I tuned into this week’s Bake Off with a somewhat heavy heart following the news that the much loved show would be moving to Channel 4 after the current series and that Mel and Sue would not be going with it. It will be all change next year, and at the minute I don’t know if that will be a good thing.
However, one change I was intrigued by was the introduction of Batter Week to the Bake Off tent, and I was certainly looking forward to seeing what challenges the judges would set and how the bakers would cope.
For the signature challenge, the bakers made 24 Yorkshire puddings with a savoury filling. Now I must confess, Aunt Bessie is responsible for the Yorkshires in our house so I’m not expert, but I did think the recipe would be fairly standard. Apparently not, as we had many different recipes in the tent – Tom used 8 eggs, while Andrew went for 4 and Val included 5. Meanwhile, poor Jane was just hoping she’d make through the challenge, confessing she couldn’t make Yorkshire puddings, despite her mother’s best efforts to teach her.
With their Yorkshires in the oven, the bakers anxiously waited and watched (Val camping out on the floor in front of her oven) for the rise. It soon became clear to some bakers that they would have to redo them, with Tom, Val, Jane and Candice choosing to try a second batch.
Unfortunately for Tom, his second lot of Yorkshires were no better than his first, with Mary suggesting that it was possibly due to his choice to use chickpea flour with added Nigella seeds. Jane’s too didn’t rise as well as they could’ve done, but she was praised for her fillings, however Val received praise from judges thanks to her second attempt, and Candice was also commended on her flavours.
Paul chose the technical challenge for this week, and he asked the bakers to present 12 heart shaped lace pancakes- each baker was allowed to bake one test pancake, but the 12 they made afterwards had to be presented to the judges.
The making of this one didn’t seem to be too much of challenge for our remaining nine bakers (although Rav did make the somewhat odd decision to used the entire bag of sugar he was provided with in his batter mixture), but the designing of the lace hearts did give some pause for thought, with Candice lamenting the fact she didn’t even have a lace pants to draw inspiration from.
After a their test hearts and practising their piping onto baking paper, the bakers began to make their final 12. Soon, time was working against them, and in their hurry to finish some bakers’ delicate hearts were broken (and that was before Paul began commenting).
Unfortunately for Rav, his choice to use all the sugar landed him in 9th place, while Benjamina’s intricate design saw her award 1st place.
For the showstopper challenge, the bakers were tasked with making 24 Spanish churros* – a sweet fried donut-like snack cooked in oil. Andrew chose to stick to the traditional churros recipe, while the rest of the bakers jazzed up their dough. In an effort to make sure their churros were uniform and even, most of the bakers piped their mixture onto outlines before cooking them, however Rav and Tom both chose to pipe theirs directly into the oil the way they are traditionally done.
This decision didn’t serve either baker well, with Tom’s being over done while Rav’s were inconsistent. Benjamina’s churros were described by Paul as beautiful, so it is little wonder that she was named the first ever Batter Week star baker.
Unfortunately it was Kate that was sent home from the Bake Off tent, with her lace pancakes being inconsistent and her hot cross bunny churros being very un-bunny looking and very oily.
Next week, pastry…
*Again, not being an expert on Spanish cuisine, I went the Bake Off Wikipedia page for the spelling…
Photos from BBC show ‘The Great British Bake Off’, no copyright infringement intended.