My Thoughts on Dessert Week

Dessert Week of Bake Off was full of wobble, French meringue, Swiss meringue and more wobble! There was enough wobble for Sandy to start wobbling out of the tent all the way back home and Ian to launch into unprecedented Bake Off heights as he stood on the apple and tarragon layer of his cheesecake to claim Star Baker for the third week in a row. This means he is the only baker in the tent who is Star Baker.

The Signature Challenge was to make 12 creme brûlée. I am not the biggest fan of creme brûlée and none of the flavours particularly excited me. I wasn’t won over, and neither was Mary, by Mat’s Coconut and Lime Brûlée or Sandy’s Pontefract Brûlée. But many of the bakers were criticised for their uneven or undercooked brûlée toppings. Nadiya and Tamal had well set custard and were well received by the judges for their flavour. In fact Sue liked Tamal’s brûlées so much that she took 6 of his brûlées! And credit must go to Mat and his “reasonably large ramekins”. The cheeky devil!

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The Technical Challenge was the Spanische Windtorte hailing from Austria. Of course! Discs and rings of French meringue are stacked and coated in more meringue, this time both French and Swiss and is filled with a fruit cream. Like many bakers said on Twitter, including myself, it’s just a glorified pavlova! Even so, the bakers did struggle with getting the Swiss meringue baked properly and overbaking the meringue leading to golden meringues as opposed to white. Even following a strict recipe, Sandy had her own interpretation of Mary’s instructions creating a Butterfly Spanische Windtorte as seen below. Flora, Ugne and Paul finished in the top 3, saving Paul from being near the bottom. But for Alvin, this was the second of a poor set of desserts.

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The Showstopper Challenge was a 3 tier cheesecake stack. Find my vanilla cheesecake recipe here!

Yep another challenge that I doubt many will attempt at home. This is without a doubt one of the hardest challenges ever. Getting the correct bake and set on the cheesecake in the time and stacking them was not easy yet some bakers seemed to flourish! Tamal, Nadiya, Ian and Mat, all of whom are fan favourites, wowed the judges with their cheesecakes.

Tamal’s was based on Mango, Hazelnut and Rosemary and he knew the technicalities of baking cheesecakes; if Tamal wasn’t the bookies’ favourite to win, I think you should start taking bets on him! Nadiya did her cheesecakes based on sodas, flavouring her cheesecakes with a homemade soda syrups which took 12 hours to reduce. She hit the current baking trend by suspending a soda can and having an Italian meringue foam fall out. Yeah no wonder why she’s one of the favourites! Mat did so well to save him from disaster with his chocolate bar flavoured cheesecakes. I have to say that peanut butter one would have been annihilated by myself. But Ian wowed the judges with his herb and spice cheesecakes, winning him Star Baker again! Will he ever stop?

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And it is so sad to see one of my all time favourite contestants depart the tent, not before giving Paul a cheeky old strangle! I loved her quips and her theory on the perfect wobble. There’s a Buzzfeed article that has all of my favourite Sandy-isms in there and she will be sorely missed, a Sandy-sized hole will be seen next week. And you know what, we never got to see her turn a cake into a meat pie…

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It’s Alternative Ingredient Week next week and I’m not sure I’ll be baking any of the challenges from a sugar-free cake to a gluten-free pitta or a dairy-free ice cream roll. I’ll stick to the normal versions thanks! I’m all baked out!

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