‘The Great British Baking Show’ Season 11, Episode 9 Recap: “Patisserie Week”


There are spoilers about the episode in this article.

This week is the semi-final of The Great British Baking Show and we are sad that this is the penultimate episode. The four bakers will compete in three challenges for “Patisserie Week” to be crowned star baker and avoid being eliminated by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Only three bakers can go through to the final next week. Hermine won star baker last week and has claimed for the whole competition that patisserie is her speciality. Can she earn star baker a third time in a row? Let’s find out!

Signature Challenge

For their signature challenge, the bakers were asked to make 12 identical pâte à savarin patisseries. They had two hours and 45 minutes to create their savarin, which is yeast enriched dough and needed to be soaked in a syrup. They could use any shape or flavors they liked but the judges were looking for neat and exquisite patisseries with delicate flavors. However, the bakers faced the challenge of having to prove their dough in a heatwave in the tent, which would affect the timing.

Hermine made classic rum babas with an apricot jam glaze filled with creme patisserie and decorated with chantilly cream and tempered chocolate. Her dough was soaked in spiced rum syrup with some added spices. She had some problems with her savarin, though. She ended up baking two batches but unfortunately both batches were under-proofed. This meant that her dough rose too quickly in the oven which made her savarin look like they were leaning, torn and non-identical. She decided to pick the best ones from the two batches which meant that the judges commented on how they were irregular in color. However, she had managed to patch up the unevenness in the bake with her pipework which looked elegant. They also liked her flavors and thought she used a good amount of alcohol. Unfortunately, she was let down by the savarin that was tight, tough, and too bread-like.

Laura made poached pineapple, kiwi, and passion fruit babas soaked in rum and decorated with chantilly cream. She also added pipettes of extra rum that the judges could inject into the babas. Laura used fresh yeast. Paul questioned this, but like usual, it was very difficult to tell whether he thought it was a good idea or not. During judging her sponge was complimented for being lovely and light with a good flavor. They thought she may have overdone it on the spice, the icing was messy, and they were slightly irregular in size.

Dave made babas with mango and passion fruit curd, soaked in honey tequila and decorated with honey and cocoa chantilly cream and a mango flower. The judges had been a little worried about the combination of all of these flavors but were proven wrong, as they were lovely together. They thought the texture was lovely and light. He had a little problem getting some of the savarin out of the molds and had ripped some of them. Paul wasn’t too impressed with the mango and passion fruit curd being in the bottom of the glass, which he knew was for the design. He said he would have preferred the curd inside the savarin.

Peter was the only baker to go non-alcoholic and made strawberry and elderflower babas. His babas were soaked in an elderflower cordial and lemon juice syrup and decorated with strawberry creme diplomat, elderflower, and lemon creme diplomat and sliced strawberries. The judges thought his babas looked lovely as they were neat and uniform. They thought his dough had been proved well as the texture was light and open. They also loved his flavors and thought his sponge was well soaked in the syrup, which shouldn’t have been a surprise since he soaked each sponge for four minutes. He even received the coveted Paul Hollywood handshake, which he was very pleased with after being close to the bottom for the last couple of weeks.

Technical Challenge

The technical challenge this week was a recipe set by Paul. They had two hours and 15 minutes to make a Danish cornucopia. It consists of rings of almond flavored dough which are tapered on one side so that when they are stacked they form a horn shape. This challenge looked ridiculously difficult but Paul did say they would be a little forgiving over the shape of the horn. They wanted the correct texture for the cake, which should be firm on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

The recipe was very technical as the bakers had to decipher instructions and follow templates for how big to make all of their rings. The recipe baffled all of the bakers at first but they managed to work it out in the end. Laura had begun to crack under the pressure and had to be given a pep talk by host, Matt Lucas, in order to carry on. She also wasn’t helped by the fact that she forgot to preheat her oven and so lost some time because of that.

The bakers also needed to decorate their horn in delicate icing and chocolate work. Most of the bakers struggled with this because they were short in time and also the chocolate was melting in the heat of the tent.

The technical challenge is judged blind so that the judges do not know who has made which cake and they are ranked from worst to best. Unfortunately, Laura came in last place as her horn was a disaster. The icing was terrible, the shape of the horn was wrong since it was flat, the color was very irregular, and the horn was undercooked. The judges thought it seemed like she hadn’t understood the challenge at all as almost everything was wrong.

Image Courtesy of ‘The Great British Baking Show’

Dave came in third place and immediately had the judges laughing at the phallic shape of his horn. It did have the right shape, it just wasn’t placed correctly. His horn had a lovely flavor but it didn’t have any chocolate, and his cake was dry and overbaked as the judges almost broke their teeth on it.

Hermine came in second place. She was the only baker to get the shape perfectly and her chocolate was very neat. However, her icing was not right, as it did not continue down the sides of the cake so it could be seen. It was nicely baked, even though it looked overbaked, and the flavor was alright.

