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Great British Bake Off 2013, The Quarter-Finals

Great British Bake Off 2013, The Quarter-Finals

by Urvashi Roe Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baking “without” was this week’s theme on Great British Bake Off. We saw wheat free loaves, dairy free cakes, and perhaps the most humour free episode too! Urvashi Roe, food writer and contestant from 2011, gives us a recap of what happened.

More from this series:

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

A little subdued in the tent this week I thought. I think all these ladies are quietly competitive. Or rather all except Beca and Kimberley. I think we are seeing their competitive streaks portrayed with the lingering looks over shoulders.

The Signature Bake – An Unusual Flour Bake

The bakers had to make a loaf using an unusual flour – rye, rice, spelt and the like. Paul advised us that all these unusual flours have different properties and gluten levels which effect the rise and the bakes.

I think it was a bit of a dull challenge for this stage in the competition and all the contestants did well to be creative.

Ruby opted for Spelt Loaf with Mango and Nigella seed. Her loaf looked very similar to Lucy’s Cob at the start of the series so I was a little fearful it would be too simple for the judges. I loved Beca’s Spelt, Potato and Rosemary Focaccia.

Christine prepped a Multi Seed, Multi Flour Loaf using tapioca and rice flour. The stunners for me were Kimberley and Frances. Kimberley’s Couronne with Wild Garlic Pesto and Parma Ham. I’m a veggie but I loved the styling and layers she managed to achieve.

Frances went all floral inspired with her Apricot flavoured, Chelsea Flour Daisy shaped, tear and share loaf and I think she should have orders flooding in for it. Looked delicious!

Kimberley was the only one to receive negative feedback. Her layering was impeccable but Paul had issues with her texture which was “all wrong” and “dry”. High praise was showered on everyone else despite hiccups they feared. Christine’s loaf stuck but was praised for it’s overall look and flavour. Ruby’s Loaf was underproved and underbaked but Mary commended the flavour.

Frances beamed as her style and substance won the round of baking.

A Not Very Tricky Technical Challenge

For the judge free challenge, the bakers were asked to prepare one of Mary’s recipes for Dacquoise which is a dessert from South West France. I think the contestants all looked like they were being challenged but were secretly rejoicing as they seemed to find it all a bit easy. They seemed to sail through the areas highlighted as problematic.

Mousses and custards looked luscious but firm for spreading. Nuts seemed to be chopped to the right size so they wouldn’t make the meringue oily and deflate. Some even roasted them off to get rid of the oil. There were no baking times given but these seasoned pros seemed to know what they were doing pulling out rings of meringue that looked rather perfect on screen.

Perfect except Christine. Christine’s bases did not crisp up but instead were chewy which Mary pointed out was due to being baked too quickly vs letting the meringue dry out. Uh oh. One bad bake is all it takes to be on that danger list

Dacquoise
Mousses and custards looked luscious but firm for spreading. Nuts seemed to be chopped to the right size so they wouldn’t make the meringue oily and deflate.
Tear and share loaf
Frances went all floral inspired with her Apricot flavoured, Chelsea Flour Daisy shaped, tear and share loaf and I think she should have orders flooding in for it. Looked delicious!

A Creative Dairy Free, Veggie Showstopper

Finally something a little challenging this week. The bakers were asked to create a novelty cake which was completely dairy free and made using a vegetable base. Brilliant challenge. A flavoursome cake but also a really great opportunity to showcase different techniques for decorating. The only ones who seemed to seize this were Ruby, albeit unknowingly, and Kimberley. Christine’s Sweet Potato Cake with Passionfruit Icing did not make me want to get my apron on and start baking. Seemed a very odd combination that I would not have chosen in a tearoom but her decoration was fantastic and so I may have been tempted to go for it based on looks.

Frances had a brilliant allotment themed idea with a beetroot and chocolate cake base that looked tremendous but I knew Mary would be all critical of her use of terracotta pots vs homemade ones and indeed she was. I think Frances went too simple and that’s a real shame as her style and usually creative little ideas could have won the day on this one.

Beca’s butternut squash based cheeseboard creation was visually fantastic but did not showcase her tremendous skill set. The judges agreed with this with Paul saying it was too simple and also noting that the cake was bland. I think he was a bit harsh with that word. It’s the worst word to hear from a food judge but added at the beginning of ‘all the way through’ must have really hurt. Poor Beca.

Kimberley used butternut squash too but shaped her cake into a toadstool inspired by family memories. It was a great toadstool. Looked straight out of Alice in Wonderland and my girls are going to hound me all weekend to make it. Thanks for that Kimberley!

Ruby outdid herself this week. Her workstation was a mess so it was rather hard to see beyond this but her little shed with its praline roof and chocolate walls was cute and completely edible. She also had different techniques presented in the pistachio grassed garden using sugar work, chocolate and fresh ingredients. A few edible flowers would not have gone amiss though. All ticked Mary’s boxes and won her Star Baker again.

Farewell Christine

This was rather unexpected as she’s been so strong going into the quarter finals but based on the bakes she presented I think the judges made the right decision this week. I hope she’s remembered for her stunning Pina Colada Trifle and matter of fact approach to everything. She was the one person who seemed utterly unphased by the stress of it all. I’m sure this is far from the truth but it was brilliant to watch her in action. Good luck Christine!

 
 
 

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