Are you ready for more delicious treats? We’re back with the Great British Bake Off!
It’s week six and the seven who remain continue to battle to the last. That’s a Highlander reference which you get just for showing up.
This week was all about Pastry, which is a happy place to be.
The signature challenge kicked things off in good style with an open-topped frangipane tart with shortcrust pasty and chef’s choice of topping. That all sounds pretty complicated and so it proved for many of the remaining contestants, with much worry about soggy bottoms.
Only prison officer Paul and Tamal come out of this one relatively unscathed, with a rash of underdone ingredients soiling those signatures.
Next is the Technical and they went with a cheesy pastry called a Flaouna. It’s from Cyprus, so no one really had a clue where to start – which was exactly what Paul Hollywood was hoping would happen.
In the end poor Tamal comes last and Mat comes first. They both look surprised.
For the showstopper it’s vol-au-vents and everyone is out to do something special in an attempt to stay in the competition. 48 have to be served up in double quick time.
There are some interesting taste choices inside these pastry packages, including a full English breakfast from Mat and chocolate with ganache from Flora. Which sounds lovely.
Crunch time and Mat nabs Star Baker, which is well deserved after weeks of decent work and some fun stuff tonight. Sadly, it was time for Alvin to leave, something we’ve all been expecting for a few weeks now.
Next week’s theme is recipes from the past but for right now why not check out some of the best pastry treats. Here’s everything you need to make Paul Hollywood’s Flaounes and Flora’s tasty vol-au-vents.
By Paul Hollywood
This Cypriot cheese-filled pastry uses ground mahlepi (a Greek spice made from the ground stone of the St Lucie cherry) in the dough, giving a hint of almond flavour. Delicious with a filling of pecorino romano, halloumi and sultanas.
For the filling
500g/1lb 2oz pecorino romano cheese (or a vegetarian alternative)
250g/9oz halloumi cheese
75g/2½oz plain flour
90g/3¼oz fine semolina
7g instant yeast
2 tsp dried mint
4 large free-range eggs
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
For the pastry
750g/1lb 10oz strong plain flour, plus extra for flouring
1 tsp mastic powder (a plant resin used in baking, available from specialist stores online)
2 tsp ground mahlepi, also known as mahleb (a Greek spice made from the ground stone of the St Lucie cherry)
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g instant yeast
60g/2¼oz unsalted butter, softened
450ml/16fl oz full-fat milk
For the glaze
200g/7oz sesame seeds
dash of white wine vinegar
3 free-range egg yolks, lightly beaten
For the filling, grate the pecorino romana and halloumi into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the plain flour, semolina, yeast, dried mint and sultanas together. Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug.
Tip the flour mixture over the cheese and pour over the egg mixture. Mix together with your hands.
Cover and leave to stand while you make the pastry.
For the pastry, tip the flour, mastic powder and mahlepi into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter into the centre of the flour with 350ml/12fl oz of the milk. Combine the ingredients to form a soft dough. Gradually add the remaining milk – you may not need it all.
Place onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour.
For the glaze, place the sesame seeds, vinegar and enough water to cover in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Drain well and spread the seeds over a clean tea towel to dry.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line 3 baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.
Divide the pastry into large pieces and roll out on a lightly floured work surface until about 3mm/⅛in thick. Using a saucer as a template, cut into 12 x 15cm/6in rounds. Firmly press one side of the pastry rounds into the sesame seeds to coat.
To finish the filling, add the baking powder to the filling mixture and divide the filling into 12. Place one portion of filling into the centre of each dough circle and fold in 3 sides to make a rounded triangle shape, leaving a gap in centre with the filling exposed.
Place the flaounes on the baking trays, brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until golden-brown and puffed up. Serve hot or cold.
Asparagus and Parma ham and praline and chocolate vol-au-vents
Go over all retro and make a double quantity of puff pastry to serve show-stopping sweet and savoury vol-au-vents at your party.
Equipment and preparation: you will need a free-standing mixer, a 5cm/2in and a 2.5cm/1in round cutter, a piping bag and at least 2 sheets of silicon for lining the baking tray and covering the pastry.
For the puff pastry
600g/1lb 5oz plain flour
300ml/10fl oz ice-cold water
500g/1lb 2oz very cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 large free-range egg (for egg wash)
For the pesto
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 lemon, juice only
50-75ml/1¾-2½fl oz extra virgin olive oil
50g/1¾oz Parmesan cheese, grated
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the praline paste
100g/3½oz blanched hazelnuts
100g/3½oz caster sugar
For the crème légère
6 tbsp full-fat milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 large free-range egg yolk
20g/¾oz caster sugar
½ tbsp cornflour
10g unsalted butter
4 tbsp double cream
For the ganache
125ml/4fl oz double cream
125g/4½oz plain chocolate (50-60% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
½ shot espresso
For the savoury filling
24 baby asparagus tips
100g/3½oz shelled peas, fresh or frozen
50g/1¾oz mangetout, chopped
50g/1¾oz shelled broad beans, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp basil oil
1 tbsp pesto (from above)
2 slices Parma ham
For the cheese
125g/4½oz full-fat cream cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
To decorate the savoury vol-au-vents
2 radishes, finely chopped
mixture of pea shoots and micro herbs
To decorate the sweet vol-au-vents
25g/1oz shelled hazelnuts
100g/3½oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
24 small purple edible pansies
For the puff pastry, in a freestanding mixer, beat the flour and water together until elastic. Remove half of the dough and roll it into a small rectangle 2.5cm/1in thick. Repeat with the second half, then cover both rectangles with cling film and place in the freezer.
