So after last week’s MASSIVE media outcry on #bingate #freezergate #bakedalaskagate it appears Diana has fallen ill and is no longer on the show. Has she really lost her sense of taste? Is it all just a big media ploy? Whatever anyone’s view, the remaining contestants did look rather, genuinely sad. Martha went so far as to say she’d lost her grandma. Oh well. The show must go on and there were pies and tarts to be made for it was pastry week.
I was hoping they would secretly bring in an extra judge this week and go all French. Perhaps Messieurs Lanlard or Bertinet? Sadly no. I do love pastry week and it is interesting to see how the producers evolve the show every year to keep things fresh for avid series viewers.
A Signature Custard Tart
Oh dear was my first thought when Mel and Sue announced this challenge. Would we get #custardgate all over again? The contestants had to bake a family sized custard tart. There were only two rules.
No tarts in the bin
The tart had to be made in 2 ½ hours
They could use any pastry, any filling, any design.
I was disappointed the tarts were all round. There are some beautiful square and rectangular bases nowadays and it would have been great to see a little variety. But I concluded that they must have been given a specific size to work to.
So this was all about pastry tips. Here’s a few I gathered while watching in case you missed them…
Don’t overwork the pastry lest it get too tough – you want a crumble not a chew.
Roll the pastry as thin as you dare so it’s nice and ‘short’ (that’s pastry speak for a good crunch. We know Mary loves a good crunch).
Always blind bake shortcrust pastry bases to avoid a soggy bottom.
You don’t need to blind bake hot water crust pastry bases as they won’t get a soggy bottom
Pastry will shrink in the oven as it cooks so use baking beans to weight it down when blind baking.
To avoid pastry shrinking too much in the oven let it rest in the fridge (at least 30 mins) or freezer (max 15 mins) before baking.
Use a piece of leftover pastry to push the rolled pastry to the edge of the tart tin so you don’t break or tear it with your nails.
I couldn’t see who made pastry by hand and who used a mixer.
I use a mixer and my foolproof base is 200g plain flour, 100g cold butter, 2tbsp icing sugar, 1 medium beaten egg which has been in the fridge to get cold like the butter. Blitz everything except the egg on pulse setting so you lift it up and down to get air in. Three pulses is usually enough. Then slowly pour in the egg til the pastry rolls up into a ball. That’s it. Ready to use after 30 mins in the fridge.
I liked most of the flavour combos this week.