It was another first in the Bake Off tent this week as we saw the bakers get stuck in with festival-themed bakes. There were some unusual challenges, but who would come out on top? And who would be the next baker to leave the tent? Let’s find out!
Signature challenge: Festival buns
For the first challenge, the bakers were asked to make 24 yeasted festival buns. These needed to be buns that would be found during festivals such as Eid or Christmas, and the bakers needed to add their own twist.
Paul’s top tip: The bakers have got to produce 24 festival buns. They can represent any country in the world, they can have pretty much anything in as long as it’s related to a festival. But they’ve got to get them beautifully light, airy, full of flavour and pack a punch.
There were a lot of interesting flavour combinations in the bakers’ buns. Michael opted to put a lot of fruit in his, which got a concerned look from Paul. Most bakers went for classic hot cross buns, but Henry went for a tempting pastry instead.
Prue’s top tip: The most obvious festival bun to us is the hot cross bun at Easter. These buns have to be yeasted, but they could have spice in there, or other flavours. What I’m after is uniform, beautifully flavoured, beautifully textured, absolutely delicious buns.
Steph and Henry both earned handshakes this week – would Henry do enough to topple Steph from a potentially fourth star baker in a row? On the opposite end of the baking scales, poor Alice didn’t seem to do well with her blueberry and lemon flavoured buns.
Technical challenge: Cassatelle
Paul had chosen the technical challenge this week, and asked the bakers to make 12 Sicilian cassatelle. These are pastry crescents filled with a smooth and creamy ricotta, which is flavoured with chocolate and orange, and then fried until crispy and golden. They needed to be uniform in shape and size.
Paul’s top tip: These are basically Sicilian snacks that you’d have at a carnival. So inside these beautiful pastries we’ve got ricotta, chocolate, and orange in there as well. The hard bit is getting the pastry nice and thin and overall filling this properly with the ricotta. The other problem they’re going to have is obviously they’re going to fry it. If they don’t roll their pastry and it’s a bit thick, as soon as it hits the oil, chances are it’s going to burst open and the ricotta will pour out.
Both Michael and Alice had difficulty with their cassatelle bursting open. David once again missed out on the top spot in the technical, joking that he repels first place. He came second with Rosie beating everyone to come in first. Alice came last, followed by Michael in fifth place. After not doing as well as the others in the signature, this put them in danger of leaving the tent at the end of the weekend.
Show stopper challenge: Kek lapis Sarawak
The last baking challenge for our bakers was to make a ‘kek lapis Sarawak’. Confused? It’s a colourful cake which originates from the Sarawak region of Malaysia, and is often used in religious and cultural celebrations.
The judges wanted to see the bakers’ take on it; the cakes needed to display even and precise layers, and it needed to be grilled. Certainly an unusual way to make a cake! Once the cake had been grilled, the bakers needed to cut and reassemble it into intricate patterns that run through the whole cake.
Prue’s top tip: We’ve asked the bakers to do a Sarawak style layer cake. This has many, many layers in different colours and flavours. They put a thin layer of batter in a cake tin, grill it for a few minutes, take it out, add more batter, grill it, and add however many layers they want. Then, cut it into any shapes they like, then they reassemble those pieces of cake so that they make a fantastic pattern. It’s very difficult to do.
All of the bakers struggled with this unusual way of cake making. David had to scrap some of his layers, as did Rosie when they burned. Rosie opted for a more complicated pattern which didn’t quite pay off. Alice managed to save herself with her beautiful cake, and Henry earned himself the star baker title. Unfortunately it was time for the loveable Michael to leave the Bake Off tent.
It’s the return of pastry week for next week’s episode, which is also the quarter-final! Did the right person get sent home? Or do you think someone else should have left the Bake Off tent? Let us know your thoughts over on our Facebook page.