It was the semi-final this week in the tent, which saw the return of patisserie week! The bakers were so close to the finishing line, and no one wanted to be the last to go home before the final. Who would succeed in reaching the coveted final, and who would have to hang up their apron and head home? Let’s find out!
Signature challenge: Domed tartlet
For the bakers’ first challenge this week they were asked to make eight elegant, beautifully decorated, domed tartlets. These needed to have a sweet pastry case and be exquisitely decorated.
Prue: These need to be absolutely identical. They need to be neat as pins.
All of the bakers were intent on creating the perfect bake to impress the judges. We loved the fact that they had all worn ties in solidarity with Henry who had been sent home last week!
Paul: This challenge is all about timing, it’s about precision and it’s about the setting. We want that flakiness and butteriness that a good sweet pastry brings, and then you want to pack a punch with the top.
At the end of the first challenge everyone seemed about even in terms of skill, however the judges were very critical of even the smallest things. They were looking for utter perfection this week.
Technical challenge: Gateau St Honore
Prue had unsurprisingly picked another obscure fiendish bake for the patisserie themed technical. The bakers were asked to make a gateau St Honore, which unlike a regular circular gateau is rectangular and comprised of two layers. The first layer was puff pastry, followed by choux buns dipped in sweet caramel and then filled with a silky creme chiboust. The bakers then needed to repeat that for the second layer and finish with piped Chantilly cream.
Prue: This is really difficult to make and not look a mess. Everything has to be right. The choux buns have to be the right size, the creams have to be the right texture, the pastry has to be thin and neatly trimmed. They have to do puff pastry, which is going to be quite difficult.
Most of our attention was focused on Rosie panicking. While the other bakers cracked on with the challenge, she started fretting that her choux wasn’t thick enough, or that her creme pat wasn’t quite right, and she ended up re-making everything three times. We were sure that she would fall into last place with all the wasted time, however Rosie surprised not only us but also herself when she managed to beat everyone to first place! David was back in his ever-familiar second place, and Steph and Alice lagged behind in third and last place. Once again it was all to play for in the final challenge!
Showstopper challenge: Sugar glass case
To finish off the semi-final, the judges asked the bakers to make a sugar glass display case, which needed to be completely transparent. Inside the bakers needed to display an edible depiction of something that they held precious in their life; it had to contain at least one baked element and fit the theme of the week.
Prue: What we want is a real celebration of patisserie; showcasing it in a sugar glass cabinet emphasises that. The sugar glass cabinet has to be crystal clear. We want to see through it, just like through a pane of glass. Inside it has to be high class, really exquisite pastries. We want lots of different textures; jellies, mousses, ganache, maybe sponge cake, but it has to work together so that it feels as if it’s married, and that’s how it should be.
There were quite a few ambitious bakes to finish off this week – but it was the semi-final after all! Unfortunately for Rosie her bakes disappointed the judges with their lack of flavour. David almost came close to leaving the tent as the judges felt he’d only presented a cake, which didn’t fit with the patisserie theme. Alice had a much better final challenge, and managed to beat Steph to the last star baker crown!
It’s the nail-biting final! We can’t believe it’s been ten weeks already. Who will rise above everyone else to be crowned the best baker of them all? Do you have a favourite baker? Who do you think is going to win? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page!