It’s really gotten to the point with this year’s Great British Bake Off where anything can happen and one wrong week could see the departure of any of the baker’s. They are all so good! This week’s pastry theme was sure to test them as there is a lot of potential for mishaps when it comes to that yummy flaky stuff. The signature challenge request was 12 savoury parcels, and the bakers could use any pastry they liked. As usual, Paul and Mary wanted absolute perfection!
Chetna made some Indian Lentil Kachoris using Carom Seed pastry which she deep fried. Kate was also inspired by India and made some Spinach and Paneer Samosas, she had some trouble with her deep fryer and they were not cooked fully. Luis made some Empanadas, which are commonly eaten in Spain and Latin America. He filled them with chorizo, vegetables and potatos, and wrapped them in an orange and paprika pastry.
Martha stayed local with her very British Mini Beef Wellingtons. Nancy and Richard both made pasties, Nancy filled hers with a Spicy Duck filling, and Richard used Minted Lamb. The judges loved Richard’s, the pastry was flaky and they thought the flavours were great. Nancy’s were unfortunately underbaked.
For the first time on the Bake Off, none of the bakers had ever heard of this week’s technical challenge! It was to make 12 Kouign Amann, which are cakes made using a bread dough that is layered with butter, similar to puff pastry. Sugar is also added to one of the layers to add sweetness. They originate from the Breton region of France. It is named after the Breton words for ‘cake’ and ‘butter’.
As usual, instructions were a minimum. The bakers didn’t know how long to prove the dough for, and it wasn’t very clearly stated when they should add the sugar. So all the bakers did different things! Martha and Richard were the only ones to add the sugar to the last layer, which was correct. Kate was the only one to do her second prove in the fridge. There was also no baking time stated. This really was a tough challenge! Richard came first, Nancy second and Martha third. Chetna came last, Luis fifth and Kate fourth.
24 showstopping eclairs were the final challenge, the judges wanted them to remain eclair shaped, for there to be 2 different flavours and made from choux pastry. The flavours and decoration were completely up to the bakers. Chetna and Kate both made chocolate choux, and also both made Lemon Meringue eclairs. Martha and Luis were both inspired by America. Martha made a Maple Syrup & Bacon eclair, while Luis used candied pecans to flavour his red and blue eclairs.
Nancy was the only baker who made a savoury eclair, filling it with salmon and horseradish. The judges thought they were baked well and the filling was very good. Richard used lavendar and rose flavours in his baking and was very careful not to add too much so they didn’t taste like soap, Mary and Paul both were impressed that he used just enough of the flavours. He also presented his eclairs on a small homemade staircase!
Kate left this week, which I was sad about as I really liked her. I think I will be sad to see anyone go from now on! She had a close call last week and unfortunately had a few issues this week with underbaked samosas and the judges did not like her eclairs as they could not taste the basil and her chocolate ones were messy. Richard was back on form this week after a similarly close call last week, and he won star baker. Next week the bakers tackle sweet dough, and it’s the quarter finals! It’s all going so quickly!
I’ve made eclairs before, and to be honest I didn’t think the Kougin Amann sounded very nice, so I chose to make Empanadas this week. I used Paul Hollywood’s Empanada pastry recipe, and I made two of my own different fillings, a vegetarian one with pepper and spring onion, and a chorizo and onion one. Of course I put cheese in both of them!
I made the dough by adding melted butter and egg to plain flour and salt. I mixed everything together until a dough formed. Then I kneaded it for a couple of minutes until smooth. I left it in the bowl covered with cling film while I made the fillings.
I gently fried small pieces of chorizo and chopped onion in one pan, and green pepper, spring onion and onion in another, along with some Spanish seasoning. The chorizo is packed with flavour so I didn’t add anything else to it.
I rolled out the dough to 3-4mm thick and cut out 12 inch circles from it until it was gone.
Into each circle I placed some filling and added cheese on top. I put as much in as I could. The dough was fairly plaible and did stretch. I gently wet the edge of the dough and pressed it down around the edges. I didn’t want any leakage!
Using a fork I crimped the edges and placed them onto a lined baking tray and brushed them with beaten egg.
I baked them on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes. The recipe made 10 in total. I did have a bit of leftover filling as it was hard to estimate how much I’d need.
The chorizo Empanadas were really delicious, I loved the pastry and I never get tired of eating chorizo! I served three of them with pilau rice and broccoli which I found filling enough. I had the other two the next day.
My boyfriend enjoyed the vegetarian Empanadas very much, he managed four of them. These are really easy and versatile little parcels and I found the pastry easy to make and work with. I might make the pastry in advance next time and keep it in the fridge before putting the Empanadas together.
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For the pastry
- 150 g Butter melted
- 300 g Plain flour
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 Egg large
For the fillings
- 1/2 Green pepper
- 1 Onion
- 6 Spring onion
- 100 g Chorizo
- 150 g Mature cheddar grated
- Spanish seasoning mix
- 1 Beaten egg for glazing
Make the dough by adding the melted butter and egg to the plain flour along with a large pinch of salt. Mix everything together until a dough forms. Knead it for a couple of minutes until smooth. Leave it in the bowl covered with cling film while you make the fillings
Pre-heat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
Make the fillings in separate pans if you're cooking for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, or mix everything together if not. Gently fry small pieces of chorizo and chopped onion in one, and green pepper, spring onion and onion in another, along with the Spanish seasoning
Roll out the dough to 3-4mm thick and cut out 12 inch circles from it until it is all used
Into each circle of dough, place 1-2 tsp of the filling and add some of the grated cheese on top. Gently wet the edge of the dough, fold it over the filling and press it down around the edges
Using a fork, crimp the edges and place them onto a lined baking tray and brush them with beaten egg
Bake them for 20 minutes until golden