Pastry week: 'The Great British Bake Off' sends home a favourite after a fishy bake

Katie Archer
(Channel 4)

Pastry week’s Great British Bake Off eviction was a shocker as one previous favourite to win the competition flaked out and went home.

Dan had earned his fair share of Hollywood Handshakes during his time in the tent, but pastry proved to be his downfall as he blundered his way through one disastrous task to the next.

Unfortunately, his attempt to pull back the contest with a Showstopper salmon pie backfired when he made it a little too realistic – and a little too raw.

Elsewhere, we got a sneak preview of Bake Off’s very first vegan week, and the viewers continued their complaints about too many handshakes.

After last week’s shock double-cull of Terry and Karen, we were still reeling and hoping that pastry week would prove slightly more soothing.

Presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig were once again trying to outdo each other in the shirt stakes, and we couldn’t decide whose we preferred – Noel’s eagle print, or Sandi’s rabbits.

But judge Prue Leith’s outfit, we were not such fans of as she seemed to be channelling the recently-departed Karen.

On with the baking!

The Signature Bake

Samosas! Lovely. So most of us would say, but Ruby controversially declared that she could quite happily never eat another samosa in her life, which possibly wasn’t the best introduction to her bake.

Rahul was calling in the help from home by asking his samosa-pro mum for advice, which backfired somewhat when judge Paul Hollywood piled on the pressure by telling poor old nervous Rahul that his criticism would be nothing compared to mum’s.

Meanwhile, Briony decided to go for a sweet, peanut butter cheesecake filling – but even for this PB superfan, it all sounded a little too sickly.

However, Dan’s Christmas cheeseboard-inspired samosas sounded utterly amazing, if only he could get his pastry right. He thought he’d hit on a shortcut by using a pasta maker for rolling the pastry, but it just wasn’t strong enough, setting him back.

Ruby blew the judges’ socks off with her spicing, which was a hit – Paul called her bakes “a juggernaut of flavour” and even asked for her mum’s chutney recipe, offering a Hollywood Handshake.

Jon’s “Romantic Dinner for Two” samosas may have been a little soggy, but the flavours went down well.

Kim-Joy’s savoury samosas were lacking a little in spice although her apple chai dessert ones were deemed delicious, Paul said that Briony’s were the most beautiful samosas he’d ever seen, Dan’s were labelled leathery, and Manon’s were dry.

Perfectionist Rahul put himself through the emotional mill once more, looking in absolute agony as the judges tasted his fare, but it was all worth it when he earned yet another Hollywood Handshake.

Who won the Technical Challenge?

The Technical Challenge this week was that French classic, puy d’amour…although if you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel too bad, as neither had resident French baker Manon who looked completely baffled.

Perhaps Prue has been misinformed and there’s no such thing as the “well of love” pastry. Noel spoke convincingly, though, about the delicacy’s controversial history as an erotic treat.

Anyhow, the bakers gave it their best shot, making both puff and choux pastry with compote and creme patissiere.

In possibly the most revolting scenes ever to take place in the Bake Off tent, Jon offered a handy tip for using up egg whites. HE DRANK THE LOT. We were so stunned (and busy feeling queasy) that quite honestly it was difficult to concentrate on the rest of the challenge.

As we remember it, Dan was encouraging his creme pat to “burp”, which didn’t make us feel too much better, Ruby did a weird circular pastry piping design and then realised her mistake, and Kim-Joy admitted: “I bought a blow torch recently, but I was really freaked out by it.”

Note to bakers: Stop grimacing, nodding, and holding your head in your hands whilst your technical is being judged, it’s supposed to be an anonymous challenge!

Lovely Briony was shocked and delighted to come first, putting her in a strong position for Star Baker, and at the other end of the spectrum Ruby took last place on the chin. Dan, however, was devastated to be second last, saying “it looks like I can’t bake”.

The Showstoppers

It was a tough ask this week, with shaped banquet pies on the menu such as the Tudors would have had as a table centrepiece at a feast.

Briony had dressed for the occasion in an Alice in Wonderland print dress to match the decoration on her pie.

Dan ambitiously shaped his salmon pie like a fish in a bid to pull out the stops he needed to stay in the contest, whilst Jon looked to his Welsh roots by shaping his like a dragon.

Noel spent most of the challenge desperately trying to get Rahul to engage in some banter over his favourite contestants, whether butterflies had antennae or tentacles, anything really, but Rahul just does not need that extra stress on top of the emotional rollercoaster of pie baking.

Argh! A rare disaster for Rahul as his butterfly started leaking lamb curry in the oven. But a stressed Dan was in no mood for hearing the perennial teacher’s pet complaining, as he was so far behind he hadn’t even assembled his pie, never mind baked it.

Rahul wasn’t the only one to spring a leak, as pretty much everyone found their filling began oozing out of the pie.

Jon’s dragon, though delicious, was described as a “monster sausage roll” in looks by Prue, and Kim-Joy’s vegetarian mermaid was a little underdone but came with the added treat of Noel reminding us of one of his best Mighty Boosh characters, Old Gregg.

Ruby’s Kohinoor Crown was a big success and Rahul’s butterfly was not far behind, although the pastry was a little wet.

Poor Dan had the shocker of this week with his salmon – a little too lifelike to be appetising for Prue, and unsurprisingly raw all the way round given its brief dip in the oven.

Manon’s octopus wasn’t the catch of the day either. The outside looked fantastic, but the fish filling didn’t look very tasty and was apparently far too salty.

The Alice in Wonderland pie from Briony was a stunner, but we found the greyness of the venison filling a little off-putting and Prue confirmed the meat was too much.

Noel said of the pie: “This is pure Prue. Port, venison, croquet.” Touche.

Who went out?

Sorry Dan fans, it was his time to go – but as he said himself, “it didn’t take Nostradamus to see that coming”.

We hear Prue and Paul’s frustration that he could have made it all the way to the final based on previous weeks’ performances, but there’s just no way they could have justified keeping him in this time.

Pastry was Dan’s nemesis, but we’ll miss his bromance with Jon.

Who won Star Baker?

Hooray for Briony!

It was great to see someone other than the hot favourites win Star Baker, and it looked like it meant the world to her.

Everything came together for Briony in the pastry challenges, despite being on the verge of going home just a couple of weeks ago.

We’re looking forward to seeing whether this is a turning point for her, or just a fluke week.

Tonight’s highlight

Lord knows you couldn’t call it a highlight, but the moment that just won’t leave us from tonight’s episode is Jon chugging back that egg white.

It’s there when we close our eyes. It’ll be haunting our dreams for days. If the man isn’t off sick next week, we’ll eat our Hawaiian shirts.

The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.

Read more
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith reveal series nine secrets
Meet the series nineGreat British Bake Offcontestants
Great British Bake Offwinners: Where are they now?