The Great British Bake Off: 5.04 Dessert Week
If last week's buzzword was patience then this week it was precision because you had to be careful on Dessert Week. Very careful.
The first challenge was to create eight individually self-saucing puddings and for anyone that has even dared to attempt a fondant cake will know you have to get it 'just right'. Timing is key, take it out of the oven too soon and the pudding will collapse, too late and it will be too dense for sauce. It is almost an acid test for prowess on a cooking show so get it right and the judges would be suitably impressed.
Everyone seemed to have their own method which made for some interesting combinations. Martha went for peanut butter and chocolate, which did not seem classic enough for Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry's honed tastebuds. Pistachio and chocolate certainly seemed more up their street yet lacked the actual sauce, a distinct shame for Nancy. There were also intriguing methods of actually creating the sauce. Luis' poached pears ended up more slippery than saucy and Iain piped in his raspberry compote which seemed a little like cheating.
Of course, there were even simpler methods of creating a sauce. For Diana's Orange and Lemon pots, the curd did indeed ingeniously sink to the bottom. Then there was Norman who appeared to be piping on mashed potato for his relatively straightforward sticky toffee puddings. Will he ever break out of his simple shell?
The technical challenge proved to be finicky enough as each were to create a Mary Berry Tiramisu Cake. Eeep. As usual, the devil was in the detail as the men went in foolhardy by furiously stirring their mix instead of lovingly folding it. The result? Flat sponges with Richard and Iain having to re-do theirs. Again, there were issues with transporting the finished product with questions over cling film or baking paper. The real issue was getting the layering and the levels of coffee/brandy soaking right. The only one to nail it was Martha. That's right, the seventeen year old nailed a Tiramisu Cake.
The Baked Alaska. Talk about a showstopper. Just the thought of one is enough to evoke childhood memories from members of a certain generation, namely Diana. The task involved several finicky stages; first up was the ice-cream. Throughout the episode mentions were made that this was recorded on the hottest day of the year so far. Only in this final round did it truly matter.
While there was some thought behind getting the flavour combinations right the consistency was seemingly more important. Chetna had an exotic mix of mango and raspberry ice-cream with coconut cake which failed to wow but compared to others that did not really matter. Kate seemingly followed Nancy's lead with her Pistachio ice-cream and chocolate sponge while Richard took his inspiration from the previous round for his Tiramisu based effort.
Norman again came under criticism for keeping it simple with Paul commenting that he is "playing it so safe it's beginning to fail" yet his Alaska looked spectacular. Luis looked to have everything under control, gaining the banteriffic nickname "Two Mixers Luis" and his Raspberry frozen yogurt and Apricot sorbet impressed with its refreshing flavours. Extra points for multi-tasking and thinking outside the box too. Martha also went for sharp flavours with her classic Key Lime Alaska.
Though Richard's Alaska looked eerily like the mashed potato replica of Devil's Tower from Close Encounters of the Third Kind it still helped gain him the title of Star Baker for consistent performances throughout the week.
The real controversy concerned Iain's Alaska, or rather, #Bingate. In one of those sequences that inevitably brought gasps across the country, Diana removed Iain's Alaska from the freezer and left it on the side for a reported 40 seconds. Just 40 seconds though but with this being the hottest day of the year so far by the time of delivery the Alaska was a runny mess leaving Iain to have more of a meltdown than his Alaska. He could have presented it as it was leaving the judges to comment on his sponge and meringue but he angrily threw it in the bin. Diana knew what she had done and sheepishly avoided all eye contact from then yet failed to apologise. The judges had no choice; with nothing to mark Iain had to go. The question remained, was it really Diana's fault or would it have fallen apart anyway? No-one will ever truly know.