. But I guess the saving grace for Luis was that both judges loved his flavours. Chetna also did not do too well. Though she had perfectly formed Baklavas in two different shapes and a good colour on her pastry, she was missing the layering too.

This week was patisserie week but it should rather have been entitled 'wahffer thin week'. You will see why in a mo.

The first semi final challenge was filo pastry. A worthy challenge but who really makes filo pastry? As Richard put it 'we have so many great shops in North London' why bother? But a challenge it was and they all got stuck in to making two different types of Baklavas. Paul was looking for a beautiful syrup binding a beautiful filling. Mary wanted a "wahffer thin" pastry.

The pastry is made with flour, water, vinegar and water and Luis had the great tip of just letting the KitchenAid do all the work in kneading it to build the gluten up to make is stretchy and elastic to work with. Most of the others seemed to knead by hand

Chetna was the only one to make two different types of pastry. A normal one and a chocolate one. Her flavours were chocolate filo with orange and pistachio and then a masala chai (of course as we are coming to expect nothing less than spice mixes).

Luis had his own interpretation of baklava. He was making filo flower shaped cups in a muffin tin to fit a rose and barberry filling. For his second bake he was making what looked more like filo cigars with a cashew, almond and carrot filling and a saffron syrup. I love how Luis uses saffron in his choices. Such a delicate flavour that is difficult to get right. Too much and it's too bitter. Too little and you've wasted about £10 worth of the strands!

Nancy went for something completely untraditional. She was making granola. Yes granola to go inside her breakfast baklava. What a genius idea. I would live this for breakfast right now. With a dollop of rose scented yoghurt perhaps. This was complemented with a coffee and chocolate baklava.

Richard opted to stay true to the baklava roots with a rose and pistachio combo in the traditional shape and then a walnut and almond version with a cinnamon syrup. Delicious and completely akin to those we see on the shelves of Turkish bakeries in North London. I would recommend Yasser Halim in Palmer's Green. They also use the filo for amazing savouries too.

Anyway, the challenge seemed to sail away. Before we knew it they were all playing up and being judged. Nancy had a great result with both. No negative comments. Her bonkers granola baklava idea was spot on. Richard received the same showers of praise. Luis did not. Paul commented that his pastries were not really Baklavas as there were no layers and the bakes were 'bone dry'. But I guess the saving grace for Luis was that both judges loved his flavours. Chetna also did not do too well. Though she had perfectly formed Baklavas in two different shapes and a good colour on her pastry, she was missing the layering too.

 
Filo pastry
Chocolate filo pastry with orange and pistachio
Raspberry nonette
Nancy's raspberry nonettes

Twitter was complaining that so far in patisserie week there had been no patisserie. So it looked hopeful for the technical challenge. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I wish they would raise the budget for this part and have a guest chef present the challenge. How amazing would it have been to get someone from Lenotre over?!

This challenge was however to be German. Yes German. The bakers were asked (with the barest of instructions remember) to make a Schichttorte - 20 layers in two hours.

Essentially the recipe is simple. A cake made with wahffer thin layers of batter which are grilled to cook them and then covered with a chocolate ganache. These cakes originate from Germany in Hanzelstadt Salzwezel. Lucky Mel got to go and visit one of the bakeries that make this in the traditional way on a rotisserie type contraption. The batter is ladled on in layers and then the whole thing is covered in chocolate.

Back in the tent time seemed to be the challenge. The bakers had to cook each layer and ensure there would be twenty. The chocolate glaze seemed simple enough to them all but again time was the issue as there was no minutes left to allow the cakes to cool beforehand.

Chetna had 17 layers, a lop sided looking cake and a hard crust which signalled overbaking. Well over grilling rather. She came bottom this week.

Nancy had 18 layers and the chocolate was hanging off the edges as the cake was still so warm.

Luis had twenty lovely layers and a super professional finish as did Richard.

Finally a little French inspiration. The contestants were asked to make two types of entremets. Essentially these are layered mousse cakes and if you look back onto Edd's (as in winner of GBBO1 Edd Kimber) Twitter feed you will see a lovely little video of his versions coming out in his next book.

Mary was looking for polish and a pristine finish. Paul wanted to see precision, beauty and elegance.

All the bakers chose superb flavours and to be honest this part of the show was a bit of a blur. There were so many techniques going on that it would have been great to have seen more of them.

Richard was making a grapefruit mousse with almond and vanilla in a dotty sponge and this was paired with a hazelnut latte creation which had the most perfect chocolate work in the final shot that I wanted to know how he had cut each piece to precision. Both his creations looked just perfect and certainly good enough for a LeNotre bakery.

Nancy had jellies and mousses and biscuits in her Lime, Chocolate and Passionfruit layers and Raspberry Nonnettes. Again both looked superb and the raspberry jelly was especially magnificent when cut into. A perfect square in the centre.

Luis had created 'sensational and elegant' entremets and they must have been so deliciously enticing for Mary as she took a Greg Wallace sized mouthful to taste. His flavours were Pomegranate and Pistachio and Cherry and Chocolate. It was a shame we had not been able to see how he had layered them all up because they looked like genius flavour bombs.

Chetna had 'bulbous looking' entremets. That was not a good start. The judges liked the cappuccino flavours but the chocolate and orange let her down. There were no wahffer thin layers. It was rather a 'chocolate cake with a bit of orange'

It was pretty clear who would be leaving the tent this week. She'd done so well to get Indian twists on traditional bakes across throughout the series. Long may she continue to share these. Chetna was not to be a finalist and left with happy memories and smiles. Good luck Chetna.

Richard had once again knocked everyone's 'spots off' this week and got Star Baker for an amazing fifth time. He joined a tearful Luis and Nancy in an emotional send off.

Three bakers left. One more week. Six more sleeps until we have a winner.

 
 
 

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