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Great British Bake Off 2019: Patisserie Week

Great British Bake Off 2019: Patisserie Week

by Chetna Makan 23 October 2019

The semi-final is here, with four bakers vying for a place in the top three. Whose patisserie skills were up to the challenge? Chetna Makan fills us in.

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The past nine weeks have gone quick and somehow we’re at the Bake Off semi-final already. With it being Patisserie Week, this is the most challenging week in the tent so far this year – I think it’s always best to leave the hardest tasks until the end.

The bakers are asked to make eight elegant and beautifully decorated domed tarts for the showstopper. Of course, they need to be neat and identical as well. Everyone wears ties in homage to Henry, who we said goodbye to last week. In my opinion, I think he should have been there in the tent with them.

Alice makes mocha, hazelnut and orange tarts, which taste amazing with great flavours but she is let down by her piping skills. The tarts seemed pretty massive for a single portion and might have looked better if they were slightly smaller and delicate.

David makes aperitif tarts that look beautiful – I would happily buy one if I saw them in a shop. According to the judges they taste great too, with rhubarb adding a lovely finish.

Rosie makes lemon, raspberry and mint tarts and ends up with pretty looking bakes, a very soft crème pat and perfect jelly. Noel also mentions to Rosie that he is surprised to see her in the semi-final – I’m sure many of us are thinking exactly the same Noel!

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Steph makes raspberry, lemon and white chocolate tarts which don't look particularly neat. The mousse was too soft, though the flavours were good and the design was quite clever.

We then move on to the technical challenge, which this week requires the bakers to produce a Gateau St Honore. The rectangular bake is comprised of two layers of puff pastry, choux buns with caramel on top and filled with crème chiboust and chantilly cream.

Rosie, Steph and Alice all look very nervous and all over the place, while David remains calm (even though he has never made one before). Rosie has a disaster with her choux pastry failing to rise, so decides to start again. I’m very surprised to see her finish the bake on time, but she manages it. Even better, she places first!

Alice falls into last place – according to Paul, her bake has problems with the pastry, chantilly, chiboust and caramel, so basically everything is wrong.

The semi-final showstopper is a spectacular sugar glass display with a stunning bake inside. Rosie makes mini choux buns, mini brioche buns and a tartlet with a base, all different tones of brown, which I am not sure is stunning enough at this point in the competition.

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Alice makes an entremet cake, which looks beautiful and contains great flavours. The only thing I worry is how stressed Alice looks while baking; she is always very close to a meltdown, rushing around in panic.

Steph makes an opera cake which is neat, tidy and very ‘Steph-like’, according to Paul. Prue says she is a very good baker, which we can all see by now!

David makes a very neat and pretty greenhouse cake, but I agree with the judges that he needed to do a bit more. Yes there was a cake, but no other patisserie skills shown – a missed opportunity.

Alice and Steph do well and are safe, which means it is David and Alice who are in danger. This year one thing that has really surprised me is that even if the baker is first in the technical, it’s not necessarily enough to save them from the exit, which I don’t think is very fair. And so we have Rosie who is sent home after a disappointing showstopper, while Alice is crowned Star Baker. I really like all the bakers in the final, but I do wonder if it would have been a better, more entertaining final if we had bakers like Henry and Helena in it. We’ll have to see what they manage to create next week!

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