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Bake Off 2019: Soggy bottoms and dry old boots

It’s pastry week on Bake Off, and the pressure went up a notch as bakers were competing for a place in next week’s semi-final.

Entering the tent, none of the bakers seemed optimistic about what lay ahead.

“I’ve got warm hands, which are nice for healthcare, but not so good for pastry,” said David.

Their first task was to create a savoury Tarte Tatin, which Noel said needed to have good lamination. “That’s a Beach Boys song,” he quipped.

Paul was on the lookout for soggy bottoms. He wasn’t particularly enthused about the use of goat’s cheese in two of the contestants’ bakes, much to Steph’s disappointment, who was making a goat’s cheese and onion tarte. Rosie (pictured main) was also using goat’s cheese, paired with shallots and aubergine.

Henry (pictured below), who by now has made the shirt and tie his ‘thing’, was to make a crab, tomato and new potato Tarte Tatin. The potatoes would be fried and placed at the bottom to soak up any moisture and avoid the dreaded soggy bottom.

On to judging, and Henry’s crab option was up first.

“If someone had told me this is what Henry was going to do, I’d have said ‘tell him not to’, but I’d have been wrong”, admitted Prue.

David’s roasted purple carrots were mistaken for burnt ones, and his tarte was deemed very dry, although better when combined with the accompanying pesto, made with the leaves from his carrots.

Paul still had a bee in his bonnet when it came to Steph’s goat’s cheese, declaring it looked as if it had been “plonked” on top.

Rosie, meanwhile, had the dreaded soggy bottom, after doubling the amount of butter when caramelising.

Someone had to have one – what’s Bake Off without at least one soggy bottom?

Moving on to the technical challenge, which this week was a Moroccan pie made with Warka [paper-thin filo] pastry.

“If anyone has heard of this, I will get naked,” declared Henry.

“I know what this is,” said David (pictured below), “I’ve seen it on a travel programme.” Henry looked suitably sheepish and failed to follow up on his derobing promise.

To start, the bakers made a pastry mix, then painted thin layers onto a hot plate.

“What are you doing?” Noel asked Steph. “Surely you’re not painting wallpaper paste onto a hot plate over a pan?”

Steph started to cry, I would have too. She also became very grumpy when the boys started playing catch with a lime. Poor Steph… under the tough scrutiny, nothing seemed to be going her way.

Henry’s poor pastry effort left him in fifth place, followed by Steph, Alice and then Rosie. David came first, with his Moroccan pie deemed “good all round”.

Afterwards, Henry said he felt “like Jesus on Maundy Thursday – awaiting crucifixion”. I have to say he and his tie have carried this series, so far.

For the showstopper, the bakers had to create a vertical pie, made with at least three pies.

Alice (pictured above) made a treehouse, complete with a little swing, which Sandi declared she’d like to live in. Steph created a carousel, while Rosie opted for Rapunzel’s tower. David’s theme was Whitby Fish, and Henry chose an upside-down chandelier.

Rosie’s creation looked the part, but her pastry was too thick and filling too dry. “I was so scared of the moisture,” she admitted, referencing her earlier soggy bottom.

Alice’s design also received praise, but her pastry was “tough as old boots”, according to Paul, who also wasn’t fond of David’s decision to do an open-top pie, noting he’d have preferred a lattice. Nevertheless, the pastry was “lovely and short”, but the filling too salty.

Steph’s carousel pie was very cute, and Paul said it was “neat and organised”. It held together nicely and tasted delicious, according to Prue. Steph nearly cried again, but with relief this time, bless her.

Prue said Henry’s chandelier was unimaginative, and Paul slated the leafy decorations. His savoury filling was “bone dry”, and pastry “much too thick”.

His sweet chocolate and nut filling was described as “festive”. “Do you like Christmas?” asked Henry, searching for a saving grace. “Humbug,” replied Paul.

Alas, Henry’s time was up and he was kicked out of the tent in fifth place. Meanwhile, Steph (pictured below) got star baker – I hope that cheered her up a bit.

Here’s a few titbits based on this week’s episode:

Most likely to win: David

Should have gone home: Rosie

Most fun to watch: Henry

Quote of the week: “Nobody wants a soggy tart” – Henry


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