It’s the semi-final already in The Great British Baking Show. This week the bakers tackled the notorious “Patisserie Week” which is famed for needing precision and beauty. By the end of this episode, the three finalists were revealed!
For the signature challenge, the bakers were asked to produce eight identical patisserie-style layered slices. They had three hours to use any flavors or layers they wanted but there had to be at least three layers. The judges also expected neat and distinct layers when the slices were cut into. They wanted technically flawless, high-end bakes. All the bakers excelled in this challenge and Prue even commented that she had never had an afternoon as satisfactory as that in the tent.
Jürgen came up with a slice inspired by an opera cake called Murder at the Opera. It included layers of coffee-soaked jaconde sandwiched with beetroot and cassis buttercreams, topped with a chocolate glaze and tuile daggers. The judges thought they looked lovely and had good layers. The textures in his slices were also perfect. Prue loved the flavors of coffee and chocolate but Paul was more disappointed that he couldn’t taste any beetroot. Prue said that if it had been up to her, he would have received a handshake but Paul just didn’t like his slices enough.
Chigs made a raspberry and chocolate slice which included layers of jaconde sponge, chocolate ganache, raspberry mousse, and raspberry jelly. His slices looked stunning with very sharp lines. The judges loved the balance of flavors between the chocolate and raspberry. This earned him a Hollywood handshake.
Crystelle made a nine-layered slice which included slices of coconut and black sesame dacquoise, yuzu curd, black sesame and almond jaconde, white chocolate and coconut Italian meringue buttercream, white chocolate ganache, and piped Chantilly cream. Her slices were very unusual looking but stunning. The judges loved their appearance and her unusual textures and flavors. They thought it was delicious and her elements were very well balanced. This also earned her a coveted Hollywood handshake.
Giuseppe managed to salvage his tiramisu inspired slices from an almost disaster. His slices included layers of coffee-soaked jaconde, mascarpone pâte à bombe, and a layer of sultanas stewed in marsala wine. His jaconde was almost a disaster when he realised that he had put his batter into the oven without adding the flour. Luckily, he realised his mistake and managed to remove the batter and add the flour in the nick of time. The judges praised his slices for being very stylish and they loved his flavors and textures. Paul particularly liked the flavor of his sultana layer, earning Giuseppe the third Hollywood handshake of the challenge.
For the technical challenge, the bakers were asked to bake a sablé Breton tart. The judges expected a thick, flat sablé Breton pastry base topped with raspberry jam, piped pistachio crème mousseline, fresh berries, and decorated with gilded meringue kisses and chocolate curls. The bakers had two hours and 45 minutes. They had to follow a pared back recipe and the bakes were then ranked from worst to best in a blind judging. Only Jürgen was familiar with this dessert and so knew what was expected.
Chigs really struggled with this challenge and ended up in last place. He could not find the nozzle for his piping bag and so ended up just piping his meringue kisses by cutting a hole in the end. This made his meringue kisses very messy, which the judges commented on. His biscuit base was underbaked and made slightly soggy by his terrible mousseline. He had difficulty getting the mousseline to set and eventually ran out of time. He piped his mousseline onto the base and it immediately lost all definition and started oozing off of his base. It looked very messy.
Crystelle came in third as her tart was very pretty and tasted nice. However, her base was too thin and she had tried to make it like a conventional tart with pastry sides that surround the filling. She also hadn’t put on enough berries and her biscuit was a little too dense.
Giuseppe came in second for similar reasons. His base was too thin, he needed more of a dome of fruit, and he had also tried to create pastry sides. However, his flavors were very good and the judges loved his meringue kisses.
This left Jürgen in first place. His base was slightly overbaked but the rest of his elements were great and tasted very good. His knowledge of the tart came was very useful and helped to make up for his lack of handshake in the signature challenge.
For the showstopper challenge, the bakers were asked to make a themed banquet dessert in their longest challenge to date. They had five hours to make an edible centrepiece with 12 individual entremets. Entremets are small desserts that have many layers and must look exquisite, particularly on the inside.
This challenge was extremely stressful to watch. Although there were no major disasters, there were lots of little near misses. There were bakers almost dropping cakes and entremets, Giuseppe almost knocking the top off his centrepiece, and Chigs knocking a section off his biscuit tree. This had everyone on the edge of their seats for this entire section.
Giuseppe made a display inspired by the city of Pisa. His centrepiece was a representation of the leaning tower made from puffed rice and marshmallow. His green glazed entremets that surrounded the centrepiece were made from a chocolate custard and cherry insert surrounded by pine nut bavarois with a chocolate sponge base. The judges loved his even wonkier representation of the leaning tower. They loved the combination of textures in his entremets but were a little disappointed with the flavors. They were delicious but they couldn’t taste the pine nuts and said that if it weren’t for the cherries, there would be very little flavor to the entremets.
Jürgen made a display inspired by a Japanese Torii temple gate in water. His gingerbread gate centrepiece was surrounded by entremet boats. His entremets consisted of layers of genoise sponge, raspberry jelly, and three Bavarian creams (matcha, white chocolate, and raspberry) topped with little tuile sails. He was very ambitious and had to batch-bake 40 individual biscuit pieces to create his gate. There was a heart-stopping moment when, with half an hour left in the challenge, he realised that he hadn’t made one essential piece of biscuit that allowed his gate to stand up. He managed to make this biscuit just in time. They loved his stunning gate but thought that his boats were a little plain and could have done with more decoration. They thought his flavor combinations were very interesting and there was a nice balance between the raspberry jelly and the matcha cream.
Crystelle was once again inspired by family with her centrepiece being wedding themed for her sister. She made a puffed rice and fondant candle centrepiece surrounded by an arch of meringue flowers. Her surrounding entremets had vanilla and coconut cremeaux centres encased by mango bavarois that sat on top of passionfruit jelly. The judges thought her display was stunning and loved the colorful nature of the tropical themed wedding. When eating her entremets, Paul could only say that they were flawless and gave no other comment. Prue loved her flavors and textures and Crystelle cried in relief at this feedback.
Chigs was also inspired by family as he created his grandparents’ apple tree. He made his tree from cinnamon biscuit and his surrounding entremets were shaped like little apples. The entremets included a caramelised apple insert surrounded by caramel and white chocolate mousse, a dark chocolate shell, red mirror glaze, sitting on top of a hazelnut biscuit. The judges were impressed by his tree but thought the color was wrong for his apples, making them look more like plums. They thought his textures and flavors were spot on. They were particularly impressed with the balance of the sweetness in contrast to the tartness of the apples and bitterness of the dark chocolate.
The results this week were a complete shock to viewers. This was the closest semi-final that I have ever seen, and all four bakers deserved to be in the final. Crystelle was awarded star baker. Last week, I would have said that she was who I expected to be eliminated but she really pulled it out of the bag. She produced an amazing signature and stunning showstopper. She truly deserved recognition this week.
Controversially, Jürgen was eliminated. From week one he stood out as someone worthy of the final. Sadly, this week he just didn’t meet the high standards that the other bakers excelled to, despite coming first in the technical. The other bakers were just as stunned as the audience at Jürgen being eliminated and everyone was sad to see him go.
Baking Show Best Bits
Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!
- In the technical challenge, Chigs accidentally calling crème mousseline, crème Mussolini.
- The main highlight of this episode was seeing the close friendship between the bakers and their support for one another. As Jürgen so rightly said before the results, there were four star bakers in the tent this week.
Next week, the three remaining bakers will compete in the final. Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!