Biscuit Week was full of ups, downs, Mary and Paul’s teeth scattered across the tent with the crunchy biscotti, collapsed biscuit boxes and the remaining pastry crumbs from the arlettes. Yep that’s a pastry in Biscuit Week. But more controversy later…
The signature challenge this week is Biscotti, a twice baked Italian biscuit. The bakers took the opportunity to literally spice things up a bit, especially Nadiya, Flora and Ian, who used fennel seeds and rosemary. Tamal’s biscotti were uniform, Mat’s were rigid soldiers and Sandy impressed me with her simple chocolate and hazelnut biscotti. But Ian was the clear stand out in this round, his flavours were great. At this stage, Marie, Dorret and Flora were at the bottom, for their underbaking, poor flavour and width respectively. I understand the need for uniformity but does it matter whether a biscotti is too wide? You’d still eat it.
The technical challenge is the Arlette, a high-end cinnamon flaky biscuit made from a PASTRY. I’m not being funny but a pastry challenge in Biscuit Week, it’s not sitting right with me. You could easily have done a Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread in 90 minutes or making Chequerboard Biscuits. I just feel it’s unnecessary, going foreign creates further distance between the home baker and the tent. I hope they go back to basics and make something that I would want to make rather than dream about making. But all things considering, this reverse puff pastry didn’t really faze the bakers, they all seemed to get to grips with it until they had to roll it up. But Dorret managed to pull it all off coming 1st in the technical, miles away from the BFG disaster last week.
The showstopper is the first what-I-call Unachievable Showstopper of the series. Making an edible biscuit box containing 36 biscuits is something that certainly tests the bakers but I doubt many will attempt this at home. Even so I was so impressed by Mat. That fire engine blew me away and even though Mat admitted it wasn’t perfect (a picture on Twitter shows even more detail in the icing) it was showstopping. I’m surprised he didn’t get Star Baker although it went deservedly to Ian with his wonderful Sandwich de la Confiture box and perfect macarons.
Unfortunately last week’s Star Baker Marie was eliminated this week after some underbaked biscuits. It’s a shame that she went because Marie is clearly a competent baker but the complicated oven settings got to Marie. Dorret was near the bottom because of her up and down weekend and Alvin ran out of time to produce his biscuit box, serving a flat pack version.
Next week is bread and I’ll definitely be baking along with the signature, as the bakers make a quick bread. I’m still a huge fan of Mat and Sandy whose witty phrases and looks down the camera capture my heart. Come on Sandy, I want you or Mat to win!