'Fess up, had anyone actually heard of a kouign amann?
After European cake week’s kugelhopfs, Swedish princess tortes and dobos torte, we thought that this week, pastry week, might give our dictionaries (well, Google), a well-deserved rest. WRONG.
Last night, the six surviving amateur bakers battled it out for a place in the quarter-finals over pasties, puff pastry and a technical challenge that no one had ever heard of (a yeasted pastry full of buttery sugary layers, if you’re asking).
The first round, savoury pastry parcels, saw a couple of entries spring a leak and a whole host of soggy bottoms (good news for those playing GBBO bingo), but all-in-all, the bakers impressed (apart from curly haired Kate). AND more importantly, Richard’s ear pencil was back, along with his baking. Phew.
Next up, the technical challenge, kouign amann. Nope, we hadn’t heard of this either. A buttery, flaky, sugary Breton pastry with the texture of puff but “a bit more open,” according to Paul. With just six ingredients and three-and a half hours to make it (yes, you read that right), it was as dull as it sounds. There was A LOT of sitting around but when it came to the line-up, Richard and his pencil took top marks (yay).
Onto the showstopper, and it was all about the éclair: 24 in two different flavours to be precise. Chetna and Kate found themselves in a lemon meringue éclair-off, though with very different results. Kate added basil to her batch, but they failed to impress. Nancy went wild with her smoked salmon and horseradish éclair (which didn’t go down well either) while Martha had a meltdown over her runny pecan crème pat (maybe it was taken out of the fridge by someone, Diana?). It was Luis though who stole the show (what a surprise) with his blue and red chocolaty creations.
*Spoiler alert* Richard took star baker (for the third time) and, sniff, we said goodbye to Kate, mascara streaking and all.
Next week, it’s the quarter finals and the contestants are getting fruity over doughnuts.
High point: Richard is donating the wooden stairs he fashioned to display his éclairs to his dad’s chickens. Genius.
Low point: the three and a half hour technical was dull.
Top tip: Nancy included some crushed rice in her pasty parcel to prevent the dreaded soggy bottom. Pity her flavours weren’t as good as her advice.
Did the right baker go? It pains us to say it (we had her tipped to go far), but Kate did have a very bad week.