Easy profiteroles

Great British Bake Off 2014, Week Six - Pastry Week

by Urvashi Roe 17 September 2014

Former GBBO contestant Urvashi gives her round up of pastry week, where savoury parcels, unpronounceable pastries and eclairs were the stars.

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Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life. She is a freelance writer and stylist for various publications including Good Things Magazine, lovefood.com and The Foodie Bugle. She was also a former contestant on BBC2's Great British Bake Off. She shares vegetarian and allotment inspired recipes on her Botanical Kitchen and Gujarati Girl blogs.

I thought we'd had pastry week on Great British Bake Off already? But my husband reminded me that was 'tart week' and this week was 'other pastry' week. I should know this by now really shouldn't I?

Savoury Signatures

Any pastry. Any filling. The judges wanted to see beautifully browned parcels with perfect seasoning, balanced moisture and filling levels.

It was an interesting baking challenge in that some of the contestants did no baking ?! Chetna, Luis and Kate were all making parcels that would be fried.

Chetna chose to stick to her winning Indian combos and a very traditional Gujarati kachori. These are traditionally spiced lentil filled balls and my recommendation for the best in the state of Gujarat would be at Ahmedabad station. With a cuppa hot chai of course. Oh and some coriander chutney!

No surprises that she wowed both judges but is the Gujarati community debating the ball vs the pattie shape she chose? My family certainly is and it's a 50-50 view. #kachorigate

Kate was also making fried samosas but opted for a punjabi cum Cornish style in shape and a filled of spinach and paneer. She very thoughtfully made a less spicy filling for Mary but got a little dug from Paul that he loves spicy food. I really do think he put her off this week. She seemed lost and not her usual chirpy self. Perhaps it was the shock of last week. She did not do well. Her fryer turned itself off leaving pale outers for her beautifully tasting filling.

Luis was frying Spanish inspired empanadas using an orange and paprika pastry. An interesting combo I thought. Paul and Mary both agreed but thought they were too big with not enough filling.

The rest were busy baking. Nancy's idea was unusual and intriguing. Pasties with a duck and oriental spices filling. This sums up her description of herself "traditional with a contemporary twist". So true and so brilliant. I wanted her to do well but sadly the judges did not think she had enough filling and the pastry needed a little more baking time. Nancy agreed in her wonderful matter if fact Nancy way.

My favourite creation was Martha's Mini Beef Wellingtons. I don't eat meat but it was the idea that I loved. On brief and perfectly complicated enough to show her skills off. The judges loved it all. Thin and flaky pastry with a perfectly cooked filling.

Richard also opted for the traditional - minted lamb pastries. The judges loved these. Great bake. Great flavours. Tick tick tick for the first round.

A Tricky Technical Challenge

So I cannot get my head around the name of this Breton speciality. Kooeeenamont? Queenamont? Kinamond?!

None of the bakers could pronounce it either and none had ever heard of it before.

Whatever it was the most important thing was that it was "risen and rested before it goes in" oh I love the #bakeoffinnuendo

A kouignamann is a laminated pastry which meant a lot of rolling, butter bashing and waiting. 6 ingredients and 3.5 hours. So yes. Lots of waiting. I think the contestants looked rather bored this week. There was certainly no stress, no drama and no squabbles. And considering nobody really knew what they were aiming for Paul's limited instructions can't have been that bad.

Bottom of the bakes was Chetna and Richard was at the top. I really don't think there was much in it regarding those in between. The judges talked about under lamination, irregular proving and sweetness issues but really I think they were clutching at straws. They all did bloody well to create something they'd never seen. Well done guys.


A Chouxstopper

I love choux pastry and I love eclairs so thus was my favourite part of the show this week. 24 eclairs, 2 different types, 4 hours.

Let's start with my favourites. Chetna's chocolate choux pastry with a mango filling. I do love mangoes and this combo is a great reason to revert the mango ban. Her other creation was a lemon meringue eclair which looked divine also.

I do love my edible flowers and floral flavours and so Richard also won me over with his Rose and Raspberry and Lavender and Blueberry. Twitter was awash with 'Nooooooo!' to the lavender after Norman's disaster. But he pulled it off to perfection according to the judges.

Nancy was the only contestant to choose one savoury filling - a salmon and homegrown horseradish. Her sweet choice was Raspberry Ripple. Lovely. I could have devoured both and gone round for seconds.

Luis was super precise and super colourful this week with a bright American themed look and bake. Peanut Butter and Jelly looked delicious. Paul told him he'd nailed it on all accounts. Nice to see his precision paid off #6incheslong

Kate was in tune with Chetna again for this round. Lemon Meringue in a basil choux. I loved this idea but the basil seemed a little elusive for Mary. She also opted for a chocolate choux but sadly it was 'a mess' according to Paul and Mary. The filling was too runny and the look was a disaster.

Martha's decorative rhubarb twirls caught my eye this week. So pretty and such a classic idea for a rhubarb and custard eclairs. I also admired her maple and bacon combo. Something different to show the judges. What a shame it all went wrong. Richard and Chetna rallied around her to help her finish but she was on the verge of tears for the best part of this final challenge. Indeed would it be her last?

It was tense on those stools but the camaraderie was evident. Chetna held Martha's had tightly as Mel and Sue announced Star Baker. A hat trick for Richard which was well deserved this week. Flawless precision had won him yet another Star Baker award.

The cameras panned between Martha and Kate. Both looked lost. It is horrid sitting on that stool. The minutes are so long. Your ears almost ring with the silence.

Kate. Inventive, cheery Kate from Brighton was the one to go home. I have enjoyed her bakes and I hope she doesn't stop. Good luck Kate!