This week on The Great British Baking Show, the 11 remaining bakers must face “Biscuit Week.” They will face three biscuit-themed challenges to compete for the title of Star Baker and to avoid being eliminated from the competition. Grab yourself a biscuit and a cup of tea, and let’s dive into episode 3.
For the Signature Challenge this week, the bakers were asked to make a batch of 18 identical decorative illusion macarons in two hours. The bakers could use any flavors they wished in order to put their signature spin on this classic, but the judges wanted the macarons to look like something other than a macaron.
This challenge saw the first two coveted Hollywood handshakes of the season. These handshakes are only given out by judge Paul Hollywood when he thinks a bake is spectacular. The first went to Dawn. She made yoyo-shaped macarons filled with freeze-dried strawberry mascarpone cream. They had a very original design with a fondant string wrapped around her macarons. The judges thought they looked perfect with the clever design and were very light and delicious.
The second handshake went to Maxy. She made daisy-shaped macarons dedicated to her daughters, featuring their favorite flavors. They were filled with salted caramel and raspberry mascarpone cream. The judges thought they looked neat and delicate. Her flavors were balanced nicely, and they were light and summery.
Syabira also stood out this week for taking a risk with her Signature Challenge. She decided to make savory macarons. They were shaped like peanuts and filled with ginger and tofu satay sauce. The judges thought that they looked great and had a surprising flavor. However, Paul didn’t love that you were left with the sweet rather than the savory flavors. The judges did think that they were very original and tasted delicious.
The bake didn’t go quite as well for Maisam. She made carrot-shaped macarons filled with orange blossom, cinnamon, and walnut mascarpone cream. She had to restart her filling after she overmixed her first batch, which split. This meant she lost some of the time she wanted to use for decoration. The judges thought her textures were amazing, but her orange blossom flavor was too strong, and the carrots lacked decoration as there was no piping.
Rebs also struggled with the challenge. She made chocolate macarons shaped like her cat. They were filled with chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis. She was set back early in the challenge when she realized that she had not mixed her batter enough. She had to scrape it back into the bowl and mix it some more. This meant that as many of the bakers were removing their macarons from the oven, Rebs’ were only just going in. This resulted in her rushing at the end, with Carole and Janusz rushing in to help her finish in time. The judges liked the design and thought her piping of the cat was excellent, but it was obvious that assembly was rushed, with the interior being messy. They did like the flavor of her macarons, though.
For the Technical Challenge, the bakers must follow a pared-down recipe they have never seen before. This week they were asked to bake 12 garibaldi biscuits, also known as squashed fly biscuits. They had one hour and 45 minutes to make the biscuits which consist of two thin layers of biscuit sandwiching a layer of currants. They were also asked to decorate the biscuits with feathered chocolate. The judges then judged the bakes from worst to best in a blind judging, not knowing which biscuits belonged to which baker.
Abdul came in last place this week. His biscuits were a mess. They were underbaked and very soft. This meant that he struggled to dip them in the chocolate, with some breaking, resulting in him drizzling the chocolate over the biscuits. The judges commented that more chocolate was on the plate than the biscuits. He also didn’t understand what feathering the chocolate meant. He made crude white chocolate feathers which he placed on top of the biscuits.
Syabira also made the same mistake; however, she pulled it off to a higher standard. Her white chocolate feathers were exquisite but not what the judges were looking for. Her biscuits were nice and thin but were still a bit soft. This resulted in her coming in tenth place. Then, in order came: Dawn, Kevin, Maisam, Janusz, Maxy, Carole, Sandro, and James.
Rebs surprised herself by coming in first place in this challenge. Her biscuits were nice and thin and had lovely, feathered chocolate on top. Despite her biscuits being a little too soft and her chocolate being a little too thick, her biscuits tasted delicious.
For the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers were asked to make a 3D biscuit mask. They had four hours for this challenge and could use any style of biscuit they wished. However, their bake had to look and taste fantastic and had to be able to stand upright at the end of the challenge.
This challenge was both amazing and nerve-wracking to watch. The end of the challenge was terrifying to watch as the bakers carefully placed their masks upright and hoped that their biscuits didn’t crumble or fall off. However, the results were worth it. Many of the bakers produced stunning masks, so make sure you check out the video below that showcases them.
Abdul stood out during this challenge as he made a mask inspired by his pet parrot. The base mask was made of gingerbread and decorated with sumac shortbread, tahini, and sesame biscuit feathers. He made 90 individual biscuits, and the judges were amazed by the detail and texture he managed to get in the feathers just by shaping the biscuits. The judges loved the unusual flavors and thought the textures were wonderful.
Not to be outdone by Abdul, Syabira made over 100 biscuits for her mask. Her mask was inspired by people having a dark and a light side. Her base mask was made of lemon and jasmine biscuit. The dark side of her mask was decorated with chocolate sandwich biscuits and the light side with orange, rose, and heart-shaped pistachio biscuits, topped with pistachio and rose macarons for the crown. The detail and texture in her mask were stunning. The judges thought her chocolate sandwich biscuits were rich and indulgent, her shortbread was nice, and her rose-flavored biscuits had a good flavor. They thought her lemon and jasmine biscuit lacked a bit of lemon flavor.
Maxy also continued to perform well with her carnival-themed mask. She made a coconut and lime sugar biscuit base mask and decorated it with cardamom tuile feathers and macadamia florentines. It looked amazing and had lots of color. The judges thought it was a fantastic design and all of her biscuits tasted delicious.
Maisam received some mixed feedback. She created a Venetian-inspired mask made from gingerbread. It was decorated with colorful royal icing, isomalt shards, and two decorative coconut and lemon shortbread biscuits. She finished the challenge early and had a lot of spare time before the challenge finished, which tends not to go over well with the judges. The judges liked how vibrant her mask was and thought her biscuits tasted nice. However, they thought it was rather simple since she only created two types of biscuits and could have done more with the time available.
The judges also weren’t impressed by Rebs’ simplistic mask. She made a Venetian-inspired fascinator mask. It consisted of a mixed spice gingerbread base with royal icing and whisky snap decoration. She had a difficult bake after her first batch of gingerbread cracked in the oven and had to start over from scratch. Her mask was quite small and simplistic, and the judges thought she could have done more, especially as her icing looked rushed. They also thought her gingerbread had too much spice and was too soft.
Carole’s mask ended in disaster and broke everyone’s hearts. She made a gingerbread mask with almond macaron and royal icing decoration topped with orange tuile feathers. Her decoration was amazing; however, her downfall was using lard in her gingerbread instead of butter. This resulted in her gingerbread being very soft. When she leaned her mask upright against a plate stand, she turned away for a minute and the biscuit crumbled in the middle allowing the stand to be pushed through. With only a few minutes left, there was nothing Carole could do to fix her mask, and she ended up in tears. It was sad to see her so upset after she had been so proud of her creation. The judges could still see past the damage and thought her piping was beautiful, and her biscuits had a lovely flavor.
This week James, Maxy, and Syabira all seemed to be in the running to win Star Baker. However, Maxy won the title after doing well in all three challenges.
At the other end of the scale, Carole, Maisam, and Rebs were all in contention to be eliminated. I think only winning the Technical Challenge saved Rebs from elimination. This meant that Maisam was the baker who was sent home, with her bakes being rather underwhelming this week.
Baking Show Best Bits
Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!
- Host Matt Lucas suggesting that if bakers weren’t proud of their bakes in the Technical Challenge, they could place it behind someone else’s photo and pretend it wasn’t theirs.
- James showing off his baking raccoon tattoo … yes, you read that correctly.
Next week, the bakers will compete in “Bread Week.” Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!