With only 3 episodes left the stakes are rising on The Great British Bake Off. Despite that, it seemed somewhat calmer in the baking tent in this week’s episode all about pastry. The first challenge was to make a family sized, sweet or savoury, suet pudding. In case you didn’t know (and you may not want to!) suet is the hard white fat that surrounds the kidneys and loins of sheep and cattle…erm…yum?
You may be relieved to know you can buy vegetarian suet these days which is made from palm oil and rice flour. The bakers could steam, boil or bake their puddings and we saw a variety of methods from Christine’s Spotted Dick which she steamed, Glenn’s Prune and Armagnac Pudding baked in a milk loaf tin, and Beca’s Spring Lamb and Vegetable Pudding which she boiled.
Suet pastry is quite an old fashioned pastry and I was surprised to see it on GBBO, however the show is know for ‘bringing back’ certain recipes. All of the bakers made an ice cream or sauce to accompany their puddings. Everyone did well on this challenge!
The technical challenge was a Mary Berry recipe – Holy Choux’s. Also known as little nuns, they are one large and one small creme patissiere filled profiterole stacked on top of each other, smothered with chocolate and piped with whipped cream. You can find Mary’s recipe, where the dessert is called a Religieuse by clicking here.
The bakers didn’t seem hugely phased by this as most had made choux pastry before. However this didn’t mean they were immune to baking troubles! They had trouble stacking the choux buns, getting thick creme patissiere and choux pastry not rising. Beca won the challenge, with Ruby second and Glenn third. Christine came last with Frances and Kimberley not far behind. Now that their numbers are decreasing the bakers have less ‘middle’ to hide in during technical challenges!
Finally the showstopper required the bakers to make one of the most technically challenging and time consuming pastries – puff. The judges requested three different types of puff pastry, one must be filled, one must be iced, and the other was up to the bakers. Puff pastry is all about building up layers of dough and butter to create flaky layers when baked.
I was impressed with the variety of puff pastry desserts that the bakers produced. So many flavours and fillings that I would have been happy to sample! Frances did well with her musical themed puff pastry treats, which included French Framboise Cream Horns. She had good flake and flavour, and the judges thought they looked impressive. Christine also saved herself with a fantastic selection of puff pastry goodies including Eccles Cakes and Fresh Fruit Baskets which Paul and Mary thought were well baked, delicious and unique with great flavour.
Ruby’s Custard Tarts were burnt and Paul and Mary said her bakes looked untidy, but tasted nice. Glenn took a risk by using a different technique to make his pastry, Paul was unsure about the inverted method Glenn chose to use and sadly it did not work out for him. The judges were not happy with his showstopper and Paul called them ‘hideous’. Poor Glenn!
And unfortunately it was Glenn we said goodbye to this week. Although I understand the judges’ decision, Glenn was without a doubt the best personality on the show. He’s incredibly funny and witty, he’s surely delivered some of the best quips on GBBO! I hope we see him on our screens again soon. Not much was revealed about next week’s episode!
I struggled to pick something to make this week. I’ve made a Clootie Dumpling before, which is a type of suet pudding. And I made Profiteroles for last years GBBO. And of course I have a busy life and am not competing on a national television show so there was no way I was making puff pastry! I’ve had this eclair idea in my head for a few months now and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make them!
I started by melting 75g butter in 200ml cold water in a pan on a low heat.
Once it was melted, I brought the mixture to the boil.
As soon as it was boiling, I took it off the heat and tipped in 125g sifted plain flour and mixed it in quickly until a smooth dough formed.
I left it to cool for 10 minutes, then mixed in 3 beaten eggs, bit by bit, until it became a glossy smooth paste.
I spooned the mixture into a piping bag with a large circular nozzle in, and piped out 10cm/4″ sausage shapes onto a lined baking tray. I used a knife dipped in water to cut the paste off at the end of the sausage shape.
I baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for around 20-25 minutes. I took them out and cut a slit down the side, then put them back in for 5 minutes. I had trouble removing them from the greaseproof paper, so used a palette knife to get them off and put them on a cooling rack. For some reason my greaseproof paper was not playing ball the night I made these as it was my second batch – the first batch stuck so badly to the paper! You’ll get about 12 eclairs out of the mixture.
I decided to use rose and white chocolate to flavour the eclairs because they are light flavours to match the light pastry, and the raspberry was for a zingy twist. Of course, feel free to fill with whipped cream and cover with chocolate if you wish!
I made the icing with 125g sifted icing sugar, 1/2 tsp rose water, about 1 tbsp water (add it a little at a time as it can get too runny easily!) and I used the juice out of 4 crushed raspberries to make it pink. You could also use food colouring of course. I crushed the raspberries through a sieve, but still double check it for seeds as they are small and pesky. Then gently use a spoon to top the eclairs with it, and I also sprinkled over some grated white chocolate. I didn’t have time to leave it set long enough, so it did run a bit for me, but if I had have had time, I would’ve popped it in the fridge to set.
Finally I whipped up a pot of cream (500ml), and piped it into the eclairs. Then I added 3 raspberries, feel free to add more! These eclairs were so fresh and yummy, and gobbled up in a flash! They are a great twist on the traditional eclair and show how versatile choux pastry can be.
- 75g Butter
- 200ml Cold water
- 125g Plain flour
- 3 Eggs
- 125g Icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp Rose water
- 40 Fresh raspberries
- 6 blocks of White chocolate
- 500ml Double cream