What Ruby Baked: Pastry Week

Go bake or go home


Welcome to the sixth instalment of ‘What Ruby Baked’, in which we follow UCL’s very own Nigella in her pursuit to be crowned ‘Amateur Baker of the Year’.

With just a few short weeks to go, only six contestants remain in the Bake Off Tent. All that stands between them and the quarter finals is pastry; the final flaky frontier.

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Steely-eyed: Ruby looked determined from the start

No more nice, can-I-borrow-a-cup-of-sugar kind of baking. We all know what happens to the three little pigs when the big bad wolf used that line. This, my friends, is loaf or death. Let the baking begin!

The first ordeal was to make some sort of suet pudding. In a horrible twist, it turns out suet is the fat collected around the internal organs of an animal. Now I’m no vegetarian (I prefer my steaks still moving, thank you) but this is RANK. I mean come on, this is the twenty first century, we’ve got Google Glass and 3D porn yet no one has gotten around to making a steamed pudding without scraping the fat off little Betsy the lamb’s kidneys?

Rubes, looking sunkissed and rocking on-trend faded denim, telepathically heard my enraged rambling and went for a vegetarian suet to make a plum jam roly-poly with ginger ice cream.

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Humane: Ruby’s vegetarian treat was ethical and delicious

Everyone else made other stuff out of suet, it wasn’t very interesting. The highlight was probably Christine discussing how much her husband loved her Spotted Dick. It was passed down from her grandmother, and she hoped Paul and Mary would like it too. She had some concerns of the inclusion of her currants, which led her to argue that ‘otherwise, it wouldn’t be Spotted Dick anymore’. No Christine – that would be full blown syphilis.

In an attempt to calm down the aroused BBC2 viewers, Sue (Mel?) took this moment to transport us to Mull, where we got to see all my relatives looking cold and pissed off. My fourth cousin made a suet putting (ochh that’ll be a wee clootie dumpling) and everyone danced around it at a ceilidh, presumably after eating more animal innards in the form of a haggis. No wonder everyone in Scotland is so bitter and drunk.

At the end of that suet-ably tricky task, quel surprise, Paul liked Ruby’s plums and all was well with the world.

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Berry Good: Mary was impressed

Next up was everyone’s least favourite moment – the technical challenge! Time for the bakers to make eight little nuns, heavy on choux and light on dogma.

They all got a bit panicky at this point, apart from Kimberly who did her shruggy smiley ‘no muss no fuss’ thing, which somehow manages to be confident without rubbing it in too much (ahem Christine). Rubes looked like she was going to vomit all over the Cath Kidson kitchenware.

Meanwhile, Mary lurked threateningly in the corner like Danny Dyer buying a pasty in Greggs as the contestants tried to assemble and decorate their nuns using what looked like a massive DIY inseminator.

“I’m abysmal at piping,” moaned Ruby, nearly subjecting one of her nuns to the Thomas Beckett treatment.

Despite these troubles, she got second place in the Christian Cookery Challenge. Really though, she chouxd have been first.

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Sad: Baking is tough at the top

At last, it’s the final challenge of the day, and the remaining six seem to be glutens for punishment as they choose loads of impossible sweet pastry things to make for the ‘three types of puff pastry’ challenge. It was all very crumbly and complicated, everyone made mille-feuille, and although Ruby’s were a tad messy Paul’s eyes twinkled her through to the quarter finals.

Frances’ French-themed fancies won her the star baker accolade of the day, and everyone managed to appear pleased for her.

Unfortunately, this tent isn’t quite big enough for six egos anymore, so Glen was send back to his own real kitchen with actual walls. Don’t feel bad, Glen. The end crepes up on us all eventually.

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Consolation: Glen, the latest baker to bite the dust, is consoled by our heroine