The final six teams gathered in the kitchen to compete for a place in the quarter finals.
They were tasked with creating brioches Polonaises and savoury Danish pastries, as well as a sugar showpiece with fruit pastilles, fudge and marshmallows.
Holidays was this week’s theme, and creating the brioches Polonaises and savoury Danish pastries was the first challenge.
“Flavour combination is crucial,” said Cherish, urging the finalists not to disappoint her.
While Richard & Bernadett quickly admitted they had little experience with lamination, they had decide to put an Icelandic twist on the Danish pastry with the addition of pesto.
A lasagne Danish pastry was the aim for Erica & Thibault (pictured below), who planned on a bolognaise filling and one layer of pasta to complete the dish.
Meanwhile, a Spanish theme was the choice for both Sarah & Leyre – with a Sobrasada sausage and balsamic caramelised onion – and Adam & Sam, who paid homage to the eight years Adam had spent in the country. Their pastry also included Sobrasada sausage and onion, but this time flavoured with lemon zest and almonds.
Nelson & Evaldas (pictured below) got very excited about their French-themed Danish pastries, filled with sage, caramelised onions and cèpes. “You need to beat it very gently,” said Evaldas. “Be nice to pastry and pastry will be nice to you.”
“It sounds like he’s making love to the pastry,” suggested Nelson. Well, we were all thinking it…
Jake & Kevin also went Continental with a French theme, as they took inspiration from the Côte D’Azur by choosing a caramelised onion, olive and anchovy filling.
The brioches Polonaises all followed the same recipe and ran reasonably smoothly across the board, with the odd bit of underproving.
On to the judging, and Erica & Thibault were up first. “Mamma Mia!” said Benoit, going on to praise their lasagne Danishes, for which I really wished smell-evision had been invented. Although slightly dry, their brioches also received praise.
Nelson & Evaldas, however, didn’t get such positive feedback. Their admitted inexperience in lamination proved correct, as their Danishes were deemed “heavy” and their brioches “tight”.
Richard & Bernadett’s Danishes were underproved, meaning the lamination was lost. Then Cherish went for the jugular, by suggesting their brioches looked like snowballs she’d thrown at people. Ouch. But it turned out what she really meant was that they were large and well proved, which Benoit ascribed to them being low in salt.
High praise was awarded to Jake & Kevin (pictured below) for their Danish pastry, with Cherish admitting she had been wrong to doubt their choice to do six-folds. However, their brioches met with a mixed reception, with some over- and some under-baked. “Damn brioches,” declared Jake.
Adam & Sam’s Danish pastry was deemed “too dense”, although Benoit enjoyed the lemon flavour. Equally, their brioches were “too tight”, despite Cherish appreciating the gold leaf on top.
Up last, but by no means least, Sarah & Leyre’s Danishes received high praise, with both judges impressed by their unique laminating technique. So it was a shame they were let down by their brioches Polonaises, which were declared inedible.
On the next day, the chefs were asked to pursue the holiday theme for an all-sugar showpiece, complete with 30 marshmallows, 30 pieces of fudge and 30 raw fruit pastilles.
Themes included skiing for Sarah & Leyre, a continuation of Iceland for Richard & Bernadett, an extension of their trip down the Côte D’Azur for Jake & Kevin and a colourful Mexican fiesta for Adam & Sam.
Meanwhile, both Erica & Thibault and Nelson & Evaldas chose to focus on Christmas, which was very exciting and not at all too soon. Nelson & Evaldas planned to include a blown sugar elf – very cute, until it broke.
After a very tense minute of transferring showpieces to the display tables, it was time for the judging.
Up first, Erica & Thibault’s showpiece definitely looked the part. Judges enjoyed their festive confectionery, too, especially as Erica blowtorched the marshmallows before serving on sticks for an extra special treat.
Nelson & Evaldas’ Christmas creation also looked great – so much so that the critical Cherish even ventured a smile. Unfortunately, their confectionery didn’t excite the judges.
Jake & Kevin’s snorkelling showpiece was described as ‘simple’. “In terms of the presentation it’s boring, boring, boring,” Cherish declared, only a few seconds after giggling at the marshmallows’ resemblance to boobs.
A previous promise of Northern Lights failed to make an appearance on Richard & Bernadett’s piece, which was criticised for not looking Icelandic.
A little snowman proved to be the star of Sarah & Leyre’s centrepiece, with their confectionery also well executed. “Even though I’m watching my figure, I’ll have another one,” said Cherish, reaching for another coconut marshmallow. Delicious.
Finally, Adam & Sam’s centrepiece was deemed stunning, although a little short. Their confectionery was pleasant, particularly the marshmallow, which Benoit described as “the best today”.
With judging complete, Erica & Thibault scooped the top spot, followed by Sarah & Leyre in second place and Jake & Kevin and Nelson & Evaldas joint third. Adam & Sam came in fourth place, leaving Richard & Bernadett (pictured above) in their wake and failing to make it through to the quarter final.