The Great British Bake Off: 8.05 Pudding Week
Steamed school puddings, molten chocolate puddings and ornamental trifle terrines; this week was pudding week and there were some truly tasty treats on display. Still, nothing was ever going to beat the triumph that was last week's caramel week, was it?
I'm a big fan of steamed puddings and while some of the signature challenges weren't always the most attractive, there were plenty that delivered, with Paul delivering a record-breaking three handshakes. Consistently good, twice-star baker Steven got one for his lemon & blackcurrant drizzle steamed school pudding, with pipped in blackcurrant drizzle in the sponge itself, followed by Yan's mango fruit hat steamed school pudding that looked truly delicious. And why there was a battle of the bakewell tarts between Liam and Stacey, his cherries & lemons that are 'baked well' didn't quite beat her bakewell tart steamed school pudding, which tasted just like Paul's favourite pudding, winning Stacey the third handshake.
Julia's orange & treacle steamed school pudding also did well, particularly as she'd never seen steamed puddings back in Russia (apparently school deserts consisted of baked apple with cottage cheese inside). Sophie set up herself well with a tasty ginger, fig and honey steamed school pudding with a great compliment of flavours. James' orange and ginger steamed school pudding looked good and tasted fine but poor Kate suffered from the old STAR BAKER CURSE with a 'Mr Darcy's steamy lake scene' steamed school pudding with an accompanying Earl Grey custard that was a watery disaster.
For the second week in a row, we were treated the to HISTORY BIT and this time it was Sandi Toksvig's turn as she returned to her old Cambridge university haunt and learned about this history of the Cambridge steamed pudding. Fortunately, the recipe has moved a long way from it's beginnings of animal's stomach or bladder stuffed with meat or veg.
Next up was a technical challenge with a twist as the contestants were asked to enter the tent one by one and prepare a chocolate pudding with a smooth melted peanut butter centre. Everyone started off well, with Steven being the first person to slip as his pudding tasted fine but had a centre that wasn't runny. Things got worse for poor Kate who ended up eighth, with James just behind her after his confident guess of eight minutes cooking time left him with uncooked puddings. Yan came sixth, Steven fifth and Stacey fourth. Julia took the third spot, while Liam and Stacey battled it out again and she claimed the top spot.
Everything changed in the showstopper; an ornamental trifle terrine of sponge, mousse / custard and jelly. Kate went for traditional flavours with her 'my great great Nan's' raspberry trifle terrine and redeemed herself only just from elimination. There were three flag-themed terrines too; Steven's US flag 'from across the jelly pond' trifle terrine looked magnificent but unfortunately it was more style of substance. James fared a lot worse, with his prosecco jelly on his Union Jack-themed 'the missed silver jubilee' trifle terrine being the only thing Prue and Paul liked. And Yan's 'heart of a hero' trifle terrine with its Union Jack flag and red gelatin heart around a chocolate London and Hong Kong skyline looked magnificent. She probably would have got star baker but the taste wasn't quite good enough.
Stacey continued her risk through the ranks with her garishly-pink tropical trifle terrine. It tasted wonderful but to quote fellow The Digital Fix writer Amy Jones and her live blog comment from last night, it was "something a person who organises Ann Summer's sponsored, Barbie themed hen do-s in Ibiza would refuse to serve because it was too tacky." On the more tasteful side was Sophie's elegant and tasty raspberry, yuzu & white chocolate bûche trifle terrine that Paul said was so good, you wouldn't question it if it was served in a Michelin star restaurant.
But there were some disasters too; Julia struggled with her passionfruit jelly on her opulent ornament' trifle terrine, but she had nothing on poor, adorable Liam, who faced possibly departure when the jelly on his cheers lads' trifle terrine failed to set and left the finished article a mess. Fortunately his flavours saved him at the last minute.
And while we all feared Liam would crash and burn out of the competition it was the arguably weaker James that left the tent. Sophie meanwhile went on to be crowned star baker, pipping the post from worthy components Yan and Stacey.
Next week is pastry week and after all the sweetness of caramel and desert themes, we could probably all do with something a bit more savoury...