It’s week four: dessert week and not just in baking terms as Terry offered a sicknote and became, quite literally, the first deserter. To be fair to the moustache twirler, he’s probably seen the icing on the cake and realised that it might be a wise move to miss what turned out to be one of the most challenging weeks so far.
We rolled things off with a meringue roulade. Kim Joy made a ‘bedtime’ meringue (I’m quite partial to a bedtime Curly Wurly, which proper narks my wife as I scatter chocolate flakes all over her vintage quilt). Her dream-inspired meringue clouds turned out to be something of a nightmare, Ruby made a punchy pina colada number, Rahul was always onto a winner with his rhubarb and custard combo.
Jon used one of the oldest chef’s tricks in the book by describing his effort as “rustic”. “Rustic” meaning, as he pointed out, “being a bit rough”. See also gratinated, meaning “a bit burnt” and French-style meaning “totally cremated”. He also used spherification to create mango balls: I hate that nonsense and feel he should have been given a straight red just for that, however Paul is far more easily impressed than I and rewarded him with yet another, now devalued, handshake (Dan got another one too).
This week’s technical challenge was our Sunday tea time not-so-favourite: blancmange. Though French-monikered , there’s something very British about this set cornflour custard, which probably explains why Manon wobbled, and then she, and her blancmange, literally melted. Ruby produced beautiful langue du chat biscuits, despite not knowing what they were and, as hinted at in the opening scenes, Dan triumphed.
This week’s showstopper was just that: a giant chocolate globe, which melts as you pour hot sauce over, to reveal a dessert inside. Ask Italian do something similar with its Chocolate Etna and with far more success.
Judge Paul, whose complexion and colour looks mightily similar to a Spitting Image puppet, could hardly contain his glee at the difficulty of the task. Indeed, all of the presenters seem to be morphing in to life-size caricatures of themselves, I wait with anticipation as to what they will look like by the final: will Big Bird join them at the judging table?
We had masterpieces and disasters: Jon’s ballet cake, which he presented with both the cake and himself in a tutu, was worth a standing ovation and a bouquet. Manon’s fiendishly difficult white chocolate Faberge-like globe was a triumph, but for my money, Kim Joy’s Melting Chocolate Galaxy, complete with choux space turtles and cocktail umbrellas was one of the highlight of the series so far.
Noel described the scene as carnage as Blubbing Briony produced an explosion of blood orange which should have been given the working title “Accident on Ice” and quivering Rahul made a Gateau Opera unlike I’ve seen before (and I see around 800 a week from our pastry section at The Assembly House). Dan’s nozzle clogged, but despite this affliction, he finally won star baker. His daughter was distinctly unimpressed when he called to tell her, abandoning his call to go and play with a doll, instead.
The real winner this week was, however, undoubtedly Terry. Even the judges decided he probably would have been booted off, and he didn’t even cook anything! So all escaped and Briony and Karen, who were both teetering on the edge, live to bake another day. Although there’s been a warning of a double elimination next week, so unless Terry still has a sicknote, he needs to be on top of his baking game within seven days.