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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Great British Bake-Off: Patisserie Week


Apologies for missing last week's review but life got in the way and I had to prioritise which unfortunately meant no Bake-Off. However I wanted to say how disappointed I was that Benjamina left and felt that it was possibly Selasi's time to go in the quarter final. But somehow he's made it to the final four alongside Andrew, Jane and Candice who were all competing for a place in next week's finale which will also be the final episode of Bake-Off ever to air on BBC One. This week's episode saw the bakers battle three fiendish Patisserie challenges and gave Mel and Sue the chance to throw in as many French puns as possible.

Signature Bake - 24 Palmier Biscuits. 
Early on in this challenge, Candice noted how empty the room looked and I certainly felt that whilst watching this episode as the content for this episode was thin on the ground. For example I was quite bored throughout most of the twenty minutes which saw the final four tasked with making two sets of savoury palmier biscuits which had to be made from puff pastry and have a defined pattern. It was the puff pastry that caused the biggest drama here as Andrew, unhappy with his first batch, decided to start his bake from scratch after an hour had elapsed. This being the semi-final the programme-makers weren't going to give us any early indication of who was doing the best and it did appear as if all four were in similar states of panic as the time ticked down. Selasi was looking particularly bothered and Sue pointed out how much change there was from the cool and calm figure we met in episode one. Selasi was right to be worried though as his final two batches of palmiers hadn't baked nearly enough with his tomato, onion and Parmesan butterflies being particularly criticised for containing raw dough. Meanwhile Candice had a few issues because, although her palmiers looked like they tasted fantastic, she'd overloaded her red onion offerings to the extent that they'd lost the definition they needed. Of the four finalists it was actually Andrew who got the best feedback as his palmiers were described as being full of flavour and very crisp with Paul adding that he'd definitely got away with redoing his pastry an hour in.

Technical Challenge - Savarin Cake
I've made no secret of the fact that I've struggled to spell the last couple of offerings that the bakers have been tasked with creating for their technical challenges. But this week I didn't have to scour Google with a rough spelling of the bake as part of the challenge saw the bakers having to write 'Savarin' in icing on top of the yeast-based cake. Of all of this year's challenges, the Savarin was the one that seemed to baffle them the most with instructions such as 'draw a 7cm oval' feeling overly complicated. Mary made a comment early on about how the bakers had it lucky with a hot day as it meant that the yeast in their cake would rise quicker. However Selasi didn't seem to feel that way and for the majority of this challenge he appeared to be sweating something rotten. Luckily Sue was on hand with a towel and seemed to be enjoying sporadically mopping his brow. As it was a hot day everybody was worrying about the cream on their cake melting but Selasi really hadn't put much thought into how he'd decorate the top of his Savarin. Eventually he decided just to open up an orange and randomly place the segments on top with little care for presentation. But Selasi's decision cost him dearly and Mary really wasn't happy that he'd kept the membrane on the orange segments rather than removing it. Selasi ended up in last place but to be fair the majority of the judgements weren't great with Jane just snagging first place due to the fact her Savarin had the best colour and she'd decorated it quite neatly.

Showstopper - 36 fondant fancies 
Going into the final round, Mary Berry had already made the assessment that Selasi needed to pull up his socks if he was going to get anywhere near next week's final. Early on in the challenge to make 36 fondant fancies, Mary criticised the way that Selasi hadn't sieved his flour before making his sponge so he thought he'd take a leaf out of Andrew's book and start again. Coming out of her victory in the technical, Jane hit a stumbling block after her icing just didn't cover her rather massive fondant fancies. That being said everything else about her raspberry curd and buttercream and lemon curd fancies hit the right notes as she got general praise about her flavours. After having a couple of iffy rounds, Candice hit big where it mattered and created, in the words of Mary, two cracking fondant fancies. In particular her chocolate praline offerings looked fantastic whilst Mary seemed to go wild for her cherry bakewell creations. Andrew meanwhile had mixed comments about his chocolate and coffee and Victoria sponge fancies although to be fair they did look fantastic as he'd dressed them up as an entire orchestra. Unfortunately the showstopper looked to be Selasi's last stand as his white chocolate and raspberry fancies were far too sweet for Mary and Paul's pallets. Whilst his lime and ginger cakes faired a little better it was clear, even before the summation, that he hadn't done enough to make the final.

Star Baker:  Andrew won an award which could've gone to either he or Candice.
Eliminated: In that final summation it was obvious that Selasi was going home as all of his fellow competitors had at least one challenge in which they shone. I have to say that to me it's the right decision as Selasi's skill level wasn't as great as the trio of finalists. That being said I feel he will go down as this series' most memorable contestant and the final will definitely be a little less entertaining without him there.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Candice wins this one for overfilling her palmier biscuits to the extent that they lost that definition that Mary was so keen on. Also special mention goes to Selasi who ran afoul of Mel and Sue after telling his fellow competitors how much time they had left to bake.
Innuendo of the Week: Unfortunately missing last week didn't allow me to mention the jousting sticks on Andrew's marzipan cake which may have been the best naughty gag of the series. This week didn't feature much innuendo apart from the always reliable Candice mentioning something about rolling her nuts.
Next Week: It's the ruddy final so that means..
And the Winner Is: It's quite hard to decide this year's winner as everybody is seemingly on the same sort of level going in. Due to her quirky nature, changing shades of lipstick and general demeanour I feel Candice is the winner that the producers probably want as she's the most memorable of the trio remaining. However I think Candice may go overboard in the final meaning that either Andrew or Jane will snag the prize instead. Whatever happens I'm sure that the final will be one of the most-watched TV episodes of the year and that BBC One will make sure The Great British Bake-Off leaves their channel in style.

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