Sunday 25 February 2018

Vicki Notaro on Great British Bake Off: Return of the soggy bottoms for Pastry Week

It’s Pastry Week!

Alvin Magallanes who was the latest contestant voted off BBC1's cookery contest, The Great British Bake Off. Mark Bourdillon/PA Wire
Alvin Magallanes who was the latest contestant voted off BBC1's cookery contest, The Great British Bake Off. Mark Bourdillon/PA Wire
Alvin Magallanes who was the latest contestant voted off BBC1's cookery contest, The Great British Bake Off. Mark Bourdillon/PA Wire

Vicky Notaro

It’s the week every contestant dreads, because there’s one thing you don’t want on the Great British Bake Off and it’s a soggy bottom. This occurs when the underneath of the pastry doesn’t cook properly, and is slightly damp. Not ideal.

This week the bakers faced three challenges – a sweet shortcrust frangipane tart in the signature, Cypriot flaounes in the technical, and no holds barred, er, vol au vents for their showstopper.


“How do you fan your plums Alvin?”

Adorable Alvin is often the target for the host and judges most directly risque innuendo because innocence radiates from him. He answered Mel’s question with the straightest face, bless him. Paul went on to tell him that his plums were undercooked, while he apologised profusely. Does anyone else just want to hold Alvin?

Contestant Paul said the C word, multiple times

No, not that C word. Christmas! It’s barely September, but Contestant Paul had the audacity to use festive flavours in his tart, and even made icing Christmas trees. Could you not before Halloween, Contestant Paul?

Tamal is still a heartbreaker

Mulled wine is the way to a woman’s heart, especially our Mary Berry’s. Yes, yes, Tamal’s tart (a title many would welcome for themselves) is festive too, but we’ll forgive him because he could just be embracing an autumn/winter theme, and let’s be honest, he’s so darn dreamy.

Ian reached peak posh

Not content with having an air of country squire off him, Ian used guinea fowl eggs to make his pastry. Not just any guinea fowl, mind - ONES HE RAISED HIMSELF. Three adults and a little chick, who he may or may not name after Mary. Later in the show, he said he’d be “jolly happy”, and he was totally serious.

Soggy bottoms struck!

Nadiya was first to fall foul of the dreaded soggy bottom in the signature, but she was by no means alone. If looks could kill though, hers would have flattened Paul Hollywood.

Judge Paul was a meanie

Mary was disgusted when Paul set a very difficult technical challenge that even she’d never heard of. The Cypriot Flaouna is a yeast-y, bread-y pastry with cheese, sultanas and something that stinks of pine. The contestants were floored, with Tamal even declaring “I hate you, I hate all of you.” Do his bad boy antics make the girls of Twitter love him even more?

It turned out Flaounes were fancy Jambons…

You’re fooling nobody, Judge Paul. Although sultanas are an unnecessary addition, can’t we just stick with basic beige things?

Alvin’s having a total ‘mare

His dad is a general in the army, so he says he’ll never throw in the towel and has always had a strong work ethic. However hearts broke at the sight of his little face when Judge Paul compared his flaouna to a pizza. #PrayForAlvin

The 80s are back

Two different kinds of vol au vents for the showstopper? Have we woken up in 1985? The contestants had to make their own puff pastry, a notoriously difficult challenge, and then up the ante with fabulous fillings.

Ian out-poshed himself AGAIN

Scallop, squid ink, bacon and Vermouth vol au vents?! “Jet black food is a little bit risqué”, he says. We thought his porcini and pancetta ones were fancy, FFS. However everyone’s sounded impressive – cod and clementine from Nadiya, tiger prawn and risotto from Contestant Paul, and Tamal’s sandwich inspired pulled pork vol au vents. We thought chicken and white sauce was the extent of them, to be honest.

“It’s a bit like a cellulite-y thigh”

Mel’s description of Ian’s lumpy, buttery pastry was spot on, but he wasn’t best pleased. Nadiya’s also went haywire, but brave woman that she is, she started a brand new batch.

The other bakers also had trouble, with Tamal saying it was hard to pick which ones to show because “they’re all so hideously deformed”.

We don’t do spoilers here, so that’s where we’ll leave it for pastry week. Except to say that GBBO won’t be the same again next week…. SOB.

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