Cathryn Dresser, GBBO series three contestant and baker extraordinaire, takes us through series 7 with an expert eye. It’s getting tense in the tent, but who will get their just desserts?
The tent seems suddenly so empty, more than usual at this point in the competition, but perhaps I am just still missing Val! I waited to see if desserts=stressed (but of course not for Selasi).
The signature set this week was a family-sized roulade, or really just a Swiss roll pretending to be more important than it really is! This, to me, was an easy challenge - the kids at the school where I work made Swiss rolls recently in food tech’ with huge success. The judges were looking for light sponges without cracks, even and well-flavoured fillings, a good swirl and beautiful decoration. All the roulades sounded delicious, but Benjamina’s was most appealing to me, as I will admit I am fond of a piña colada (or six), and, incidentally, getting caught in the rain! Mary also liked the idea of the cheeky slosh of rum, earning Benjamina a rare treasured Berry-wink - much more coveted than a Hollywood-handshake I’ll have you know.
When it came to judging, Andrew’s fancy striped sponge and tropical flavours won favour with the judges, while regular roulader Jane rolled hers up the wrong way - she was after a more-for-your-money roulade while the judges wanted optimum swirlage. Sadly, Candice’s sponge was a rubbery rolled mess, but with all the usual ambition and flair of a Candice bake. Tom wasn’t quite on the money with his millionaire’s choc Yule log... I mean roulade; it had a good flavour, but Mary wanted some cream and to be able to see the spiral rather than the informal ganache covering the entire thing.
Selasi scored well on all fronts with his well-piped decoration, tasty filling and pliable genoise sponge being star of the show. If Selasi was perhaps a tad more enthusiastic, he could have given perfection by using more of his tasty curd in his roulade, rather than jarring it up to take home to put on his toast.
The technical challenge this week put us back in familiar unfamiliar GBBO technical territory... something fancy that I didn’t know how to spell, let alone bake. A Marjolaine was the bake required: a ‘laird’ (I know this is in fact the spelling for a Scottish land-owner, but it is also how to pronounce ‘layered’ and sound like Mary Berry) dacquoise, praline buttercream, ganache and nuts - or basically a posh vienetta minus the ice cream! All six bakers produced lovely Marjolaine gateaux but Andrew won, with precision and crisp meringue, while Selasi was sixth with an overly chewy dacquoise.
Going into the showstopper the road ahead looked bumpy for Selasi, Tom and Jane, but with 24 mini mousse cakes of two different flavours, it was all still to play/bake for.
Candice was scattering an unnerving number of gelatine sheets onto her work bench like a card dealer in a casino, and this was a bad gamble as it made for a scary fruit putty, rather than a mousse. But Candice made it again and it was much better second time around. Jane made FIVE mousses (I mean why wouldn’t you?!?) plus fleur-de-lis sponges, which the judges loved, meaning Jane steered herself out of trouble.
Selasi seemed to get back in the judges good books with his raspberry and passion fruit cakes - and even his monstrous choc mint creations tasted nice enough to see him safe. Benjamina’s mousse cakes were a ‘hot mess’, but nobody actually gave a hoot as they tasted so blinkin’ amazing! Andrew’s ferris wheel of mousse cakes was an all-round success. This meant that Tom’s picnic was over - his sandwich mousse cakes were lovely, but for an altogether different challenge, so he bit the crust, and we had to bid a sad farewell to an absolutely lovely, inappropriate-cinema-snack-eating, dodgy-pound-shop-fan, cake-cooling, twice-star-baker and all round good egg...Tom. This week’s star baker was the one and only Mr Precision – Andrew.
I can’t believe we are now well over halfway through our last BBC GBBO - time flies when you’re having pies!
Who will become king or queen of Tudor week?