The Great British Bake Off: 11.07. Eighties Week
You cannot fault the producers of The Great British Bake Off for wanting to go back in time and this week they went as far back as the Eighties. There were the classic staples of Quiche and Finger Doughnuts, though making Ice Cream Cakes on one of the warmest days of the year was all sorts of cruel. Did Peter even exist in the Eighties? No, of course not. He was born a full two decades later.
For a baking show it still seems odd to see the contestants actually cooking, as if creating creamy, flavoursome interiors were a bonus skill alongside the crispy, crumbly pastry we have come to expect. However, it was 28°C which could not go unnoticed. There was Marc sweating through his apron as he produced typically bold Cornish-inspired Quiches including Cod with Cornish Blue and Haddock with Davidstow Cheddar. Though the flavour combinations were similar his pastry came up trumps.
This was also the case for Peter who opted for fiery Thai Crab Curry though it was the wholemeal pastry for his Salmon efforts that brought the adulation. Laura also fired up her quiches by adding heat from Calabrian Sausage and Nduja Paste then countered those with Mint, Petit Pois and Asparagus. In what would prove a difficult week her pastries leaked but at least they weren’t soggy.
Scrambled Egg in an Egg Custard? Surely not, Dave. But there it was with Hash Browns and Pork Mince. Then that other classic combination of… Steak with Avocado though mercifully the spices were overwhelming. Lottie also went for the Full English though hers included Sausage, Black Pudding and Baked Beans offset with a considered Summer Salad of Beetroot, Walnut and Goat’s Cheese. Though Prue cannot stand Baked Beans, she still ate it and even enjoyed it. No room for toast? Hermine kept it classic with Spinach and Mushroom then Salmon and Leek. She decided to freeze her pastry which became under cooked; yet for the one contestant who kept it simple, she perhaps topped the round.
The Technical was typically devilish of Custard and Jam Finger Doughnuts though for once it was the weather that was criminal and not the instructions. As the temperature peaked you wondered whether there was any need for a proving drawer. Dave was last for his burnt and under proved batch followed by Lottie who was unsure of what a six inch length of dough looked like. With her wise use of a fan, Laura was fourth, then Marc. In his short baking career, Peter had not used a deep fryer before yet still managed second as his weren’t quite big enough, which left Hermine out on top. Again.
For the Showstopper it was clear that Lottie, Laura and Dave were in trouble. The tension was rising and the temperature was exacting for Ice Cream Cake. Not only were their skills of construction put to the test, but also timing. Ensuring that the ice cream layers were set enough to mould into shape only to go back in the freezer before unveiling. If the ice cream failed to set or was brought out too early, even by a couple of minutes, it would show and ultimately it did.
Dave opted to have both ice-creams piped out on top. During a heatwave. It was ambitious though he set out to make a Classic Tiramisu and that’s what he produced with Almond Ice Cream, Almond Liqueur Soaked Sponge and Coffee Ice Cream. Stressing the need to prove herself yet again, Laura opted for decadence with ‘Death by Chocolate’ of Brownie Ice Cream, Chocolate Sponge, Salted Caramel Praline Ice Cream and a Chocolate Ganache Drip. For all the cooking skill involved, it was not turning on the ice setting on the ice cream maker that could have proved fatal, as not only was the ganache dripping but pretty much all her ice-cream. To top it off, the one layer which really did not need to be solid was; the brownie.
Lottie went back to her childhood and her 80’s Mix Tape evoked the flavours of her earliest birthday parties. It also looked like a child had done it as she decided to have it coated in Chocolate Ice Cream. Again. In a heatwave. There was trouble when the ice cream came out soft scoop and reverted to liquid quicker than Paul could say, “very underwhelmed”. Though if he’d have watched her scraping layers of rapidly melting ice-cream onto her carefully formed layers as it dripped in front of the fridge, he may have noted the drama that preceded it. Alas, even the Cherry Jelly and Blackberry Mousse failed to impress and with that it has her time to go. She left with her head held high as, despite this final disaster; she’d proved that there was no doubt at all that she can bake.
Amidst the chaos was Peter’s Christmas Cake Surprise. The surprise being it was the heat of summer, not the Brandy Ice Cream, nor the Marzipan and Brandy Snap. Utterly predictable was how neat and tidy it was, despite a distinctly solid layer of cake. While several had struggled with the heat, Peter might as well have been in his own winter bubble. If the alcohol content was a concern for him there was an entire pot of honey in Marc’s Retro Ice Cream Parlour. The layers of Blackberry Mousse then Honey and Hazelnut with Butterscotch and Pecan Ice Cream were distinct and a surrounding layer of Chocolate Jaconde was an exquisite touch. Despite the offset of honey, he’d pretty much nailed it. Hermine might as well have been off on her hollibobs as barring a disaster she was certain for Star Baker. Thankfully for her the disasters occurred elsewhere. The colours of her Mango then Coconut Ice Cream with Raspberry Coulis were striking and the Palet Breton (Shortbread from Brittany) worked beautifully. The lines were neat and the flavours were beautifully balanced, with that she was the seventh different Star Baker yet this series.