Hello Bake Off lovers! While this week brings further news of the dissolution of the Bake Off family (boo hiss Paul Hollywood!), I will continue to write as though Bake Off is scheduled to continue on the BBC every autumn until the End of Time. We will be, in short, ZEN.
First up this week… breakfast pastries! My brekkie is normally as much fruit as I can fit in my lunch box, to stave off the hunger that normally results in mass Pringle consumption that threatens international crisp stocks. But could this be the Bake Off that changes my mind?!
Judging from the contestant’s selection of ingredients, the answer is maybe.
Mountains of Gruyere cheese? GOOD!
Dates? I.e. dried fruit submersed in syrup? BAD. (Sorry Andrew, your dad was wrong, these do not qualify as acceptable car sweets.)
Even after this strange assortment, I can’t have been the only person surprised by Rav’s idea of the perfect breakfast (in bed)…
My two favourites from this round were Benjamina and Candice, and the answer is simple: candied maple bacon, and Danish Pastry based on croque monsieur. I have every intention of inviting these two to my wedding – but I make no promises that they won’t be held hostage in the kitchen upon redelivery of THESE.
Next up: Technical Bakewells!
Now, up until this point, I had been quite (intellectually, of course) fond of Selasi. But this week, he referred to contestants likely to have experience with Bakewell Tarts as ‘The Aged’.
Whilst I would love to deny Selasi’s utter rudeness, Val this week decided that, having baked a Bakewell Tart every week for God knows how many years, there was no need to follow Mary’s recipe at all. That’s right: she ignored the Gospel of the Berry. (Goes pale and starts shaking in trepidation.)
On the other hand, Val was by no means the worst. Rav has continued his Reign of Technical Terror, and come bottom again this week. His kinda reminds me of the aftermath of an earthquake.
See San Francisco circa 1989…
Jan, however, came first, and it’s not surprising. Not since Mr Kipling has such a mouth-watering Bakewell been seen on these isles.
The Showstopper was – dun dun duuuuunnn – filo pastry amuse-bouche. (Giggles. Seriously, their bouches are amuuused. Hehehehehehehe.)
Ahem. Moving on.
Interestingly, Tom decided to use something dug up from an archaeological site. Essence of Ancient Meopotamia?
While there was a disappointing lack of booze in this episode, Jane found a good excuse to smuggle a bottle in. I’m sure she was just using it to test her pastry’s thinness, and wasn’t mixing herself cocktails when the camera was turned the other way.
It was Tom however who attempted the age old trick of drowning the judges’ tastebuds in booze. However, champagne wasn’t the way to go – I’d recommend a good strong Scotch to drown out beef and chocolate. A few bubbles just won’t cut it!
Candice’s looked gorgeous, though. Sausage meat, black pudding and apple in her savoury and banoffee whiskey cups were a totally deserved Star Baker achieving combination. Yum!
Now, you may have noticed a decided absence of Val in this post. There is a good reason for this – or rather, a very bad one. A very sad one.
Val was evicted from the tent this week. And I’m not ashamed to say I cried.
Val, I say this with love. I will miss you. I will miss your dancing, your animals that looked nothing like animals, your collapsible New York City skyline, and your smile, inherent cuddliness and warmth. You’re my favourite. I don’t care that everything (and I do mean everything) was soggy this week. You were awesome.
Next week is botanical week! There is widespread scepticism in the office about this (Editorial Director Jo Grant is particularly worried about lavender), but I’m quite excited. Although I did once nearly choke my bar manager with too much rose water in a cocktail that apparently needed ‘work’. But hey ho.
Written by Grace Thiele