The bakers begin firstly with a classic dessert - crème brûlée. While the dish is simple, it needs to be perfectly executed, and Marrifield says this is all about the baking: “It is always the favourite on any menu, but the key is all about the baking. The bakers need to get the oven right and cook it in a water bath as you want a really slow bake to make it really creamy and smooth. Then you need to caramelise the sugar on top, which needs to crack - there is nothing worse than a crème brûlée that doesn’t crack.”
On Bake Off, however, we all know it is also all about the flavour, Marrifield suggests going on-trend, using tea flavours like matcha green tea powder to also give a fantastic colour.
Once they’ve cracked the crème brûlée, and created a rather tricky technical challenge chosen by Mary Berry - a Spanische Windtorte - the bakers will move on to show-stopping cheesecakes. These must be three whole tiers high, faultlessly baked and beautifully flavoured. Marrifield says: “Cheesecakes are rich, so they are best flavouring them with anything that has a tart tang -something like passionfruit means you get a real tart citrus flavour, but also get a floral effect.”
Of course, flavour is likely the least of the bakers’ worries when creating three-tiered cheesecake, as the construction needs to stay up. Marrifield says the bake needs to be complete so they are sturdy enough to hold, but cannot be overcooked or they will taste chalky. She says: “They need to think about what cheeses to use, they can stick with a high-fat cream cheese and add mascarpone, or use a softer ricotta - if they do that, they are best using the softer one in the top layer.”
Marrifield is no stranger to making show-stopping cheesecakes, and recently made a cheesecake that looked like a round of cheese. She says: “We made a wedding cake out of cheesecake to look like cheese - it looked great and it even had a mouse on it. We did a chocolate-baked cheesecake and covered it then we put dents and holes in it to look like real cheese, and finished it. The bakers could think along the same lines. At the moment we are taking lots of inspiration from savoury foods, making desserts look like savoury items of food. We’ve even done a fruit lasagne.”