Bake Off: The Professionals – Episode 2

Things are tense in the Bake Off kitchen this week – there’s swearing, a slew of criticism and even some tears.

“We’re crying over a cake,” laughs Rebekah from St David’s through the tears. That’s what the Bake Off kitchen can do to a person. Well, the kitchen and the judges Benoit and Cherish.

They’re not like Paul and Prue – they don’t hold back, expecting perfection at every turn.

Hungry pastry-loving wolves looking for the weakest gazelle to pick off was how the judges were described at the start of the episode.

The ‘gazelles’ were first tasked with creating tiramisu slices and roulade pralinée. Apparently too much gelatine and not soaking the sponge are the worst crimes one can commit when it comes to a tiramisu. I reckon a small portion is worse.

This week’s teams consisted of:

  • Orange: Theo and Hideko, Sweet Art Lab
  • Purple: Darryl and Bharat, Resorts World
  • Blue: Marta and Julie, Bom Bom Patisserie
  • Green: Rebekah and Michael, St David’s
  • Red: Emmanuel and Sam, The Hilton Park Lane

Overall, the wolves were unimpressed with the bakers’ efforts. Arguably the best comment was “it tastes like a tiramisu” which was given to the purple team of Darryl and Bharat from Resorts World. It’s a turnaround from last week, which saw them in tears in the bottom two.

The green team suffered from the horror that is an unsoaked sponge while the red team,  Emmanuel and Sam from London’s The Hilton Park Lane, added too much gelatine. “Dry” and “claggy” were among the critiques given to the orange team from Sweet Art Lab and the blue team from Bom Bom Patisserie in Loughborough.

Blue suffered with their roulade as well. It didn’t roll well, leaving it to be somewhat angular and, at one point, they set a plastic jug on fire. Still, it was entertaining to watch.

Red, meanwhile, triumphed - although a debate ensued as to whether what they produced was in fact a roulade. There was no swirl, no sponge round the outside but the flavour combination was “fantastic”.

“I asked for scrambled egg, you’ve given me an omelette,” said Cherish.

The second and final challenge saw the professionals tasked with a croqembouche – the dessert that has seen many amateurs in the Bake Off tent crumble.

The idea of creating enough choux buns to feed 36 people didn’t faze the professionals though. It was the construction, which heavily featured nougatine, that did. After all, a simple cone shape was not going to cut it – Benoit wanted something modern.

This resulted in a pineapple-shaped croquembouche from the blue team, a tree-like sculpture from the red and an Irish-themed extravaganza from the purple team. Green went with an afternoon tea theme, and orange a cube tower.

Watching the teams move their edible sculptures – several feet tall edible sculptures – nearly gave me a heart attack. It was tense. Thankfully, none of them came crashing down.

Judging time, and it seems that what I consider impressive, Benoit and Cherish do not. Although many of the criticisms were aimed at the taste.

Green’s flavour combination of Earl Grey and lemon was deemed “uninteresting”; Benoit found the Irish cream in purple’s creation too strong; and judges were simply not keen on the taste of red’s combination of pistachio & raspberry, as well as orange liqueur & mandarin. Ouch.

But the blue team was hit the hardest.

“It’s not acceptable, I would not pay for your dessert,” said Cherish. The pineapple flavour didn’t come through and the overall look was not neat. At this point the writing was on the wall for blue and they were sent home.

Purple, after last week’s questionable performance, came in top of the leader board followed by red, orange and then green.

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