‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Season 13, Episode 5 “Dessert Week”


This week on The Great British Baking Show, the eight remaining bakers are competing in “Dessert Week.” They will face three dessert-themed challenges to compete for the title of Star Baker and to avoid being eliminated from the competition.

Signature Challenge

For the Signature Challenge, the bakers were asked to make eight individual steamed puddings in two hours. They could make any style or flavor of pudding, and it had to be served with an accompaniment of their choice. The big risk in this challenge is that the bakers would have no idea whether their puddings had cooked properly until they turned them out of their molds. There would be no way to fix them if they were undercooked. The judges wanted properly cooked moist puddings.

This challenge did not go well for Carole. She was very close to being eliminated last week, and judge Paul Hollywood mentioned that she needed to make no mistakes this week. She made stem ginger puddings topped with caramelized plums, plum compote, and Chantilly cream served with custard. She started by burning her plums before the judges had even come to speak with her at the beginning of the challenge, so she had to start over. Then her water wasn’t properly boiling when she put her puddings into the steam bath. This meant that there was a heartbreaking moment when she turned her puddings out of the molds, and they were all raw and collapsed. The judges managed to taste a pudding that was partially cooked and told her that it was a shame as they tasted delicious, and the sharpness of the plums worked well.

The judges also weren’t impressed with Kevin’s bake. He made a steamed pudding based on Scottish clootie dumplings. His puddings contained fruit soaked in whiskey, topped with candied peel, and served with whisky crème anglaise. He traditionally handmolded them in a cloth, but the judges thought they looked misshapen and messy. They loved the flavor but thought that his puddings were too dry and dense.

In a shocking turn this week, Syabira also received criticism from the judges. She made watermelon puddings. Her steamed puddings were designed to crack open in the steamer so that her green-topped puddings revealed the red middle, complete with black seeds. Her design was very clever. She accompanied these with lychee custard and taro ice cream. The judges loved her design and her ice cream but disliked her watermelon flavor. She had used watermelon essence, and they thought it was overpowering and tasted fake.

Abdul did well this week with his fig and date puddings. They were topped with white chocolate-dipped figs and isomalt decorations and served with saffron and cardamom custard. They looked very pretty, and the judges thought his puddings were moist, light, and delicious.

Sandro stood out in this challenge with his apple and cherry crumble puddings, including caramel and cherry liqueur drizzle. These were served with custard. The judges thought his cherry and apple flavors worked beautifully with the spices and all his elements were perfect. He still didn’t receive a Hollywood handshake from Paul, though!

The Great British Baking Show

Technical Challenge

For the Technical Challenge, the bakers were asked to make a lemon meringue pie in two hours using a recipe they had never seen before. The recipe this week proved to not be of much use, though. It only contained the method “make a lemon meringue pie.” The judges ranked the bakes from worst to best in a blind judging, not knowing which pie belonged to which baker.

The Great British Baking Show

Syabira came last in this challenge. She had never made a lemon meringue pie before, so the minimal instructions were not very helpful. She tried to follow the lead of the other bakers. However, she decided to only partially blindly bake her pastry. She took it out of the oven when it was still very pale. At the end of the challenge, she realized that her pastry was not cooked enough, but it was too late at that point. The judges thought her pie looked clumsy. Her pastry was too thick, almost raw, and soggy on the bottom. However, they liked the tartness of her lemon filling.

Dawn came in seventh place, which was a surprise as lemon meringue pie was a specialty of hers. Her pastry was falling apart, and she somehow did not make enough filling. Then, in order, came: Carole, Kevin, Sandro, Maxy, and Abdul.

Janusz came in first place. His pastry was very nicely baked, and the judges liked his meringue. Overall, they thought he had made a very good lemon meringue pie.

Showstopper Challenge

For the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers were given four and a half hours to make a mousse-based dessert. Their dessert had to be visually spectacular and have a surprise inside that could be seen in every slice. It also had to include three further dessert elements, one of which had to be baked. The challenge in this bake was in the use of gelatin. They had to use enough gelatin that their dessert would be stable, but not too much, or it would become rubbery.

Dawn’s “woodland” mousse dessert did not go well. She made lime yogurt mousse which surrounded lemon jelly flowers, and a raspberry mousse toadstool surprise. She also made hazelnut dacquoise to sit on the bottom. However, her jelly flowers did not set in the correct shape, and neither did her raspberry mousse toadstool. This meant that they did not hold the shape of her surprise. The judges loved her jelly’s sharpness and the creamy mousses’ balance with the dacquoise. Her textures were also very good. She was let down by the fact that her dessert looked messy, and there was no surprise in the middle. However, host Noel Fielding joked that the surprise was that there was no surprise.

Abdul was in the running to win Star Baker until this challenge. He made a galaxy-themed dessert with blackberry mousse, almond crunch, and yuzu curd, which surrounded his surprise of cake pop planets inside. His cake was topped with a celestial mirror glaze and white chocolate planets. The judges thought his mirror glaze was one of the best that they had seen. Sadly, his yuzu curd and mirror glaze contained too much gelatin and were rubbery.

The Great British Baking Show

Carole made strawberry and chocolate mousses surrounding her surprise of a strawberry that ran through the middle of her cake, made from red velvet cakes. The judges were shocked to learn that she planned to use 30 leaves of gelatin to ensure that it didn’t collapse like her Signature Challenge. The judges thought her dessert looked quite good and that her strawberry mousse was fantastic. However, her chocolate mousse contained too much gelatin, and her cakes were tough.

Syabira continued to have a very bad week. She made a “bee positive” cake based around a pun about a bee’s blood type. She made melon mousse which surrounded her surprise of sponge bees and plus signs. This was topped with jasmine jelly and an inlaid biscuit bee. In this challenge, she decided not to use melon essence but went for natural flavor instead. Her delicate bee biscuit broke when she demolded it, and it ended up looking messy. The judges loved the texture of her cake, but in a reverse of the Signature Challenge, the judges could not taste her melon flavor.

Once again, Sandro stole the show in this challenge. He made the Earth with lemon sponge, panna cotta, prosecco fruit jelly, and white chocolate mousse to make the layers of the Earth’s core and mantle. The judges were impressed that he made a spherical dessert out of mousse while keeping the mousse light and airy. They loved the textures, the design, and the flavors.

The Great British Baking Show


It was no surprise that Sandro won Star Baker this week. It was well-deserved, especially as he has come so close to winning it in the last few episodes.

This week Dawn and Syabira were close to being eliminated, but it was Carole’s turn to go. The amusing way she pronounces a lot of the bakes and ingredients will be missed.

Baking Show Best Bits

Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!

  • Sandro’s plan to trick a Hollywood handshake out of Paul by asking what is in his hand.
  • The bakers all sitting on the floor watching their lemon meringue pies bake during the Technical Challenge. Carole joked that if she sat down, she wouldn’t get back up again.  

Next week, the bakers will compete in the first-ever “Halloween Week.” We can’t wait to see what spooky bakes they have in store for us. Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, 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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