This Was Candice Brown's Hardest Challenge On The Great British Bake Off - Exclusive

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If you have ever tried your hand at any complex baking, you know it can be a real challenge. From angel cake to brioche to croissants, certain baked goods require much more than a quick crack of an egg and a stir. Which is all the more reason for that swelling of pride when your efforts lead to a baked good that's really more of a baked great.

Now, try to recreate that success with multiple cameras rolling, a timer running, competitors working nearby, and judges strolling about watching everything. Picturing all that may begin to give you a sense of what it's like to compete on "The Great British Baking Show." Harder still? To win. But that's what Candice Brown did back in Season 7, and while maybe some of the best bakers make it look easy, she told Mashed during an exclusive interview that it was anything but. Asked about her greatest "Bake Off" challenge, Brown spoke of a thin flaky dough you probably take for granted.

"On the show, we had to make filo pastry from scratch in about, I think it was three hours or three and a half hours," Brown said. "That is ridiculous. Even Mary Berry doesn't make her filo from scratch, so actually having to work out how to make filo, but then actually having to think about how to get it that thin." Brown had been struggling with neck pain and didn't want to roll out that large amount of filo herself. "And I thought: 'Right, pasta machine.' So I turned up on the day, and obviously, I'd practiced with the pasta machine, and it worked perfectly," she said. "I was the only one that had a pasta machine and I started thinking: 'Oh, sh**, I've messed up here,' and the others are going: 'Are you allowed that?' And I'm going: 'I think so. Oh, no.'"

Candice Brown on why "Bake Off" is the real deal

The gamble worked, and thanks to Candice Brown's filo hack, she cruised through the challenge. "When [the judges] came round, they said: 'This is a stroke of genius. Well done,' and I nearly wet myself with relief because it could have gone one or the other way," Brown revealed. 

Brown wants to make sure the audience knows that while sure, "Bake Off" is for their entertainment and culinary edification, it's real. There are no second chances if a pastry fails, no pausing the clock if a baker needs more time, and no special off-screen facilities where the actual cooking takes place.

"Okay, so it really is just a tent. It really, really is just a tent," Brown said, describing the place where the baking action takes place. "So when it is hot, it is beyond, and when it is cold, it's absolutely freezing, and when it's wet, it floods." Brown continued: "And it will always be the opposite of the weather that you want it to be. So for instance, Chocolate Week, you can guarantee it's going to be 35 degrees [Celsius] outside, which means it's about 40 odd inside. When it's meringue, you need it to be completely bone dry, but of course, it's probably the wettest weather that we've seen since Noah's Ark."

Beyond the weather, Brown revealed how tight the timing is. "When they say: 'Stop,' that is it," Brown said. "When they say stop, you have to stop. And what I realized, it's surprising what you can get finished in one minute. When they go: 'You've got one minute left,' it's surprising what you can get done."

To see what Candice Brown is baking up these days, follow her on Instagram or pick up a copy of her latest book "Happy Cooking."