This left Peter in first place despite his horn being flat. His icing was great and the judges said they could tell the chocolate-work had been good, although it had melted slightly in the heat of the tent. His flavor was great and the texture was good in the large rings of cake. Like the rest of the bakers (with the exception of Laura’s, which were underbaked), his small rings were overbaked. Due to the rings being different sizes, Paul said they should have been baked separately.

Showstopper Challenge

For the showstopper challenge, the bakers were asked to make a cube cake. They had four and a half hours to make at least 25 mini cube-shaped cakes which would be assembled to form a larger cake. The bakers could use any flavor and decoration they liked and could even use non-edible supports if they wanted, although they would get extra credit if everything was edible. The judges were looking for precision, exquisite decoration, and beautiful flavor and texture.

Peter made a chocolate, raspberry, and pistachio cube cake. He had three different mini cube cakes which contained varying combinations of three sponges, mousses, and glazes in the three flavors. Peter was the only baker not to make his mini cube cakes in individual molds. Cleverly, he instead made large cakes which he then cut down into the individual cubes. Peter worked very efficiently and finished making his elements early so that he had plenty of time to assemble his cake with precision, and it paid off. His cake looked very clever and complicated but was very effective. His mirror glazes looked great and all of his elements had set beautifully. The judges loved all of the flavor combinations.

Hermine took a huge risk with her cube cake. She said that her original recipe did not go well in practice and decided to change her recipe the day before the challenge. She had not practiced it before and did not even know if the quantities in her recipe were right. She made two different types of mini cubes, one with coffee and praline mousse and jaconde sponge, and one with chocolate sponge, cherry mousse, and freeze-fried raspberries. Unfortunately, her cherry mousse hadn’t quite set and this caused the bottom of her cake to start collapsing under the weight of the top layers. The judges loved the raspberry flavor but thought that it overwhelmed the cherry, which was supposed to be the predominant flavor. They were also disappointed with the coffee and praline cake as she had put too much gelatine in her mousse, which made it rubbery. The judges had high expectations of Hermine since she had won star baker twice in a row and patisserie was her area of speciality. She did not live up to this expectation.

Image Courtesy of ‘The Great British Baking Show’

Dave is a bit of a dark horse in this competition and has consistently been doing quite well. He made a chocolate cube cake consisting of three types of mini cube cakes with chocolate sponge, chocolate mousse, a white, milk or dark chocolate shell with liquid caramel centres. He was also the only baker to make edible supports with his coffee and chocolate biscuit stand. It looked amazing and was very neat. Surprisingly, the chocolate also help up relatively well in the heat. They thought his caramel was delicious and was perfectly oozey. His cakes were delicious and they thought his bake was a triumph.

Image Courtesy of ‘The Great British Baking Show’

Laura made a cube cake inspired by a Black Forest gateau. She only had one type of cube but it had five layers including a biscuit crumb, chocolate sponge, dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate bavois, and whole cherries. The judges pointed out that it was important that she did well in this task to save herself, so no pressure! Unfortunately, she had issues with making her chocolate mirror glaze. It was too runny and when she tried to pour it onto her cakes it just ran off and she ended up with it all over her bench and the floor. With only having one kind of cake and the mirror glaze being on all of her mini cubes, there was nowhere for her to hide. Her cake looked very messy because of the glaze, although the judges did seem to blame it largely on the heat. Once again, her decoration failed to impress but her cake was delicious. They loved all of the flavors and textures, particularly the cherries.

Image Courtesy of ‘The Great British Baking Show’


This week, star baker was clearly a competition between Peter and Dave, but it was fairly easy to see that Peter was going to win. He received a handshake for his signature challenge, he won the technical, and the judges loved his showstopper as well.

It was a very close competition between Laura and Hermine as to who was going to be eliminated. Once again, Laura was clearly losing until the showstopper. Unfortunately, Hermine made a huge mistake in essentially winging her showstopper challenge. Laura made a showstopper that didn’t look good but tasted good. Hermine’s didn’t look good and her textures also weren’t right. This meant that, shockingly, she was eliminated this week. Many people were convinced that she would be one of the finalists but despite it being “Patisserie Week,” it just wasn’t her week.

Next week is the final and the preview showed us that it would be the closest final they have had in the competition. Laura, Peter, and Dave will go head-to-head to try and win the competition. Make sure you check it out and then check back here for the latest recap!

Lynette has been a lifelong nerd and over the last few years finally learned to let her freak flag fly. She likes to dip her toe into almost every fandom but is particularly passionate about Supernatural, Stranger Things, Marvel and Disney. When she isn’t binge watching programs, she loves to swim, sing and (true to her Ravenclaw nature) read. Lynette joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2019 and loves sharing her nerdy knowledge with the world.

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