Pâtisserie week was not short of an innuendo or two. Here's what went down
Oh, pâtisserie. Sweet spun sugar atop daintily piped layers of cream-filled confection. Silken chocolate ganache spread like butter over fluffy cubes of sponge. Choux buns filled with whipped mascarpone and drizzled with honey …
Light, frothy and ridiculously delicious, it was everything Victorian Week wasn't. Thank God.
Here's what happened last night.
The bakers got horny
It all kicked off with a signature challenge of cream horns. Full or rough puff pastry, filled with two different creams and twirled up to look like – well, horns. "You need to fill it with cream right to the bottom so that you can enjoy it to the last mouthful," said Mary. We're saying nothing.
Tamal – dreamy Tamal – did something with molten honeycomb. Hello.
"There's not much that can go wrong with a cream horn," remarked Ian (cough, smug alert, cough) and judge Paul was breathless with anticipation for contestant Paul's banana and cream confection.
While everyone else was getting their pastry shells in the oven, Flora fannied about with creating tuile cigars for her smoked almond and butterscotch idea, even though Sue implored her to crack on with the actual task at hand. You know, cream horns Flora.
It was time for tasting, and judge Paul was disappointed with the lack of banana flavour in contestant Paul's bake. "The banana’s not strong enough – it's quite annoying. I really wanted that banana. You’ve built me up there Paul, and just kicked me back," he scolded. Uh-oh. Don't mess with Paul's banana.
Nadiya's pistachio dusted, rose and white chocolate horns went down a treat, as did her mocha version. Flora was in trouble with MB as her filling leaked through the pastry ("I think you attempt too many things. One should remember the task is cream horns") and then, we were on to the technical.
It was a test straight from one of Queen Bezza's books: the genoise mokatine. Squares of light, delicate genoise sponge made using only egg whites as the raising agent, and sandwiched with coffee buttercream, adorned with a chocolate fondant icing, and piped lovingly all the way around.
Nadiya made a genoise last week (atta lass) but contestant Paul had never made one before. Ever. Given that the "recipe" just told them to "make the cake", he was pretty bloody puzzled. Poor love.
Everyone – save for Paul – cracked on with melting butter and whizzing up whites. His cake came out "not fluffy" and he started again. Time is a-ticking, Paul …
Tasting was upon us, and Nadiya's horns looked like something from the pages of a glossy cookbook, Tamal's were a little wonky, and Paul's sponge was raw. Paul scooped up last place, Tamal took forth, Flora came in at third, Ian at second and the lovely Nadiya emerged triumphant.
"Get thee to a nunnery"
Have you ever tried to make éclairs? Because I am telling you right now, they are hard. So imagine being asked to create a three-tier tower of the things in the shape of a nun. Oh, and it had to hold its form for at least two hours while you nervously have your lunch.
The bakers rose admirably to the creation of their religieuse a l'ancienne – "An eye-catching and impressive centre piece to a party," is how MB described it – with some sexy sounding flavours on the cards. Tamal was going in for a mango and passion fruit set, as well as some lavished with pistachio crème pâtissière. Flora was making a lime and basil curd (intriguing) and Nadiya wanted to experiment with a bubblegum taste. Sure.
It all started getting a little stressful, as you can imagine. "I will be so glad when this stupid nun thing is done," wailed a candid Tamal.
Contestant Paul's tower had, tragically, collapsed by judgement time, and Nadiya's took a wee tumble, but remained mostly erect – although the judges weren't mad on her kid-tastic flavour choice. Ian's nun garnered praise for his coffee and cardamom affair ("They work together very well") and was even the proud recipient of a wink from a minxy Mary.
Now we've come to the end of the road
And now it was the time for that horrid occasion. Time for someone to get the boot. It was stoic, dignified contestant Paul, after a sad series of mishaps. Flora reckoned it should have been her, and flung herself at him in gratitude like a prisoner granted a stay of execution. Nadiya, meanwhile, provided some comic relief by telling us that she was "so excited to get to the semi-finals I could streak down this river."
Will Paul carry on baking? Of course. "And I will sure learn how to make a damn genoise."
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