The seven remaining contestants faced their toughest week yet on last night’s Great British Bake Off as they attempted to achieve pastry perfection!
This involved the terrifying technical challenge of Flaounes (even Mary Berry hadn’t heard of them!), which fireman Mat excelled in, sending him on his way to Star Baker status.
We did love the retro Show Stoppers theme of vol-au-vents, though some of the mouthwatering recipes dreamed up by the contestants were a world away from the chicken and mushroom concoction that adorned wedding reception buffet tables throughout the 80s!
Flora’s praline and chocolate version was a revelation, while Ian’s squid ink experiment proved to be a rare failure for the three-time Star Baker. But in the end it was time for Alvin, who seems to have been baking on thin ice for some time, to leave the tent.
As Alvin heads home, the final six head off for a trip back to the Victoria era in next week’s historical-themed episode – we just hope they’re allowed to use electric mixers!
If last night’s show has inspired you to create your own pie, vol-au-vents or other pastry-based treat, check out this list of our favourite five kitchen accessories to help you along:
Great pastry requires precision measurements, so there’s no point in skimping on the scale! This electronic mix and measure set from Salter is ideal as it not only measures in metric and imperial, but also has a generously sized blue backlit display for easy reading. Its large stainless steel bowl doubles as a mixing bowl, so you can weigh out the flour and fat, then incorporate it without having to transfer (less washing up!).
It may sound simple, but pastry rolling is actually a subtle art in getting the right thickness for the right dish. My gran used a selection of coins with varying thicknesses to check her pastry depths… we prefer a slightly more modern method, and they don’t get more modern and innovative than Heston Blumenthal!
Designed by the triple Michelin Star-winning chef and produced by Salter, this clever adjustable rolling pin lets you roll your pastry to 3mm, 5mm or 8mm depths. This ensures your pastry will be the same thickness across its entire surface, reducing the risk of those ‘thin’ patches that can lead to tearing, and helping it to cook evenly.
There’s nothing worse than rolling out your pastry to find it’s become a little too attached to your rolling pin. This is usually the moment when you reach for the flour and throw a fist full onto your worktop, only to realise you’ve added too much and your pastry is now overly dry. This fab flour sifter from Cake Boss is the stylish solution. Fill it up, gently squeeze the trigger and it will dispense a light, even dusting onto your work area.
If you’re not very good at rolling your pastry to the right size, try this Mason Cash pastry board. Made from toughened glass, it features a series of clever guides that make it easy to roll to the required dimensions (you can also use it as a chopping board!).
Finally, if you’re keen to get the next generation of Bake Off stars started, this My Perfect Pastry Set from Annabel Karmel is a colourful way to get them away from the games console and into the kitchen! Including a bowl, whisk, cookie cutters, cake tins and much more, it even comes complete with 10 recipes for them to have a go at!