The Great British Bake Off: Pastry
September 19, 2014 2:52 AM - Season 5, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Week Seven in the Bake Off tent sees the bakers tested on all kinds of weird and wonderful pastries. The remaining bakers are asked to make signature savoury parcels, ranging from pasties to Wellingtons to samosas.

The technical challenge throws them into uncharted territory with a pastry that, for the first time ever, none of the bakers have even heard of. Paul's recipe for kouign amann not only tests their technical abilities, but also their patience in a three-and-a-half-hour challenge to create a yeasted pastry full of buttery sugary layers.

Finally, the bakers must make show-stopping eclairs—two types each—to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
posted by mumkin (9 comments total)
Oh Kate! I was so hoping that Martha would stay because she sometimes does amazingly well, while Kate's just very good. Richard and his chicken-eclair stairs and the pencil is actually a bit dull, but when they all went over to help Martha - so sweet! It's such a friendly happy show.

I thought the sugar bread whatever it was Breton cake was dull for a technical challenge because it was up to chance - if you were lucky, you interpreted the loose recipe correctly - rather than skill, and because they didn't know what it was meant to look like, they went safe and rather formless.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:52 AM on September 19, 2014

but when they all went over to help Martha - so sweet! It's such a friendly happy show.

That's what I love about this programme. Of course it's edited to play up the tension and portray a mix of characters, but unlike most reality TV they're not trying to sell us a story of fierce competition and heart-wrenching drama. It's just a group of perfectly likeable people, all baking in a tent for a bit of fun. A lot of TV (including the news) seems unrelentingly grim these days, so this is a blessed relief.

if you were lucky, you interpreted the loose recipe correctly

Yeah, the technical always feels a bit unfair to me, being at least as much about luck as skill. But the very nature of the competition is that a lot of success or failure comes down to the judges' (informed, but still subjective) preferences about size, colour, flavour combinations, etc., so it's not really a huge departure.
posted by metaBugs at 6:56 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

One of the commenters on Digital Spy recap:
I like the Star Baker Badge, actually a toy Sheriff's badge. It's obviously just a fun thing the bakers do because it's never mentioned. I only noticed it this week. Chetna was wearing it and at the end you saw her pin it on Richard.
Hah! I hadn't spotted that, but I'll keep an eye out next time. It'd be unbearable if it was an official presentation by the producers, but the contestants just quietly doing it to amuse themselves is really charming.
posted by metaBugs at 7:04 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The sheriff's badge is one of my favourite things about the show.

Even though Richard won star baker (I'm sure he has used that stairstep before - I can't remember which episode), I think Luis is the one to beat, especially as the presentation becomes more important in the final episodes.
posted by minsies at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2014

Fun ep. Kouigns Amann are happening in the US -- or in California, at least -- so it was a kick to know more about the mystery pastry than the bakers.

Has anyone tried the Mary Berry cookbooks?
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:46 AM on September 19, 2014

I was dead pleased for Richard, and while his outer decorations weren't super fancy on the eclaires, floral flavors have sunk many a contestant, so props to him for nailing that. Chetna is also growing on me --- the judges have been wowed by her flavors the whole time, but that's the one thing that doesn't come across on TV, and when she was cooking more traditional Indian-influenced stuff I don't think her inventiveness came across as much. But I totally want to try making that eclaire she did.

What do you think --- Luis, Chetna, Richard final?
posted by Diablevert at 7:03 PM on September 19, 2014

I think its got to be those three. Martha is lovely, but she is 17, and she has needed help from others on tasks other than this one.

I agree that the technical challenge can feel a bit random, especially when the instructions are deliberately worded ambiguously. I guess a master baker might know that the sugar wouldn't set in if you folded in too much, but... eh that's pretty obscure knowledge really.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:33 AM on September 20, 2014

No love for Nancy, huh?

She hasn't really impressed me so far - she seems solid, but not exceptional.

I think Martha could edge into the final if someone else has a bad day - although I thought she had been star baker once. Wikipedia says not.

Based on that results summary, the only 3 who haven't been in Mary and Paul's least favourite are Luis, Chetna and Nancy. Hm.
posted by minsies at 11:29 PM on September 20, 2014

These recently appeared on Netflix. One year behind? Why not!

Anyways the technical in this one and the equally-unknown princess cake from last week were particularly frustrating. I feel like there should be a plate of the standard at the front of the room for the bakers to look at, so they can say "Hey, that looks flaky, and the sugar has formed a glaze rather than being worked into the dough. Got it." It also ties into my other frustration in the show (I've watched a couple of other seasons on Youtube), which is that there's always a baker not born in the UK who on the second or third show is like "right, a meat pie, no clue but whatever" and then get reamed out for making the sorts of assumptions that a reasonable stranger to the concept would make.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

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