Bake Off 2019: teary-eyed bakers and witch fingers

“I had some strange dreams last night, waking up in cold sweats thinking about biscuits,” said contestant Alice. Yep, it’s biscuit week on Bake Off.

“I’m good at eating biscuits, not sure about making them,” added Henry (pictured below), who had decided to wear a tie. Does he know what show he’s on?

The first task for the bakers was creating layered biscuit bars coated in chocolate.

Michael was using a recipe favoured by his mother and grandmother “I’ll be kicked out of Scotland if I make a bad shortbread,” he said. Fear not, Michael, back to Scotland you may go, as Paul said he had the perfect blend of flavours.

Helena – who has a slightly ‘witchy’ look herself – was making wicked witch fingers, with almonds for fingernails and green-coloured fingers.

I loved how the contestants all chipped in to help each other when time was running out. Very different to Bake Off: The Professionals. Imagine Cherish’s face if the professionals helped each other.

On to judging, and Paul, clearly not fearing any spells, said Helena’s wicked witch fingers were boring and stale-tasting.

Last week’s star baker, Michelle, received high praise for her Bakewell bars, with Paul saying they were exceptional and Prue going in for a second piece.

Jamie’s bars were deemed too caramelly – like that could ever be a thing.

Rosie, who confessed to mostly baking dog biscuits, was praised for her “beautiful” bake.

Following mixed feedback, it was time for the technical, and bakers were tasked with creating fig rolls.

Henry and his tie looked concerned. To be fair, fig rolls are pretty retro, and maybe the youngster had never seen one before.

There needed to be 12 of them – an instruction Helena (pictured above) failed to follow, instead producing 11 and drawing a picture of a twelfth on her slate slab alongside the word DEAD. She got last place.

Jamie was told off for his decision to egg-glaze, which he attributed to the fact that “we got an extra egg and it makes everything look nice”. Paul wasn’t convinced and Jamie came second to last, followed by Steph, Amelia, Michelle, Priya, Henry, Rosie, Michael, Phil and David, with Alice landing first place.

For this week’s showstopper, bakers had to produce a biscuit sculpture.

After a technical challenge fail, Helena was hoping to impress the judges with a tarantula coming out of an egg.

Rosie was making a tribute to her favourite chicken, using 212 biscuits – very ambitious.

Priya (pictured above) and Michelle were both making dragons. Priya’s was so her kids thought she was cool, while Michelle’s was a homage to Wales.

Henry, still wearing a tie, was to make an organ. “How big’s your organ going to be?” asked Paul. Sometimes, it seems, this show becomes Carry On Baking.

Michael (pictured below) stuck some of his components together wrong, causing him to get a little teary. Having drawn him in the office sweepstake, I couldn’t help but get upset too. I’ve got a potential £26 riding on this.

After three-and-a-half hours, it was time to face the judges. David’s floral display received many compliments, with Prue even uttering the word “excellent”.

Michael’s chilli choice didn’t go down quite as well, proving too spicy for Prue.

Paul was disappointed that Henry hadn’t shown the keys of his organ. “The lid’s down,” said Henry. “That’s handy,” replied Paul.

Rosie’s chicken certainly looked the part, but her gingerbread was soft. Regardless, Prue declared the composition “a triumph”.

On to the battle of the dragons. Priya’s was great visually, but wasn’t baked to standard. Michelle’s was “packed with flavour” and had “a beautiful texture”, despite being unfinished.

Alice’s New Zealand Sheep (did she mention she’d been to New Zealand?) was described as “a fine piece of work” and achieved her the coveted Star Baker title. Very well deserved.

Jamie’s guitar was “simple, thick and clumsy”, but the biscuit was “beautiful”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and he was booted out of the Bake Off tent.

Here's a few titbits based on this week's episode:

Most likely to win: Alice

Most fun to watch: Jamie and Henry

Should have gone home: Jamie, despite his biscuit bars sounding dreamy

Best quote: “What’s this? Oh, they’re figs, they look delicious don’t they, not like monkey testicles.” - Noel

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