What’s the collective noun for chocolate? A richness, a cluster… a migraine? Whatever it is, there’s no shortage tonight, as the semi-final devotes itself to this beloved ingredient.
Our quirky quartet looks a nervous bunch. Having endured the challenges of eight weeks, this is the one with a potential pass to the final. You can feel the fear.
Now, I think series six has been comparatively prescriptive, often leaving limited room for creativity, and this week’s signature bake is no exception. It must be a chocolate tart, with chocolate pastry and a chocolate filling. Mary is relishing the challenge with the seasoned sneer of a Bond villain. She says she expects ‘impeccable’ and ‘brilliant’. Fortunately, to the huge relief of our semi-finalists, she doesn’t expect anyone to die. Paul disagrees - any mistake will be fatal.
Tamal cuts through the richness of this death by chocolate with a layer of raspberry coulis and adds crunch with pecan praline. Paul reminds me of my late great Uncle Walt, who frequently had to ask his wife, “Do I like this, Olive?” He ponders ponderously if he approves of Tamal’s offering then decides he does.
Ian is infusing his salted caramel with bay leaves. Neither Mary nor Paul looks convinced by this foliate contribution and plant him in the danger zone.
Nadiya is also salting up her caramel, adding peanut butter, and truffles rolled in peanut dust. Mary reveals she’s not a peanut fan. She’s probably not a dust fan either. Then she tastes it… and smiles, the sun comes out, bluebirds take flight and all’s right with the world. We know this is one very classy tart when Paul bestows another Hollywood Handshake.