Welcome to week seven of The Great British Bake Off and it turns out… this week is Custard Week. Cream?! They really give the viewer the Bird’s.
Alright, we’re three-quarters through the contest now, and it’s clear bakers are still reeling from the events of Halloween week.
“Last week was amazing,” Syabira says, telling the camera that she hopes everyone gets their turn to be Star Baker now. All together now: aww.
Needless to say, the bakers are all slightly nervous about the challenge ahead: Abdul says his confidence is around the average level, while Sandro struggles to think of relevant baking beyond the humble slice of custard.
“I love making custard,” Kevin says, while Maxy is less enthusiastic. “I thought custard was just custard.” Me too Maxy.
Paul and Prue are quick to jump in the deep end: what they are looking for are apparently “floating islands”.
Wondering what they are? Apparently, they are poached meringues floating on a sea of custard. Cue a litany of float jokes, as you’d expect from the Bake Off tent.
“It kinda reminds me of baby food,” Maxy says as she begins. Luckily, its floating islands seem decidedly tastier than that, incorporating hefty dollops of blueberry puree into its custard offering.
Syabira, meanwhile, coats her meringues with mint sand and flavors her custard with lime zest and rum. It’s basically a mojito in a dessert. “Only mojito lovers can live on mojito island,” she says to the camera, before saying, “Judges are going to be crushed.”
It sounds like heaven – as is the offering from Janusz, who reinvents his floating islands in vanilla lattes, and Sandro, who also adds brandy and prosecco to his Black Forest custard. And Kevin adds prosecco to his meringue – clearly, they’ve all figured out Prue’s weakness.
As the bakers begin to prepare the custard, nerves begin to crumble – the risk of scrambling the eggs is apparently high – and when it comes time to make the meringues, Paul begins to prowl the tent, eyeing the bakers with a look that makes Janusz’s hands shake.
Then disaster strikes – Kevin underwhipped his meringues and they fell apart mid-pocket. Without more time, he applies the soggy results to his custard, but they were never going to top Paul and Prue and their judgment is brutal. Although the prosecco custard is delicious, the meringues have disintegrated and the general consensus is that everything is a little runny.
“At the bottom of a pretty good group, it’s a good place to be,” he says philosophically.
The floating desert islands of Syabira, meanwhile, are compared to “fried chicken, sitting in bechamel sauce” by Paul, but its flavors are, as always, hailed as outstanding. The same goes for Janusz, whose latte islands are pronounced delicious.
On the technical side, Noel and Matt reveal a new twist on the formula: staggered start and end times for bakers. When Sandro is singled out for being the first up, he looks more like a rabbit in the headlights.
As Noel and Matt tell him, they will make pistachio and praline ice cream cones, topped with pistachio and praline ice cream. Where’s the cream in there?
“To make great ice cream, you have to be able to make great custard,” Prue says wisely, before it turns out that the ice cream will actually be made with custard.
The tent is very quiet as things get going. “I feel like I’ve been summoned to the naughty tent,” Syabira said as she took her place. Noel and Matt are really milking this – and when Abdul, the Last Baker, announces that it’s even the first time he’s seen an ice cream mixer, you really feel for him.
But the tent waits for no one, and soon bakers are adding their freezer-prepared custards to the ice cream maker, waiting to see if the resulting mixture is thick and cold enough to set.
The second part of the challenge is to make the cones, using a fake-hot waffle iron to cook the dough before it’s shaped.
“Something is burning,” says Maxy – and that something turns out to be Abdul’s waffle. It’s a disaster, and that’s before he burns the second.
As the stress level peaks, Syabira then discovers that England’s freezers aren’t as cold as they should be, having been previously heated by the cream – meaning their ice cream might not harden in time.
While she’s stressing out, Sandro’s time is up, and his cones are picked up by Noel to be delivered straight into the hands of Paul and Prue, who have settled down at a table at the head of the tent (not facing the bakers, of course). sure ). And exhale: his offerings are delicious.
Meanwhile, melting ice cream seems to be the main problem for the other bakers: Janusz’s ice cream is dripping from the cones, as are Kevin’s and Syabira’s. Maxy’s ice cream is ready, but her pastry is called “mean” for only having one scoop.
Last up is Abdul, who has to endure the stares of the other finished bakers for his last five minutes, before his wafers are declared too burnt. And at the moment of judgment, the usual order is reversed: Syabira and Janusz are the last, while Sandro emerges victorious.
“It’s terrible, I’m disappointed,” Syabira says, but adds, “There’s always a rainbow after the rain.”
The rainbow in this case is the showstopper, which is a cream cake, a layer of cream and cake in a tiered confection that seems very difficult to pull off with what is essentially a jelly.
As Paul and Prue spoke lyrically of the delights of custard, the bakers got to work. What they are looking for is lots of colors and flavors, so naturally Syabira is ready to serve up their usual flavor pairings: today the recipe is the pina colada. There’s a lot of rum in it, of course.
Meanwhile, Janusz uses potato starch in his limoncello-soaked sponge (apparently this helps lighten it), while Abdul goes off-piste entirely doing a yarrow, which makes the judges all gooey – especially Paul, whose recipe he uses. On the other side of the tent, Kevin whips up a staggering three liters of yellow stuff for his three-tiered Valentine’s Day cake.
And the surprises don’t stop there: as we find out, Sandro and Maxy bake their cakes in honor of deceased loved ones.
It’s a very sweet moment, but to save time, Sandro also explains that he makes his custards (vanilla, coffee and mango) in the microwave. Paul’s blue eyes narrow slightly: a harbinger if there ever was one.
Over time, various incidents related to the cream begin to occur. Maxy’s refuses to settle (a sign of the seriousness of the situation, Paul intervenes to solve the problems); Neither does Kevin, while Abdul has to redo his slightly grainy cream for fear of the judge’s taste buds.
What follows is a very agonizing five minutes as the bakers attempt to assemble their wonky cakes before the time limit. And sadly, Kevin’s three-tiered showstopper becomes a victim as the cake begins to fall apart – but in a nice display of fellow Bake-Off sentiment, Maxy, Janusz and Syabira step in to help him dress up what rest.
When the hour of judgment begins, Abdul’s millefeuille gets a boost, but Syabira steals the show with a cake that deserves the most heartfelt “Bravo” I’ve ever seen Paul give.
However, Janusz’s offer doesn’t quite cross the bar. “Custard is more like wallpaper paste,” says Paul. Ouch – and Maxy has the opposite problem. Although his cake is delicious, he doesn’t celebrate the custard, and what little there is, Prue explains, didn’t take.
And of course there is Kevin. Although the honey, thyme and berry cream is delicious, as Paul says, “it’s a shame it looks messy.”
In the end, Syabira’s showstopper nets him the Star Baker award, when perhaps inevitably it’s Kevin who goes home at the end of the week, as even the custard wasn’t enough to save him. . Despite her tears, there is one more: Prue’s admiration.
“I will be sad to see Kevin go but this cream will stay with me for the rest of my life. I will go home and do it,” she said.
Not bad – and next week we’re going full steam ahead with Pastry Week. Roll on real baking!
The Great British Bake-Off airs on Channel 4 at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays