The Great British Bake Off: 7.02 Biscuits Week
After Paul’s fall from grace dunking a Jaffa Cake in his brew it was almost inevitable we would have biscuits this week. Would he be gifted a pint sized cuppa to indulge himself? Alas no, but there was more than enough drama.
The signature challenge was to produce a set of 24 identical Iced Biscuits which, considering the provision of a single oven each, proved harder than anticipated. Strangely, those who tried desperately to impress actually did. Selasi’s ‘Wheelie Hot’ Scotch Bonnet Chilli flavoured efforts were great fun according to Mary and while Candice’s double layered Salted Caramel, Chocolate Iced biscuits looked hideous to Paul, they also tasted amazing which is clearly the most important thing.
There were some more pleasing efforts including Benjamina’s Chocolate and Orange Bouquet Biscuits for their biscuit to icing ratio and Jane’s Flower Pot biscuits despite being half iced. Kate’s ‘A Biscuit For The Broads’ were a tad outlandish with their medicinal Bergamot extract and lavender flavours but Mary deemed them winners. Tom again proved his hipster credentials with his Chai Frappelatteccino (do they even exist?) efforts which were rewarded with a handshake from Paul, impressive stuff. Visually, Michael’s bold, cartoonish Malt Chocolate Orange Iced Beer set probably took the biscuit (yeh, sorry) but impressed with their consistency.
Of course there were some disappointments; Rav’s Coconut and Lime Union Jack Bunting Biscuits had a clumsy finish and yet reminded Paul of Thai Green Curry. Andrew’s Beehive Biscuits were labelled too soft and stale, pretty much criminal. There was also early droppage from Louise and Val with their respective Baa Bara Brith and Ice Cream Cone efforts, a precursor for things to come.
Things were about to get a whole lot tougher with the technical challenge of 12 Viennese Whirls. They had to be crumbly, melt in the mouth and finished in 90 minutes. This is also the point where the innuendo really got going. At one point Mel offered her warm hands to work Rav’s stiff mixture with questions raised over how long to beat it. Things actually got worse than that later. Anyway, Selasi’s whirls collapsed so he finished last while the lovely definition of Kate’s gained her first place.
Despite this being the second week already the showstopper sounded fantastically difficult. A 3D Gingerbread scene depicting a personal story being 30cm high and involving characters. Cue detailed diagrams, tools, even more droppage, nervous meltdowns and cries of despair.
The key was keeping cool under pressure and despite a total of 37 elements Andrew’s ‘Punting In Cambridge’ looked neat and precise. They even reminded Paul of his own mother’s ginger biscuits to which Andrew sheepishly replied, “in a good way?” Similarly Tom’s ‘Near Death Experience’ featured bold colours and actually looked quite artistic but importantly Paul thought it was a good biscuit. However, Michael’s had to be swiftly renamed ‘Santa’s Workshop From Hell’ for his sinister depiction of Lapland yet was actually the best gingerbread according to Paul.
Kate opted for three different flavours; traditional, clove as well as cardamom and lemon for her 'I Promise I Will Do My Best' brownie camp scene which Mary thought was absolutely lovely. Others were not quite as impressive; Rav’s 'Christmas Fairground' was correctly accused of being burnt by Paul to a blank expression of no comment while Benjamina’s 'New York New York' was a bit messy but a very nice gingerbread according to Mary. Selasi again disappointed with his 'Stained Glass Window Church' as Paul failed to taste the ginger and Jane’s depiction of 'Hastings Old Town' was declared soft, not what you want from gingerbread.
Val and Louise were already struggling and the pressure showed as both their structures collapsed. 'From Holland to New York via Yorkshire' always looked a bit too ambitious for Val and she almost ran out of time yet Paul relished beheading her sister and deemed her scrumptious. She survived for another week but Louise was not so lucky as her wedding scene turned into a horrorshow so painful Mary actually looked sorry for her. The despair aside, the giggles returned when it was Candice’s turn. First Mel offered to "grab her jugs" which brought a knowledgeable grin from Andrew. Mary then declared that she would indeed "eat a bit of carpet" before declaring that hers was smashing and with that she was awarded Star Baker.