Great British Bake Off – episode 5 review

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At the start of this week’s episode there is a brief explanation of Diana’s absence: she has been taken ill and won’t be returning for the rest of the series. As was already announced in the press, she had a fall and has lost her sense of smell which meant it would be difficult for her to continue. Some still think her absence is related to last week’s #bingate …

So with Diana gone, the tent seemed quite empty all of a sudden. Perhaps Paul and Mary would decide to avoid an eviction this week?

We started off with the signature custard tart bake, where most of the bakers chose to incorporate fruit into their tarts. Poor young Martha was left in tears by Mary’s denouncement of her soggy bottom, and Norman’s over-enthusiasm with the icing sugar on his tart au citron encased everyone and everything around him in a dusting of white. Kate (who could be a hot favourite for winner in our view) made a beautiful rhubarb and custard tart with a swirl of rhubarb compote daringly added halfway through the bake – it looked fabulous and according to Mary and Paul tasted it as well.

The technical challenge this week was a delicious sounding mini pear pie: but exceptionally complex for the bakers, who first had to accurately poach their pear, then wrap it in homemade (no jusrol for these chaps) rough puff pastry, and bake it. A spectacular little pudding for a dinner party, but unheard of by all of the bakers, and several efforts ended badly … with pastry slipping off the sides of the too-warm pear. Martha won the technical bake and this makes up for her earlier tears – we know there is no way she is going home this week.

In fact, the way the cameras are focussing on Norman this week would seem to indicate that we might not be seeing any more of him after tonight …

Finally the showstopper challenge is a tiered selection of pies – a pie wedding cake, if you will.

Some of the flavour combinations are a little challenging: pork and rhubarb (Kate really does seem to like rhubarb), haggis (Norman, of course), and sweet potato. Whatever happened to good old steak and kidney or chicken and leek?

Nancy hand-raises her pie crusts which is seriously impressive, and Richard uses a hot water crust for all of his (think of the lovely crispiness of a pork pie). Unfortunately he burns them all. Martha’s pies also spring a leak (not a leek, ho ho ho).

Norman (as we guessed) ultimately failed with his Pieful Tower. His selection included a lavender meringue which made all who tried it grimace. We’re sad to see Norman go, but really it was clear to see that his time was up.

Next week is all about European cakes … let’s see what the next kitchen disasters are.

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