It’s already week 7! Only three weeks until the final, and we’re just getting to pastry week! Mel and Claire fit as many pastry puns as they can into a conversation, and just like that, we’re off!
Signature Bake: Danish Pastries
Our bakers need to make 12 Danishes for the signature challenge: 6 savoury and 6 sweet. This is a tough challenge, given that the bakers only have two hours, given all the folds and chilling that are involved in making pastry.
Olivia has gone for some unusual flavours today, which is why we love her. Her sweet Danishes will be persimmon and Tonka bean pillows, and her savoury are a goat’s cheese and onion twist. Maggie and Matt tell Olivia that Tonka beans are banned in the United States because they have blood thinning properties. Olivia has made a good pastry and the fillings are fantastic, but her Danishes were undercooked.
Antonio made lime palmiers and blue cheese and fig pockets. As usual, they’re presented beautifully, and the flavours are fantastic. Matt describes them as “what a Danish should be,” and Claire keeps eating them after the judges have moved on, which is the best sign of all.
Liesel made sweet potato, walnut and prosciutto savoury Danishes, and rhubarb and custard sweet Danishes with a rough puff pastry. Her Danishes were quite small, and the filling was dry in the savoury Danish. Matt would have preferred a yeasted pastry.
Monica‘s savoury Danishes were asparagus and feta, and she made sweet cinnamon and raisin escargots. Matt said that the pastry had visible layers, but it was also a bit too bready. Once he tasted them however, he said that they were the best of the day, so Monica has started the week well.
James is making a yeasted dough to impress Matt. After last week’s successful showstopper, he’s determined to get Star Baker. Luckily Maggie and Matt are impressed with his ideas: a roast capsicum and feta savoury Danish, and a jam and custard sweet Danish. The sweet Danishes are undercooked, but the savoury ones are delicious, and “taste better than they look.”
Fiona is making a rough puff pastry because she wants to work with the amount of time she has. Her savoury Danishes are fig and goat’s cheese, and her sweet Danishes have a pistachio filling with a rhubarb lattice on top. The flavour combinations are great, and the lattice work with the rhubarb is very good, but her pastry was undercooked.
Technical Challenge: Lamb Wellingtons
This week the judges are looking for beautiful lamb wellingtons, and Mel and Claire are looking for lunch. Unlike the traditional beef wellington, Matt’s recipe has a lattice on the outside so that you can see the spinach. It looks delicious. Matt and Maggie hope that the contestants leave the fat on their lamb, and then we get a montage of all the bakers but James trimming the fat off their meat. Antonio is out of his element this week, and Mel offers some advice on chopping onions.
From sixth to first, we have Fiona, James, Monica, Olivia, Antonio and Liesel.
Showstopper: Choux Pastry Animal Sculptures
The 3D animal sculptures must have sugar work and be self-supporting. Sculptures are the most exciting showstoppers, and it’s a chance for the bakers to be creative.
Olivia‘s sculpture is an underwater scene complete with a choux turtle, sesame praline filling and sugar work decorations. The sugar work looks impressive at the start of the challenge, and brings some colour to the dish. Matt praises Olivia’s sugar work and the judges love her sesame praline filling, but the choux pastry is a bit too soft.
Antonio‘s sculpture is an exotic fish made from choux buns, with pistachio and hazelnut praline fillings. The fish looks good, but Matt says it would really stand out if the fish had eyes. Once again, Antonio has put together another good bake, and his hazelnut filling is fantastic.
Liesel is making Englebert the Echidna, after Mel suggests some animals that would be easy to make, such as a worm, snake or snail. Englebert is made from profiterols with hazelnut and macadamia fillings, and his spines are made of toffee. Maggie loves the toffee and the hazelnut filling, but her choux is a bit soft.
Monica made an owl from choux buns with a hazelnut, pistachio and zabaglione fillings to honour her Italian heritage. It looks fantastic and the judges love all the fillings, and Monica seems like a shoo-in for Star Baker.
James is making a koala from profiteroles with a wattle seed custard filling. After a bad day in the shed yesterday, he’s aware that he could be going home if he doesn’t get it right. Some of his choux comes out burnt, and he wisely says they can be used for Frisbee after the show. The profiteroles are undercooked, and the custard has lost its flavour, and James knows he’s in trouble.
Fiona is also aware that she needs to do well in the showstopper to stay in the competition. Her Chinese Zodiac animals will have a black sesame filling. She had some issues with her choux, and ends up with only ten animals on the plate because she ran out of time. Matt says the design is a bit too simple and that the choux pastry is very soft, but both judges love the black sesame filling.
As predicted Monica wins Star Baker, and James goes home. Bye James! I will miss you and your friendship with Liesel. I’ll always remember your karate chop.
- As always, recipes can be found on the show’s website. I’ve already been informed that I’m going to be making the lamb wellington next year, so I’ll have to buy a lattice roller.
- I was working on something else yesterday (if there’s not a link up here now, there will be soon), so I didn’t have time to watch this in advance for screencaps. The website’s photo gallery served me well.
- Fiona revealed last week on Twitter that there’s a conspiracy theory amongst the contestants:
— Fi Nguyen (@TheFinickyBaker) November 15, 2016
- Quite a few of the contestants are on Twitter, and this show is so much fun to livetweet.
- All images courtesy of Foxtel, Fremantle Media and BBC Worldwide.