GBBO 14 Episode 10 Review: The Final Week

So there we have it, Nancy Birtwhistle is the Champion of The Great British Bake Off.

Nancy GBBO

Best Bake: Nancy’s Red Windmill and Luis’ Village in Chocolate

Nancy's Piece Montee Luis's Piece Montee Drawing

Signature Challenge: 24 Viennoiserie

The traditional Danish pastries, which consist of either an enriched brioche-style bread dough or a laminated pastry, were the bakers’ first challenge of the Final. Taking normally a whole day to make, all the bakers had to find ways to quickly make these tricky bakes.

Richard tried the simple yet perfect approach, and to get perfect Viennoiserie in 3 and a half hours is tricky in itself. His Pains Au Lait and Pains Au Chocolat were pretty classic Viennoiserie. To create the lamination during the time, Richard tried creaming the butter and spreading it over the dough. This was a massive risk as the butter would be more likely to melt into the dough, unlike Luis who added it as one slab, meaning the layers wouldn’t be preserved. Richard also tried to prove the pastries inside the proving drawer which melted the butter. It wasn’t a good start for Richard, not helped by Paul being upset by the visible tear in the sides of his Pains Au Lait due to the bread joining during baking/proving.

Richard's Viennoiserie

Luis made Apple, Walnut, Raisin and Cheese Chaussons, which Paul and Mary agreed were absolutely perfect with their flaky dough and good flavour, and Pains au Chocolate Blanc with Raspberry and Cream Cheese, which Paul and Mary disliked very much. The raspberry made the dough slightly soggy and the cream cheese didn’t compliment the dry pastry. They looked stunning, a quality we’ve known Luis to possess over the Bake Off, but the flavour wasn’t good. However he was still slightly higher than Richard.

Nancy's Viennoiserie

Nancy was pretty much tied with Luis after the Signature. She lost a few marks on the collapse of the raspberry on the inside of her Raspberry and Almond Croissants. Her Kites had very visible layers and Mary was absolutely stunned by the flavours Nancy had.

End of Challenge: 1st = Nancy, 2nd = Luis, 3rd = Richard

Technical Challenge: 12 Mini Victoria Sandwiches, 12 Mini Tartes au Citron, 12 Mini Scones

Paul and Mary decided to set the bakers a very difficult Technical Challenge. They didn’t give the bakers any instructions, just the ingredients and their quantities. This was a great Technical Challenge for the final, testing all 3 of them on the basics. The timing was also devilish: 3 different miniature bakes in 2 hours.

Richard’s Tarte au Citrons (or Tarte au Colons, as Paul jokingly read the chocolate piping on the tarts) were overbaked as the lemon custard filling was scrambled egg. No matter how good his scones were, his jam was also slightly wet and soaked into his sponge. I thought Richard would be 2nd but the judges placed him dead bottom. I was shocked. By the end of the Technical, all hope for Richard was lost.

Luis blind-baked his pastry for too long and the edges were visibly burnt. The cases also needed patching up and the pastry also had holes as the final tarts had very little filling inside. His scones weren’t glazed but were still very light and baked well, meaning Luis received 2nd place. Even Luis was surprised at the result!

Nancy appeared to be unflustered throughout the challenge, even offering tips to the audience. Her jam was the perfect consistency, she managed to pipe on the word ‘Citron’ on her tarts and although her scones were on the dry side, Nancy took 1st place in what could be the hardest Technical to date!

End of Challenge: 1st = Nancy, 2nd = Luis, 3rd = Richard

Showstopper Challenge: Piece Montee

The final challenge is a test of the bakers’ ability to excel in multiple areas of baking and decoration. Cakes, biscuits, choux pastry, sugar work, petit fours, the list goes on and on.

Richard, after a terrible 1st day, needed to truly excel here. He was inspired by his home and called his Piece Montee ‘The Mill on the Hill’. There were sponge layers covered in green icing with an almond nougatine and a croquembouche sitting on top with a windmill made of caramel. To decorate, Richard had some pink meringue mushroom. Paul and Mary were intrigued by the colour but the flavour of the sponge and jam was impressive. Richard’s flavours were very good with contrasting sponges that did compliment. Mary called his choux “first-class”. I did feel however it was as good a showstopper as it could’ve been but Richard did finish on a high.

Richard's Piece Montee

Luis was inspired by his hometown of Poynton and its mining background. His “Village of Chocolate” was aesthetically phenomenal, everyone on Twitter was gasping at its splendour. How Luis managed to construct that chain of choux buns and get them to stand rigid like soldiers wows me. Unfortunately Luis’ flavours slightly let him down but no matter what, Luis was still in with a fighting chance thanks to a strong 1st day.

Luis's Piece Montee Drawing Luis's Piece Montee

Nancy wowed everyone with her amazing Piece Montee, inspired by a windmill, this time coloured red and it even rotated like a windmill. The flavours were impressive and there was even a croquembouche hidden in there somewhere. A trio of very very good challenges meant that Nancy deserved the crown tonight.

Nancy's Piece Montee

Last week I mentioned the trends in the past winners and this series didn’t even disappoint.

  • The person who won Star Baker the most times did the worst in the Final
  • The public’s least favourite came through to win

It’s shown that Richard’s 5-time Star Baker didn’t at all influence the result. It is all down to how you bake on the day.

You might remember I made those predictions at the start of the series. Here’s what happened…

R3L2N1

Didn’t go very well did it? Oh well, maybe next year!

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