Dessert week has been filled with a lot of fear. Fear of cracks, fear of the Star Baker’s curse, fear of a soggy bottom and sloppy mousse. And ultimately, the fear of leaving just before the Quarter Final of The Great British Bake Off.
For this week’s signature, the bakers were asked to make a wonderfully, swirly roulade. It should be crack free and filled enough to make a lovely swirl. This seemed to be a fairly alright challenge, everyone maintaining a level of hope that they could succeed. That is, until you see Tom trying to make another sponge? Is that the Curse of the Star Baker at work again? And Selasi thinks he’s spotted a crack in his sponge. Damn those Bake Off stress levels!
This week’s swirly highlights are Candice’s crowd pleaser roulade of white chocolate and raspberry with a passion fruit curd, Benjamina’s piña colada roulade with a pineapple rum purée (alcoholics rejoice!) and Selasi’s lemon curd and strawberry roulade inspired by a summer picnic. After this challenge, if you don’t get the overbearing urge to roll something, then something may be wrong. Special mention has to go to Tom and his adorable little pink fan that he used to cool down his sponges. It was so teeny!
For the technical, the bakers were asked to make a marjolaine. A what now? Don’t worry if you’re overwhelmed by a sense of “pardon me?” We were stumped as to what this was meant to be until it was described a rectangular, nutty, meringue layer cake, filled with chocolate and buttercream (or a fancy Vienetta – thank you very much for that one Andrew). This “fancy Vienetta” had to be perfectly decorated with nuts, the correct nuts and more nuts and the meringue should be crisp.
To help us embrace this nutty French treat, we even got a Bake Off history lesson! This time, Sue escaped to Paris to learn a bit about Praline and how it first came about. Now I just want to eat a box of chocolate covered nuts. Even tough there seemed to be a fairly consistent level of yumminess amongst the bakers, there’s always a winner and a loser. It was our resident King of Cool, Selasi, that got last place (nooo, not Selasi!) and Andrew came out on top. A much needed confidence boost for him, since last week was a little bit emotional for our dear engineer.
For the final challenge of the week, the bakers were asked to create a showstopper of 24 mini mousse cakes. There needed to be 2 flavours, 12 of each. The flavours must complement and please, and not sag, have a soggy bottom or make Mary and Paul unhappy. Selasi made “mini” desserts fit for the Hulk (and were the perfect colour for him as well), Andrew tried to assemble a Feris Wheel of treats but had trouble keeping his “passengers” in place and Benjaminia created a mousse that only your mother could love. It was good, moussey fun in the Bake Off Tent.
The highlights were, despite how it looked, Benjamina’s apple crumble mousse cake and chocolate coffee mousse cake, Candice’s champagne cocktail and mixed berry mousse cake and chocolate mousse cake, and Andrew’s Ferris Wheel of forest fruit mousse cake and mint chocolate mousse cake, inspired by a childhood day at the seaside.
Without a shadow of doubt, Andrew thoroughly deserved his title of Star Baker this week. Unfortunately, the Curse of the Star Baker claimed its victim as Tom was asked to leave Bake Off. He did give it his all but between an ugly chocolate covered roulade and “hipster picnic” gone not quite right, it was a fair decision.
Next week, in yet another first, it’s Tudor Week! It’s like they secretly knew about the change over all along and are making sure we miss them with all these “firsts”. It’s sure to be an interesting one.