October 05, 2018


It was pastry week and the judges rolled out some new challenges for the bakers which included a Tudor-style banquet pie. Ironically Manon struggled on the French technical challenge and Jon revealed pastry has ‘cannibalistic tendencies’ .

Pastry was the theme of the day. First challenge was samosas. Most of the bakers seemed to have been inspired by their mother’s recipe. Rahul and Ruby shone, both receiving ‘the handshake’. Even Paul is beginning to refer to his own hand in the third person. He’s definitely losing the plot in this series, and this becomes more apparent as the week progresses.

Dan thought he’d save time by using a pasta roller. It didn’t really work out. By the time he had thrown his first batch away and started again, he just had enough time to mess it up, again. A bad start to the day. It could only get better, or so
he thought.

This week’s “cake that no one has ever heard of” was the Puit d’amour, or well of love. So named because the combination of puff, choux, crème patisserie and strawberry compote supposedly has erotic connotations.

Ruby came last, Rahul a very fortunate third and Bryony came first. Dan’s day did get worse. At least he had the next day to make amends.

So we came to the showstopper, with contestants given free rein to produce a Tudor pie fit for a banquet. I’m of the belief that anything in a pie tastes great: that belief was well and truly shattered this week.

A Tudor pie should contain, blackbirds, peacocks, bitterns or thrushes. We got the full gamut of octopi, mermaids, dragons and some sort of silver fish. Ok they weren’t in the pies, but were rather pastry representations of these creatures. Who else but Kim-Joy would think of Silke the vegetarian mermaid, let alone make her in pie form?

Jon (did he tell you he was Welsh?) made a dragon pie that was incredibly scary, the most frightening thing of all being that the judges had to eat it. Teachers’ pet Rahul made one of the worst things we’ve seen on the programme so far, a
hideous mess of a fluorescent butterfly that Paul said was exquisite. He also said Dan’s damp squib of a soggy silver- sprayed fish “looked great”. Is he seeing what I’m seeing? Methinks he should borrow Prue’s specs.

Briony was triumphant, by virtue of being the only contestant to truly produce a showstopper, an incredible Alice in Wonderland tribute, complete with a bottle of booze for Prue, all made in the same time frame as Desperate Dan made
his floppy fish cake.

She had a superlative week and was made star baker. She was bottom of the pile two weeks ago when no one was ousted, but has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. Perhaps that bit of luck is the tipping point in this years contest. I
think not, but am open to being proved wrong. Dans pastry disasters cost him dearly and he went from hero to zero in short order. I thought he was in with a chance so what do I know?

If you fancy having a bash at the 'Tart of Love' then the recipe follows below. Good luck!

Best wishes


The French puits d’amour means ‘wells of love’ – which says it all.

Makes: 9 pastries

Hands-on time: 1 hour, plus chilling

Baking time: 25 minutes

Skill level: Needs skill

For the rough puff:

165g plain flour

good pinch of salt

115g salted butter, frozen

6–7 tbsp chilled water

For the compote:

250g strawberries, hulled

25g caster sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

50g raspberries

For the crème pâtissière:

500ml whole milk

1/2 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped, pod reserved

100g caster sugar

4 egg yolks

40g cornflour

40g unsalted butter

4 1/2 tsp demerara sugar, to brûlée

For the choux pastry:

55g unsalted butter, diced

pinch of salt

70g plain flour

2 eggs, beaten

beaten egg, for brushing

nibbed sugar, for sprinkling

You will also need:

10cm round cutter

2 baking sheets lined with baking paper

Large piping bag

1cm plain nozzle

1.5cm plain nozzle

Kitchen blowtorch

Step 1 – Make the pastry. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together. Using the coarse side of a cheese grater, grate long lengths of the frozen butter onto the flour. Mix with a palette or butter knife.

Step 2 – Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the chilled water into the bowl and, using the knife, mix until the dough begins to hold together. Quickly bring the pastry together with a floured hand. (Add the remaining water, if necessary, to bring it into a soft, single lump.) Shape into a flat rectangle of about 15 x 10cm. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Step 3 – Unwrap the pastry and place on a lightly floured worktop. Roll into a narrow rectangle of about 36 x 12cm. With the short end of the pastry closest to you, fold up the bottom third of the pastry onto the middle third, then the top
third down, as if you were folding an A4 letter. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill again for 30 minutes. Repeat the roll and fold once more, then chill again for at least 30 minutes, or until needed.

Step 4 – For the compote, tip the strawberries into a pan with the sugar and lemon juice and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook for a further 5–10 minutes, until reduced to a thick compote (but not a
jam). Remove from the heat, cool, then chill.

Step 5 – For the crème pâtissière, put the milk in a pan with the vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Whisk the sugar, yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl. Whisk a little hot milk into the sugar and egg
mixture, then whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well combined. Return to the pan. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens.

Step 6 – Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted. Leave to
cool, cover with cling film and chill until cold.

Step 7 – Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. Lightly dust your worktop and roll out the rough puff to a 35cm square. Using the 10cm cutter, cut out 9 discs. Place on the baking sheets and prick each disc all over with a fork.
Chill for 30 minutes.

Step 8 – For the choux pastry, place the butter, salt and 150ml of water in a medium pan. Heat gently to melt the butter, then bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and tip in the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon to form a smooth ball of dough that leaves the sides of the pan.

Step 9 – Vigorously beat the egg into the hot dough, a little at a time, until the dough is stiff and glossy. You may not need all the egg – stop if the dough becomes loose. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.

Step 10 – Pipe the choux in a circle ½cm in from the edge of each disc. Brush each choux ring with beaten egg and sprinkle with nibbed sugar. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until puffed, crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to
a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 11 – To assemble, spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle. Spoon the strawberry compote into the pastry shells and pipe the crème pâtissière over the top. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of
demerara sugar on top and, using a blowtorch, brûlée the sugar. Serve immediately.

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