This week was Patisserie Week and the semifinal! We are so close to the end of this season, we can’t bare to imagine a world without Bake Off (on the BBC) but that is a world that is coming ever closer. After losing the amazing Benjamina last week, we are left with a final four with the winner’s title in their reach. We don’t want to lose anyone at this stage, but with a heavy heart and a touch of fear, we are possibly in danger of losing yet another favourite! This year’s winner will not only have the prestigious title of Bake Off champion, but champion of the last series of Bake Off in it’s current format. No pressure bakers!
For the signature, the bakers were asked to make 24 savoury palmiers. They had to be puffy, and crispy and filled with beautiful savoury flavours. At this stage, absolutely no soggy bottoms or raw dough must be seen. How do you make a baker want to lose all hope in life? Given them a fiddly, flakey bake to make! The stress levels were almost at boiling point this week, with everyone desperately trying to secure their spot in the final. Poor Andrew had to remake his pastry as a certain look from Mary showed him that he was going in the wrong direction. Jane lost a few of her palmiers as they fell (but thank goodness for the 3 second rule) and even some of Selasi’s decided to take a trip.
More importantly, our resident zen baker officially lost his cool this week! Pacing around, the look of stress in his eye, needing the sweat on his head to be moped up by Sue. Has the pressure finally become too much for our cool Selasi? The only one that didn’t seem to be fazed by the pressure, only needing a lipstick top-up from Mel, was Candice! That girl has talent! This week’s signature highlights were Candice’s red onion, cambozola and walnut palmiers & mushroom streaky bacon and Parmesan, and Jane’s pesto and sun-dried tomato palmiers & goats cheese, olive with Parma ham palmiers.
For the technical, the bakers were asked to make a savarin. One again, they’ve picked something that just make the majority of us want to go to a bookshop, buy a cookbook of technical basics and study because we know nothing! At least, that’s how these technicals make me feel. A savarin is basically a wonderful, syrup-soaked yeast cake that must be as moist as it is tasty. The key to a light and fluffy savarin is in the proving.
With this challenge, there seemed to be a healthy level of optimism. That soon died when they actually started to put the ingredients together. Storming ahead, thanks to a good bake and some tasty decorations, Jane took first place. Unfortunately, again it was our beloved Selasi that couldn’t seem to catch a break and came in last place.
The showstopper was of a more fiddly and delicate nature. The bakers were asked to make 36 fondant fancies. They had to be the fanciest and fondant….iest little cakes possible. This was only going to bring a fondant-based panic to our poor bakers. Whilst others flailed and panicked over intricate details and their genoise sponges, Candice once again seemed to have stolen the title of cool and calm this week. This of course left us looking at Selasi with all the hope in the world that he could make it to the final. Even Paul, who has also fallen under the Selasi charm, was willing our boy to carry on. This week’s highlights were Andrew’s orchestra of mocha Irish coffee fancies and vanilla and raspberry fancies, and Candice’s gorgeously pretty chocolate praline fancies and cherry Bakewell inspired fancies.
If you’ve already seen this week’s episode, then you already know what I’m going to say, but first I have to mention how nice it was to see Andrew’s shocked face when he was announced star baker. It’s even nice when it’s awarded to someone that that achieved a lot but didn’t think they deserved it. As Brits, we do love the underdog. Now, from this point on, I’m calling this the Ballad Of Selasi. He stole the show and our hearts with his cool nature, his endless charm and his effortless piping skills. No one on Bake Off could deny his charms. Not even Mr Hollywood could resist his smirks. To see him go was just heartbreaking and he has certainly been one of the stars of this series. I’m sure this will not be the last of the fabulous baking biker.
Next week, it’s the final! So grab your tea (or something a little stronger) and get ready for a somewhat historic final.