Another day, another episode of Bake Off: The Professionals, and last night the chefs took on The Greatest Show theme.
In case you missed the memo, Bake Off is on every night this week until the grand final on Friday – how exciting!
Last night marked the quarter final, and judges first tasked the chefs with 24 doughnuts – in two different flavours – and 24 identical ice creams, to be served in something edible.
Returning to the kitchen were:
- Erica & Thibault, Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel
- Sarah & Leyre, Pennyhill Park
- Adam & Sam, Palé Hall Hotel
- Jake & Kevin, Four Seasons at Trinity Square
- Nelson & Evaldas, South Place Hotel
The teams started with the doughnuts, and it seemed the proof was in the, well, prove. “The dough has to be well made: if you underprove it, it will be dense; if you overprove, the doughnut will collapse,” Cherish explained, shaking her finger.
Both Adam & Sam and Nelson & Evaldas (pictured above) had decided to dedicate time to making chocolate displays during the challenge for their ice creams and doughnuts, Adam had even moulded chocolate ice cream spoons.
“Hopefully, by the end of it, we don’t look like a pair of doughnuts,” said Nelson.
Erica & Thibault (pictured below) chose to make all of their items vegan, despite having never made vegan doughnuts before. “They’re not going to like the dough,” Erica said at the end of the challenge. Nothing like a positive mindset.
Jake & Kevin were first to face the judges, with their boozy violet doughnuts and caramel popcorn ice cream. Unfortunately, the doughnuts were underproved, but the flavour profiles were bang on.
Adam & Sam were next, and their peanut ice cream and chocolate spoon combo was a huge hit. However, Benoit said they had compromised the finish of their doughnuts by making the stand. He also criticised their choice of a brioche doughnut.
Thibault & Erica’s vegan creations were next, and Benoit said he wanted to look at Cherish eating the ice cream. “It’s very messy to eat,” she said, “I’m a lady, I can’t eat like this on the street.” Despite this, she was impressed with the flavours, and her excitement continued when she tasted the chocolate and truffle doughnut. “I don’t like it… I love it!” she declared. She had clearly been taking judging tips from Simon Cowell.
Sarah & Leyre (pictured below) were next, and they strutted to the table shouting “popcorn” and “hotdogs” like they worked at market stalls. Benoit gave a mixed review to the ice creams, and while the doughnuts looked the part, they were dry and dense.
Nelson & Evaldas were last to face the judges, and they decided to take the entrance one step further by pulling on clown trousers and jumping in the air – amusing. Their ice cream got high praise from Benoit, the doughnuts, not so much, although the presentation was excellent.
Time for the showpieces, and once again Cherish had taken the theme in her stride, yelling the chef’s task at them.
The teams had to create “the greatest showpiece in the world”, combining chocolate and sugar work. This was to be accompanied by three lots of 24 confectionery pieces, displayed as part of their showpiece. It also required a moving part.
Sugar combined with chocolate proved tricky for all of the teams; in fact, I lost count of the number of beeps Channel 4 had placed over the expletives.
Thibault & Erica were first to show off their showpiece, and while their moving flower and bee barely moved, it did move. “We can’t say it didn’t,” Benoit admitted. Their confectionery wasn’t perfect, but their techniques were good.
Sarah & Leyre’s moving part was a trapeze, which impressed the judges. Their nougat was too soft and their caramel too dark, their Coussins Lyonnais (a chocolate-filled marzipan ‘cushion’), however, were delicious.
Adam & Sam were next, and they had decided to make the entire showpiece rotate. While that sounds exciting, Benoit branded it slow and boring. Ouch. Their confectionery received mixed reviews, with Cherish noting that the marzipan sweets weren’t the same height.
Nelson & Evaldas’ showpiece was praised for its height, although their moving carousel was a little pathetic, causing the whole kitchen to giggle. Their confectionery was, unfortunately, disappointing.
Last up were Jake & Kevin (pictured below), whose Jack-in-the-box moving part pleased everyone. Their confectionery was again a mixed bag, and Sarah summed it up perfectly when she said: “No one’s really smashed it this week, have they?”
But, alas, their work was done, and the judges deemed Thibault & Erica best, landing them first place. Second place was awarded to Sarah & Leyre, third to Adam & Sam and fourth Nelson & Evaldas. Meaning that Jake & Kevin’s time was up and they would not be progressing to the semi-final.