The Great British Bake Off: 6.02 Biscuit Week
Here in Britain we take biscuits very seriously. That sounds like the introduction to a Little Britain sketch but this week's Bake Off was no laughing matter.
The signature challenge was to bake 24 identical biscotti so two hours may sound like a leisurely amount of time, until you accept that the biscuits have to be baked twice. Overbake initially and the result would invite a trip to the dentist instead of the pleasant crunch Mary Berry craved.
The award for most elaborate flavour went to Alvin for jackfruit yet the moistness meant his biscotti needed more oven-time. Mat went for boring old dried cranberries yet his had a commendable crunch. The first look of disdain from Mary was aimed directly at Ian for his suggestion of rosemary with orange and cranberry, cue a smug grin come judging as Paul Hollywood deemed them 'fantastic'.
Tamal filled in the hipster void by involving physalis berries (no, not named after an STI) yet Paul decided they lacked any dominant flavour. Ugne upped the ante with a superfood, goji berries. Both Nadiya and Flora then involved fennel seeds which may have been a step too far but proved fascinating. Keeping the batch identical proved too much for Marie's fragile efforts while Dorret adorned hers with amber sugar crystals yet lacked flavour. Sandy kept it simple and splendid with chocolate and hazelnut while Paul was commended for using chocolate dough because amateurs might not be able to tell when it has baked, apparently. So far, so good.
Then the devilishly technical challenge of the French cinnamon flavoured delicacy; arlette. Of course, none of it seemed familiar and the instructions were vague at best. 'Make the dough', 'knead', 'chill'; as if someone decided to tweet the recipe. Flora seemed to grasp the concept of lamination, again displaying experience beyond her years. With only three minutes to go Marie had this week's fail moment as her oven was not on resulting in only half the required batch of eight. Obviously she was last while Dorret redeemed herself from last week claiming top spot.
The templates and rulers were out for creating biscuit boxes containing 36 biscuits for the showstopper round. Mat certainly nailed the brief with a gingerbread fire engine and earl grey biscuits as if baking for a colleague's sophisticated birthday bash. Also going with earl grey biscuits was Flora yet her broken shortbread tea box bore a modicum of panic. Star anise was a winning choice for Tamal's chessboard box while Nadiya's use of cayenne pepper and ginger in her 'Box of Fortunes' packed a pleasant enough punch for Paul.
Ugne went back to her Lithuanian roots with cottage cheese cookies and a honeycake box that Paul did not like. No, the kidder loved it. Sandy also went savoury though her parmesan rounds were disappointingly soft. Dorret's green tea frogs proved bitter rather than blithesome and Paul brought in an X-Factor style backstory by dedicating his 'Memory Box' and pink macarons to his wife, aww. Ian had no such story yet his pink macarons in a 'Sandwich de la Confiture' screamed precision and artistry to crown him this week's star baker. Then there was Alvin who presented his box as a DIY set of panels yet his ambitious set of brandy snaps seemed to save him.
Keeping in your comfort zone is a fast way to leaving the show and despite being star baker last week Marie was gone following her plain tasting shortbread. From top to ta-ta in the space of a week.