Divide the butter into two and roll out between two sheets of greaseproof paper – a wooden rolling pin will help to flatten the cold butter. Return both slabs of butter to the fridge.
Remove one of the rectangles of dough from the freezer and roll out to double the size of the butter. Keep the second dough in the freezer while you are doing this. Put half of the butter on the top of half of the dough and fold up, sealing the butter into the dough. Roll out to form a long rectangle. Fold the top and bottom in like a book to meet in the middle. Turn 90 degrees and then repeat the rolling and folding.
Turn again and repeat the action. Wrap in cling film and return to the freezer.
Repeat this process with the second dough rectangle, sieving the cocoa onto the first lamination.
Perform the lamination process a further two times for each dough, allowing to rest in the freezer for at least 20 minutes each time. While waiting for the doughs to rest make the individual fillings.
For the pesto, blend together all the pesto ingredients in a food processor, adding more oil if required. Put into a jar and keep in the fridge until required.
For the praline paste, line a baking tray with silicon. Dry fry the hazelnuts for a few minutes until beginning to colour. Heat the caster sugar in a pan over a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of water until the colour of caramel. Do not stir after the sugar has dissolved.
Add the nuts to the sugar and pour onto the baking tray. Once solid, break into pieces and blend in a food processor until smooth (about 5 minutes). Store in a jar in the fridge until required.
For the crème légère, heat the milk and vanilla bean paste in a pan until boiling. Whisk the egg yolk, caster sugar and cornflour in a bowl until smooth, before pouring the hot milk on top.
Pour the mixture back into the pan, add the butter and whisk on a medium heat until thickened. Pour into a container, press cling film onto the surface of the cream and allow to cool. Once fully chilled, whisk the double cream in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Stir the cream into the crème légère and whisk until smooth. Store in a container in the fridge until required.
For the ganache, bring the cream to the boil in a pan. Place the chopped chocolate and espresso in a bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and espresso and mix until smooth and fully melted. Allow to cool slightly before transferring into a piping bag.
To complete the pastry for the vol-au-vents, preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Roll the doughs out to 5mm/¼in thick. Using a 5cm/2in round cutter, cut out 24 discs from each dough.
Then cut out a 2.5cm/1in circle from the centre. Gather the centres and the scraps of pastry into a ball then re-roll again to 5mm//¼in thick and cut another 24 x 5cm/2in rounds from each dough.
Brush the full discs with a little egg and place a ring on top of each. Using a sharp fork, prick the bottom evenly and all over. Brush with a little more egg. Arrange the vol-au-vents on a large baking tray lined with silicon. Cover with another large sheet of silicon (this helps them to rise evenly). Bake for 15 minutes, checking regularly and only removing the top sheet when fully risen (the chocolate ones might need a little longer). Leave to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
Pipe rounds of ganache into the bottom of the chocolate vol-au-vents and allow to set.
For the savoury filling, add the asparagus, peas, mangetout and broad beans to a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 4 minutes to cook gently. Drain all the vegetables, then reserve the very tips of the asparagus for decoration and cut the stalks in half. Add the oil and pesto to the bowl of vegetables and mix well.
Lay the Parma ham flat on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes, or until fully crisp. Remove from the oven and cut into thin strips.
For the cheese, beat the cream cheese in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and the lemon juice until smooth.
To decorate the savoury vol-au-vents, transfer the cream cheese into a piping bag and pipe a round into the bottom of the plain vol-au-vents. Top with a couple of teaspoons of pesto before adding the vegetables on top until almost full. Pipe a little cream cheese on top and add a Parma ham strip and asparagus tips. Decorate with radishes, micro herbs and a little basil oil. Store in the fridge until required.
To decorate the sweet vol-au-vents, dry fry the hazelnuts and chop. Spoon the praline paste on top of the set ganache. Transfer the crème légère into a piping bag and pipe a blob on top. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts.
Create chocolate curls by using a big flat sharp knife and the bottom of the chocolate bar. Drag the knife over the bar towards you and scoop the curls with the knife – as your hands will melt them.
Sprinkle the chocolate curls on top of the vol-au-vents. The vol-au-vents are best served immediately.
The Great British Bake Off 2015 airs on BBC One at 8pm on Wednesdays.