Great British Bake Off- Series 4, Episode 4: Pies
The fear of the Soggy Bottom hung in the air during Bake Off episode four, with Kimberley summing up everyone’s fears well: “If my bottom is dry, all will be well today.
Classic Challenge- Life of Pie
Ali made it clear from the start that he hated fruity pies, and appeared like a sulky teenager throughout the whole episode, peering out moodily from under his green hat. He refused to taste his apple pie mixture and as a result got told off by Paul when it came to the judging.
Christine was harsh on herself this episode, crying to camera after the second task. She is very serious about her baking and decided to re-do her pie pastry for perfection, but in a WI lady face-off Mary said it still needed more cornflour.
Glenn’s apple, maple syrup and custard pie was pleasing on the eye, as was Frances’ peach and frangipane ‘pie in the sky’. But the clothing designer got another warning for her style over substance as her flavours were lacking in both the classic and showstopper challenges. Her gimmicks are beginning to tire.
The sickly sweet voiceover was on top patronising form this episode. Frances is apparently brilliant at concept cooking because “her parents ran a bookshop so she grew up influenced by stories”. Poor everybody else is clearly doomed to be narratively challenged.
And yet again the narrator made a heavy reference to Ali’s Pakistani heritage and his ‘incredible’ ability to cook traditional British fare. “Ali uses fruit from all over the world, but he’s never made a simple [insert victoria sponge, crumble, pie etc] before.” Enough.
Technical Challenge- Custard Tart
Most of the bakers had a disastrous time on this challenge as the tarts proved hard to get out of their trays. Ruby looked to be the only one who had used greaseproof paper strips to help ease out her tarts. Glenn’s began to fall apart, as did Ali’s who couldn’t present all 12. Even precision-man Rob couldn’t build his pastry up high enough.
Glenn suffered the most with his scrambled egg-like custard tarts and came in last, followed by Ali in 8th and Christine in 7th. Frances came 1st with Beca in 2nd and Rob 3rd.
Showstopper- Filo Pastry Pies
For the final challenge the nine contestants were tasked with “the nemesis of baking”: making filo pastry from scratch. It was a true test of craftsmanship and the bakers looked adept at working the pastry and stretching it out to form a minutely thin layer of filo.
Rob struggled in this round with his mushrooms. Joining his local mushroom club really did turn out to be a “very unforgiving pastime” as the moisture from the mushrooms leaked through his pie, leaving – you guessed it – an unsatisfactory soggy bottom. His ‘pie-thagorus’ theme didn’t impress Paul either.
Glenn’s spiral Spanakopita looked like a safe option compared to the other bakers’ more adventurous designs, but he pulled off the Greek classic with a beautifully crispy bottom and had praise all round. Frances produced another piece of concept baking, which failed to impress the judges with its unbaked layers of pastry.
Kimberley was named star baker for her hearty chicken, bacon, butternut squash and turmeric pie. It looked scrumptious and it’s good to see Kimberley getting more recognition from the judges.
Ali, who looked down at the mouth again in this task, was sent home- despite getting a good reception from the judges for his orange, cardamom and date m’hanncha. When he admitted to camera “the only way I can stay is if mine is good and someone else’s is bad” he seemed to have already thrown in the towel.Tagged in: baking, Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood
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