After a few days of stress, sadness and the overwhelming need to cry into our scones due the upsetting news that The Great British Bake Off will no longer be a BBC staple, this week’s episode was a bittersweet reminder of what we will be missing out on when this season ends. The fact that Mel and Sue sang us a little Bake Off version of “9 Green Bottles” just made us mourn the loss even more. The thought of watching bakes rise and bakers fall (under stress) while fighting advert breaks, and more importantly NO MEL AND SUE *gasp and sob*, brings an angry tear to any Bake Off lover’s eye.
For this week’s Signature Challenge, the bakers had to create 24 gorgeous, golden and identical Yorkshire Puddings. Wait a second…identical? The whole point of a gorgeous Yorkshire is that they’re bulbous and cloud-like things of beauty. Even Mary admitted that once they are in the oven, the fate of the puddings is in the “lap of the Gods”. But these aren’t just any Yorkshires, these are GBBO Yorkshires. Oh, and no soggy bottoms allowed!
The bakers seemed to appear to take the challenge in their stride, for the most part, taking inspiration from family recipes, international twists and anything they can think of to make sure their bakes are ‘batter-ful’. Unfortunately, the Curse Of The Star Baker was in full effect as Tom just couldn’t get his bake to rise, no matter how much he tried. Val was even concerned that she shouldn’t be let back into Yorkshire if her bake failed the Paul and Mary test. The standouts this week were Candice’s Yorkshire Wellington (basically a deconstructed beef Wellington…yum), Selasi’s perfect Sunday roast accompaniment (which made Paul cry with joy over the cracking…Homer-links drooling ensues) and Andrew’s Yorkshire Spanish tapas pudding.
The Technical Challenge was a little more on the fidgety side. The bakers needed to delicately create 12 lacey, intricately detailed and let’s not forget, tasty pancakes. Not sure how Lacey they wanted them to be? Mel advised “like a doily you would find in Carole Middleton’s guest bedroom”. They also really wanted to see the bakers crumble this week. Paul’s only advice was to practice your piping so that already tells you that they want something pretty amazing. Do you know that baking is meant to be a relaxing and enjoyable activity? Well, that didn’t seem to be the case with this challenge. Trying to mix the perfect batter and then create the perfect doily pancake is enough to make anyone want to throw in the kitchen towel. Some definitely had a better handle on it than others, with Benjamina striking gold and winning the technical for the first time. Rav seemed to have struggled the most, coming in last.
For the final Showstopper challenge, this was slightly controversial. The bakers had to create 36 crispy yet fluffy churros. They could create any flavour and it had to be accompanied by a lovely dipping sauce. The controversy was caused as these churros had to be made with a deep-fat fryer!! Especially after Mary told Good Housekeeping magazine “I don’t think any household should have a deep-fat fryer”, much to the dismay of many households and MasterChef’s Greg Wallace.
The stress wasn’t over for the bakers as they had to make sure that not only was the batter stiff enough to hold its shape, but each one had to look identical. Whether they piped directly into the oil or not was their choice…at their peril. We certainly did learn about the the pains of batter this week, and that Sue is a very good churros alarm. The standouts for this week’s Showstopper were Andrew’s flower-shaped churros window boxes, Jane’s pistachio and white chocolate filled churros with a boozy chocolate sauce and Benjamina’s coconut churros with a tropical, passion fruit dip. To be honest, all of these would be wonderful to eat. Who doesn’t love a slim flavourful donut?
It was Benjamina’s week as not only did she win the Technical but she also won Star Baker. Let’s hope that the dreaded curse doesn’t follow her next week. Unfortunately for Kate, it was her week to go. Not even her creative designs could save her.
Next week, it’s Pastry Week!!