The Great British Bake Off: Episode 3

Desserts is “stressed” spelt backwards, and that was certainly how the remaining 11 contestants felt as they strove to shine in the third week of The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off squirrel has been replaced by the Bake Off duck, and a burglary took place. Baking: it is no mere trifle.

The bakers survived cake and bread, and now they had to handle multi-tasking, showing off different skills at the same time. As Paul Hollywood gleefully told viewers, “It’s extremely difficult.” Thank you, Paul.

The Signature Bake required a trifle combining biscuit, cake, jelly or custard in defined layers. A thick custard was ordered, causing Paul to denounce any trifle that dared to contain a “slack” variant of the yellow liquid. Mark’s came up short, as did Beca’s, but it was Deborah who took the biscuit by accidentally using Howard’s custard as her own. An elbow in his muffins one week, and commandeered custard the next - as last night’s Twitter population typed in unison, #PoorHoward.

Taking a step back in trifle time, Mel Giedroyc explored the origins of the dessert, and explained how it was revolutionised in the Georgian era. No longer the sweet treat of the aristocracy, it was made accessible to the masses. Anyone care to try cow’s foot jelly?

This week’s Technical Challenge welcomed ‘Floating Islands’, and created lumps of meringue of various shapes and sizes. The contestants certainly looked at sea as they tried to produce a stiff meringue, as well as spun sugar for decoration. The queen of cakes, Mary Berry, commented: “I think they’ll have trouble.”

A mixed collection of meringues followed. Glenn’s were a “good effort”, Ruby’s didn’t look right, but still managed to taste “quite nice”, while Ali’s were “about right”. Rob came second and Glenn first.

As always, we concluded with the Showstopper. Mary and Paul demanded 24 evenly baked and equal-sized petits fours that complemented each other. The winner of the Technical Challenge, Glenn, tickled Paul’s fancy by producing Billionaire Bouchées and Orange Financiers.

Ruby opted for the “winging it” tactic and produced lemon shortbread and white chocolate seashells, and blackberry and chocolate layer cakes. Philosophy exams aside, her petit fours impressed both judges, with Mary exclaiming that they were “a bit of alright”.

These tiny treats proved to be the undoing of Mark and Deborah who were both dismissed from the Bake Off tent.

Christine was crowned star baker, for her inventive piña colada trifle and brandy-snap cones, conceived via a smooth wooden tool devised by her husband.

Next week the remaining nine bakers will offer us a piece of their pie, and will battle it out to become the queen (or king) of tarts.

The Great British Bake Off is screened on BBC2 every Tuesday, at 8pm.

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