Great British Bake Off episode six review: The pie was the limit and one baker saw their flaky-breaky tart broken
PUBLISHED: 10:37 03 October 2018
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It’s pastry week and the judges rolled out some new challenges for the bakers which included a Tudor-style banquet pie. Ironically Manon struggled on the French technical challenge, Jon revealed pastry has ‘cannibalistic tendencies’ and there was plenty of red-hot steamhole action.
It’s week six of the GNFBBO - The Great Noel Fielding’s British Bake Off.
Newly-titled to reflect Noel’s increasingly mesmerising performances, he really is the star of the show. I realise it’s the bakers who we are supposed to be attached to, but it’s Noel who stealing all the glory. He even referenced Old Gregg this week: a collective exhalation of joy was heard from Mighty Boosh fans nationwide.
Pastry was the theme of the day: you’ve got to roll with it or you’ll end up in hot water (paste) and be chouxed off the show. These puns are on a knead-to-know basis - no half-baked reviews here, there’s no loafing about when it comes to my thoughts on Bake Off (I’ll stop now).
This week’s challenge was samosas. Most of the bakers seemed to have been inspired by their mother’s recipe. I feel slightly cheated, my Mum doesn’t even know what a samosa is. Her Eccles cakes however, are the best.
Rahul and Ruby shone, both receiving ‘the handshake’. Even Paul is beginning to refer to his own hand in the third person. He’s definitely losing the plot in this series, and this becomes more apparent as the week progresses.
Dan thought he’d save time by using a pasta roller. It didn’t really work out. By the time he had thrown his first batch away and started again, he just had enough time to mess it up, again. A bad start to the day. It could only get better, or so he thought.
This week’s “cake that no one has ever heard of” was the Puit d’amour, or well of love. So named because the combination of puff, choux, crème patisserie and strawberry compote supposedly has erotic connotations. Any lust in the room was soon dampened at the sight of Jon swigging half a dozen egg whites from a measuring jug. Down in one - my dinner almost came up in two.
If truth be told, I don’t think there’s anything that Jon will ever make that I’d fancy eating. At a push I’d let him make me a cup of tea. Maybe.
Ruby came last, Rahul a very fortunate third and Bryony came first. Dan’s day did get worse. At least he had the next day to make amends.
So we came to the showstopper, with contestants given free rein to produce a Tudor pie fit for a banquet. I’m of the belief that anything in a pie tastes great: that belief was well and truly shattered this week.
A Tudor pie should contain, blackbirds, peacocks, bitterns or thrushes. We got the full gamut of octopi, mermaids, dragons and some sort of silver fish. Ok they weren’t in the pies, but were rather pastry representations of these creatures. Who else but Kim-Joy would think of Silke the vegetarian mermaid, let alone make her in pie form?
(I had squirrel pie once, made for me by the very same chef who is making a sold-out guest appearance at The Assembly House on Thursday night. Karl Goward was head chef at the famed St John Bread and Wine, where his squirrel pie was a best seller)
Jon (did he tell you he was Welsh?) made a dragon pie that was incredibly scary, the most frightening thing of all being that the judges had to eat it. Teachers’ pet Rahul made one of the worst things we’ve seen on the programme so far, a hideous mess of a fluorescent butterfly that Paul said was exquisite. He also said Dan’s damp squib of a soggy silver-sprayed fish “looked great”. Is he seeing what I’m seeing? Methinks he should borrow Prue’s specs.
Briony was triumphant, by virtue of being the only contestant to truly produce a showstopper, an incredible Alice in Wonderland tribute, complete with a bottle of booze for Prue, all made in the same time frame as Desperate Dan made his floppy fish cake.
She had a superlative week and was made star baker. Before the episode started, I’d tipped her to go home but in fact it was hot favourite Dan who ate humble pie at the bottom of the pastry pile - I didn’t see that coming. Then again, should you really trust a man who eats squirrel pie?
* Squirrel pie will be the least of anyone’s concern next week when the bakers will face VEGAN WEEK. The offical synopsis for the episode reads: “Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood have set three very different challenges to test the remaining bakers - a savoury pastry Signature, with no butter involved, a Technical with a very unusual ingredient and a spectacular Showstopper that in the heat of the tent threatens to lead to catastrophe. Who will keep their cool and win star baker? And who will be meeting their end?”
DAN LEAVES THE BAKE OFF TENT: I suppose you could say that from his first pastry disaster he was going, going, scone. Sorry.
Q: Who encouraged you to fill out the application form to be on The Great British Bake Off?
Dan: I’ve wanted to take part in The Great British Bake Off for a while, and didn’t need much encouragement! My husband has been my biggest supporter throughout the experience.
Q: What age or time in your life did you start baking and who has inspired you?
Dan: My mother taught me to bake when I was a small child, but I had a renewed interest about six years ago when we decided to have a family of our own.
Q: What is your signature bake that the family or friends love or expect for a special occasion?
Dan: I think everyone expects a birthday cake, or some of my decorated biscuits. I am also known for my enriched white breads, and tangy sourdoughs.
Q: How did you find it in the Tent, walking in on that first morning?
Dan: Walking into the tent was a surreal experience! I was overcome with fear, excitement, and disbelief all at once!
Q: Which Judge did you want to impress the most and did you find Sandi and Noel a boost to get you through?
Dan: Whilst Paul tends to be more harsh in his critiques, Prue is equally discerning; I knew I would need to impress both of them. Having Noel and Sandi in the tent was a huge help – his jokes kept me smiling and Sandi always left me feeling better - and more positive than when they found me.
Q: Sweet or savoury – what is your preference and why?
Dan: I love sweet food – it’s what I get excited about, and what I love to eat the most - I love my bakes to be a real indulgence, because it’s something I’m doing for the sheer enjoyment of it.
Q: Favourite bake to make… and what would be your Desert Island Dish?
Dan: My favourite thing to bake is probably birthday cakes – I really enjoy every part of making them, but especially the pleasure of making someone feel good. I make a killer lemon sponge that everyone raves about. My desert island dish would probably be a simple pain de mie – I don’t think I could live without bread!
Q: Were you sad to be eliminated in week six?
Dan: It was expected. I’ve had some good moments. Sometimes as a stay-at-home parent you don’t get to do much but it’s been nice to do something for me,