The Great British Bake Off: Episode 7
Published:  02 October, 2013

With a hint of competitiveness in the air, the remaining six bakers entered The Great British Bake Off tent to go spoon to spoon for a place in the quarter final. After his tricky week with sweet pastry, and as the last man standing, Glenn had to do it for the lads. 

To start off, the Signature: a suet pudding. Suet is raw fat found around the loins and kidneys of sheep and cattle, and the bakers had to make it look and taste much more appetising. Stodgy suet, according to Paul Hollywood, would be disastrous.

“Suet pastry is old-fashioned really,” explained Mary Berry, wrapped in a thick winter coat. “People don’t make it very often. Mistakes will be when it comes to adding the liquid.” Cue shots of bakers pouring vast quantities of the wet stuff into their mixes.

Both Christine and Kimberley selected a spotted dick as their pudding, with Christine admitting she is a bit of an old hand when it comes to handling it. It is, she explained, her husband’s favourite. Sue Perkins sidled over to her table for a wee chat about the pudding, explaining that if Christine added too much ginger to her mixture, she would just end up with a “ginger dick”. Snigger, snigger.

Frances concocted a baked fig roll-y poly pudding, incorporating honey and ground almonds. She also mentioned something about a hint of goat, leaving the judges confused. She meant goat's cheese for her ice cream, but that’s not as unique.

Ruby worked furiously, a fire in the pit of her tiny, student belly. Inspiration, it seemed, came from the arrival of her new cat.

Glenn decided early on that if his bake didn’t go well, he’d just get Mary B drunk with lashings of booze in his prune and Armagnac pudding with boozy butterscotch sauce. Too strong for the Berry, it turned out, but just right for Mr Hollywood. Different to the others, Beca created a savoury spring lamb and vegetable suet, which she explained via Twitter kept the production crew very happy that morning.

All suet puddings tried and tasted, it was time for the Technical. This one would, according to the Berry, sort the bakers out after their surprisingly successful Signature bake. Using a Mary Berry original recipe, the contestants were asked to make a French choux dish called religieuses - in other words, chocolate, creamy nun-shaped pastries.

The mixture had to be thick enough to pipe, the creamy filling couldn’t be too runny or soggy nuns would happen, and the chocolate ganache had to have a good shine. “This is without a doubt a difficult Technical Challenge,” explained Mary to Paul, who looked delighted to know the bakers might struggle.

Not content with a smattering of smut in the tent, Sue commented that she’d “never eaten a nun before”, leaving innocent Glenn to stare in bewilderment, un-saintly pictures filling his mind.  

The nuns had to be uniform in size, which turned out to be the undoing of most of the bakers. Little pastry heads wobbled and fell as they were placed on chocolate-coated pastry bodies. Perhaps they’d had a whiff of Glenn’s sloshed suet?

In last place was Christine, because of the nuns “being burnt” and “not enough rise in the choux”. Frances was fifth, with runny crème pâtissière, Kimberley was fourth due to inconsistency in the ranks, and Glenn was third, also for leaky crème. Beca was awarded first place, much to her delight.

And then, the Showstopper: three different types of puff pastry, one filled and one with icing. There also had to be 12 of each.

Glenn wanted to stand out, and so went for an inside-out/reverse  pastry which failed to impress either Mary or Paul, although his pastries sounded great: caramelised apple and marzipan tartlets, chocolate elephant ears and passion fruit mille-feuille. As ever, Frances had a theme - and boy did she run with it, producing musical-esque pastry: French framboise cream horns, sheet music mille-feuille, and bass clef palmiers.

Mel once more came to the rescue in the Bake Off tent, telling Ruby to “get a ruddy grip” on cue as she faffed with her pastries, while Sue provided a loud countdown while licking her fingers.

When it came to judging, poor gentle Glenn came under fire. His “magic pastry” was bashed by Paul, while Mary claimed that his elephant ears didn’t “look appetising”. His mille-feuille was also a bit of a mess, and he knew it.

Beca’s bakes were deemed to be even, but boring and Ruby’s were a bit burnt. Kimberley’s pear, malt and butterscotch mille-feuille, blackberry and lemon verbena crème brûlée custard tarts, and fig, orange and thyme galette managed to silence Mr H for a few seconds as he savoured the flavours.

But it was Frances’ musical masterpiece which took the star baker crown, while cuddly Glenn was asked to pack his bowl and leave the Bake Off arena. We hope his sixth form pupils weren’t too mean on his return.

It is an all-girl quarter final in week eight as the remaining five bakers embrace more stress, more criticism, and even more baking.

The Great British Bake Off is currently airing on BBC2 on Tuesdays at 8pm.




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