The Great British Bake Off: 7.08 Tudor Week

Quarter Final week so Paul Hollywood did his best Henry VIII impression as Bake Off went back in time to the Tudors and there were tears as one head rolled. A display of shaped pies would usually suffice for a showstopping round but this was only the mere signature dish. Twelve hot water crusted pies and only one oven each, a tricky start.

As ever, Candice made it hard for herself and decided on a grand total of two fillings, two different crusts and 22 pies all in the shape of a fish, a lot to ‘tackle’ (credit for that pun goes to Mary). Her Ox Cheek and Oyster pies were a childhood favourite and tasted amazing according to Paul. The Macaroni and Cheese pies were less impressive with their al dente/underdone texture combinations. Top marks to Andrew for the genius design of his Pork, Potato and Dried Apricot ‘Da Vinci Inspired Geared Pies’ which looked golden brown, tasted good but more importantly, worked on a mechanical level.

Selasi’s ‘Bouquet of Flowers’ also looked divine with a sprinkling of cranberries. The Pork and Quail Egg efforts had a delicious flavour while the Game Pies had a very gamey flavour, according to Mary, which is just what you want really. The only ones to really suffer a bit of leakage were Jane’s ‘Tudor Rose Pies’. The design was impressive enough and Mary loved the herbs with the Streaky Bacon, Cranberries and Allspice. Bonus points for giving Paul stink eye as he examined one. In what would prove to be an uncompromising quarter final, Benjamina would already be struggling after her Pork and Bean pies in her sun shaped ‘Mexican Adventure’ were deemed a bit rushed and clumsy, even if the flavour was stunning.

Jumble Biscuits. Yes, you have guessed it, yet another technical that no-one had heard of. Six biscuits in the shape of a Celtic Knot and six in a knot ball, fiddly enough. Then they had to realise that the balls would take a longer bake, that they had to add sugar before going into the oven and this was all before working out the designs. Of course, it was not wholly traditional, Jane still used an electric mixer. Candice struggled with the mathematics of her dough proportions while Andrew tried to study the geometry of the designs. In the end, Jane was last as her knots were pale and failed to include gaps while Candice’s were the opposite.

The showstopping round was devilishly difficult, as you would expect; a centrepiece incorporating baked Marchpane Marzipan. The elaborate designs meant a throwback to Blue Peter with marshmallow tree trunks, glitter paint and a history lesson. Jane was in a bit of trouble so went for a less showy, yet no less elaborate pane of marchpane with a neat, coloured swan design atop a Walnut Genoise Sponge. It looked sensational and the delicate sponge kept its shape plus it tasted amazing according to Paul.

In the battle of the swordplay scenes Andrew triumphed with his ‘Jousting Knights Marchpane’, even if it looked like the knights were holding erections rather than swords. Mary noticed the cracks and fillings in his marzipan yet the Tudor flavours of honey, currants and ginger tasted very good. Selasi’s ‘Fruity Tudor’ just looked a little unprofessional even if the intention of a history lesson via swords and crowns was endearing, the brandy soaked fruits sponge fell apart and the inside looked messy.

Despite seemingly giving herself too much to do again there could only be one winner this week and that was Candice. Her Peacock design looked suitably spectacular, then it was sliced open to reveal four distinct, colourful layers of orange, lemon, rosewater and mint sponges with the hidden Tudor surprise of blueberries in the centre. She even managed to worry her competition as Andrew looked visibly frightened at the imposing build of its chocolate crispy cake head. Paul called it ‘exceptional’ and it was the crowning glory. Someone had to go and Benjamina’s ‘Tudor Garden’ just did not do enough. The spiced apple cake base was doughy, the maze simplistic and the marzipan was loose fitted. Far from disastrous but not enough to save her and there were tears as she was sent home.