GBBO Season 7: Episode 5 review

GBBO Season 7: Episode 5 review

by Dayna McAlpine

Can you believe we are HALFWAY through Bake Off already? Who knows where the last five weeks have gone, it feels like ex-builder Lee was booted off years ago. This week the bakers attempted to get to grips with pastry and it felt like tension was the only thing rising as bakes were presented undercooked, timings were completely off and in the case of engineering student Andrew, ovens weren’t even turned on.

The signature challenge: breakfast pastries
The stuff of Danish dreams – these pastries had to be, you guessed it, uniform with 12 savoury and 12 sweet creations expected. I was desperate to gp to bed watching this challenge just so I could get to breakfast sooner, well, that is until the finished products rolled out.

The look of Tom’s practically dehydrated granola swirls had my mouth drier than the Sahara, “the taste is similar to when you get to the milk at the end of a bowl of cereal” Paul even refused to try the raw savoury creations, safe to say that it’s gone downhill rapidly for Tom since that sacred Hollywood handshake.

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Speaking of dry, Rav get it together! Despite trying to play it safe (and who can blame him) Paul described his super crispy pastries as “bread with bits” and he also presented one sad looking bit of dough, hanging limply off of the side of his basket, that he somehow forgot to bake. Last weeks star baker Benjamina’s efforts floated in a pool of butter and smooth operator Selasi offered up undercooked flavourless attempts.

No ones maths made any sense, Candice felt like “pooing” herself, Val had her dental floss out and it felt like Jane was the only one to really to triumph with her perfect cinnamon swirls. For a challenge that begun with a generous three and a half hours, it was a flaky start to pastry week (sorry).

The technical challenge: Bakewell tart
A classic layered bake with Mary looking for “sheer perfection”. Ever-chirpy Rav had masses to prove in this challenge; he’s been at the bottom of three technical challenges out of four so far (eeeep) and there was much debate amongst Selasi and Rav over the age factor making in their ability to create a good bakewell tart, suggesting that some of the more, ahem, mature ladies had an advantage. We agree with Jane, “it’s classic and classy” boys, get on with your baking.

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However, baking a bakewell well (say that five times fast) proved to be struggle. I was sure Val had this one, she even went through the challenge without realising there was another page of instructions and claimed to make a bakewell every single week, oh yeah you got this Val… But alas, it was not to be – she had a much-dreaded soggy bottom. Not to worry Val, bottom place was reserved for Rav… Again.

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It was a close call between a tearful Candice (who was channelling her grandma) and Jane for a second time this episode, with Jane snatching the crown. You could tell Jane was upping her competitiveness; she clearly wants to join the so far female dominated star baker (3 out of 4) line up of the season. Play it cool all you like Jane, we know you’re gunning for it.

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Oh, and a quick reminder before we move on; always make sure the oven is on, eh Andrew?

The showstopper challenge: Filled filo pastry amuse-bouche
It was clear that the showstopper was going to dictate who out of Jane and Candice was going to take star baker – they were already miles ahead of the pack. With 48 filo pastries to make, 24 sweet and 24 savoury, this was a chance for Rav and Benjamina (star bakers curse; you do well one week and crash the next) to save themselves.

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As the bakers were required to create tiny delicate amuse-bouches with the most delicate pastry of all time, the tent descended into silence bar the occasion innuendo from Candice.

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Val got busy with a broom handle, Candice opted for a pasta roller to get her pastry nice and thin and with 45 minutes to go, and I didn’t want to speak too soon, Rav’s Asian-spiced showstoppers looked amazing. Be still my beating heart, Selasi steps in to help Jane with her tumbling filo cones.

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Benjamina snatched back her safety with impressing Paul and Mary with her tiny chai amuse-bouches and Rav’s spiced white chocolate filo samosas had Mary saying, “It’s just the sort of surprise I like before a meal.” As expected, neither of the judges quite got Tom’s chocolate-coated meat and Val had a disaster with pastry that was “more like shortcrust than filo.” We all knew what the outcome was going to be as she teared up while Paul and Mary delivered their critiques.

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If only Jane had made her cones just a little smaller she would have walked away with star baker and didn’t she know it as she declared “star baker, star baker” as Candice presented her black pudding balls and banoffee parcels to a beaming Paul and Mary. Oooh, struck a nerve have we Jane? And, true to predictions, Candice left with star baker for a second time.

A nation wept as eccentric aerobic-loving, cake-singing, tea-swilling Val’s time came to an end. How are we meant to go on without the chaos she brought with her every week? Tumbling statues of liberty, broom handles as rolling pins and piping bags aggressively swung as though she were attempting a hammer throw. After narrowly missing elimination three times already, we begrudgingly accept that this was her time to go. Don’t even get us started on that leaving speech:

“You’re giving it to people so you do the best you can and make bake with love. Whenever I make anything, I stir love into it and I knead love into it so when I present it, it’s special. Of course I was disappointed but you have to just go with it. Somebody has got to have a soggy bottom, so it might as well be me.”

Sob. With the first ever botanical (?) week looming and after this week’s performances, it’s safe to say that some of the bakers are going to have to rely on more than flower power to stay in the competition.

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