In the words of musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords: I’m not crying, I’m just chopping onions… for a lasagne. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway, because last night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off was emotional.
There were highs and inevitable lows, particularly as the judges warned of two eliminations after everyone survived dessert week. The heat was clearly on in the first-ever spice week.
But at least Terry and his lovely moustache were back in the tent as the bakers prepared to whip up a ginger cake. It’s fair to say the results were something of a mixed bag.
Dan, who has performed well in recent weeks, clearly can’t handle it when things go wrong, seeming rather stroppy after his ginger and lemon cake batter somehow created “lumps of cheese”. Paul and Prue weren’t thrilled with the wonky and rather dense cake that he presented either.
Both Ruby and Karen went for boozy bakes. “Why bother baking if you can’t make it boozy?” asked Ruby. Well said. Although it turned out Karen got a bit enthusiastic with the bottle as even Prue declared it too alcoholic. Terry also suffered after his pear and caramelised ginger cake didn’t cool quickly enough, leading to a sliding mess.
Despite the drama, Paul managed to hand out a whopping three Hollywood handshakes. Theories of a new hand cream flew around Twitter, while some exclaimed their value had dropped quicker than the pound. Manon, Kim-Joy (above) and Rahul were the lucky recipients although, truth be told, Paul seemed most impressed with Rahul’s Bonfire Night-inspired caramel and ginger cake.
“You, my friend, are a little genius aren’t ya?” Paul said. “It’s quite annoying really.”
Rahul, as usual, looked apologetic and slightly embarrassed by his achievement.
Confusion dominated the technical as the bakers were tasked with creating 12 ma’moul – an ancient Middle Eastern pastry often enjoyed during Ramadan. If that were not enough, they had to make two batches of six, both filled with different flavours and in different shapes. The confusion wasn’t limited to the contestants either. “At no point did Noel and I know what we were saying,” said Sandi.
Despite the confusion, Ruby came out on top in the technical, closely followed by Dan and Rahul. Kim-Joy was fourth, Manon fifth, then Briony and Jon. Terry was second to last and Karen sat bottom of the table after getting the wrong combination of fillings and shapes.
Things weren’t about to get any easier in the showstopper as Paul – who was flying solo due to Prue being ill – tasked the bakers with making a biscuit chandelier.
“It’s a ridiculous idea. No offence, Paul,” said Dan (below with the judges) as he set about crafting spiced butterflies for his kaleidoscope chandelier in honour of his daughter’s sixth birthday.
Rahul casually whipped up 150 orange and cardamom biscuits for his chandelier, impressing Paul, even if some of them were a bit messy.
Others took inspiration from Christmas. Kim-Joy went for a beautiful snowscape for her cardamom and clove, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg biscuits. Their delicate decorations and exquisite flavours wowed Paul and earned Kim-Joy the coveted title of star baker.
Terry, meanwhile, created the 12 days of Christmas in biscuits. It didn’t go well. “The turtle dove broke its neck. The eight maids a’milking were down to seven. “I dropped one on the floor,” he said. What’s more, he didn’t finish the decoration and Paul declared the biscuits bland.
Karen’s liquorice and cardamom treats were in celebration of her Pontefract school reunion. Paul said the biscuits look solid, to which Karen replied “we’re big girls in Pontefract”. Paul was unimpressed, leading Karen (right) to be one of the bakers to leave the tent. Terry (left) was the other.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise that widower Terry was leaving. But his goodbye interview felt like a punch to the gut. “My wife and I were very happy and that was a massive loss,” he said. “There wasn’t anything that filled that void for a very long time, so it did give me a focus.”
Cue floods of tears from me, and a quizzical look from my boyfriend wondering why I am crying over a baking show. And, just like that, Bake Off proves once again why millions of people care about it.
Here’s a few titbits based on this week’s episode:
Most likely to win: Rahul
Who should have gone home: Sadly, Terry and Karen
Most fun to watch: Terry
Quote of the week: “This is what my dangly bits will hang off of” – Briony