GBBO series 7: Episode 4 review
By Izzy Brimeau
As the weeks go on and the contestants diminish – the challenges become more and more intricate and it just gets batter and batter… well that’s what we had hoped for. Was anyone else a little bit bored? I mean, maybe it was the first batter week for a reason.
This week had our favourite bakers sweating it about the small stuff. Isn’t it strange that something as simple as a Yorkshire pudding can crush someone’s hopes and dreams? Well that’s GBBO for you – they don’t beat around the bush –so 8pm arrived and it was time to batter up and play ball!
The signature challenge: Yorkshire puddings
The contestants had to create a mere 24 identical Yorkshire puddings –perfect in shape and size.
A classic, a simple side dish, an add-on to a roast dinner – that’s all it is. Come on, be honest – that’s what you were thinking. It’s what I thought too. But alas, we were all very, very wrong.
I felt sense of worry for Jane as she exclaimed that she’s never found a Yorkshire pudding recipe that works. The worry then turned to urgency as she wasted time by comparing hers to Selasi’s better bake. The judges loved her idea of the roast, with all the trimmings but the Yorkshire itself didn’t follow through. “But, it was a Yorkshire pudding round and that’s what’s let you down” Mary commented (thanks for that Mary, we weren’t aware).
Val seemed to be on better form this week with her mother’s recipe – I’m guessing her mum was a better baker. She was so worried she wouldn’t be let back into Yorkshire that she knelt in front of the oven for an alarmingly long time. Despite the watchful eye, her puds still came out in different sizes. Thank god for great flavour and texture – looks like Val will be allowed back after all.
Tom didn’t get the ‘the denser it gets, the harder it is to rise’ memo with his pancake flat puds. Paul Hollywood was less than amused and described Tom’s attempt as having the texture of a biscuit.
Selasi matched GBBO’s first ever batter week with a first of his own – crackling! There were compliments all round “crackling is beautiful but we’ve only got a little chap here and a whopping one here” Mary giggled. In other news: Selasi has a girlfriend – cue hearts breaking.
The technical challenge: lace pancakes
Lace and pancakes are not something I’d choose to think about together. One would eat pancakes (not in lace) and wear lace (not after eating pancakes) – or not wear lace at all if you happen to be Candice. Perhaps not as sultry as we all thought.
Paul Hollywood insisted that each contestant provide 12 lace pancakes, and because it’s Bake Off, they had to be identical. He then proceeded to use every adjective under the sun for how they should look.
Selasi didn’t add any extra sugar – after all, he’s sweet enough. Unfortunately though, that didn’t work in favour for our favourite fella and he ended up 8th.
Despite Andrew’s nervous giggling, worries and change in pattern he ended up 4th.
Benjamina knocked it out the park with her test pancake and, while I shook my head at her overly intricate design, she pulled it off and took 1st place.
Rav thought his test pancake was bad and proceeded to drop it on the floor – boy did he have regrets after he burnt his first proper pancake. There was no comeback for Rav and he ended up bottom of the table at 9th place.
The showstopper challenge: churros
The big moment we’d all been waiting for, the final decider, the wow-factor – the showstopper. This week the judges requested 36 – wait for it – identical churros.
Churros don’t exactly shout extreme bake. “Simple street food to be made into a magnificent showstopper” is what Mary asked for, and I can’t exactly say that’s what Mary got. I mean what were you thinking Mary? It’s a little uninspiring.
The contestant’s thoughts and feelings ranged from discomfort, to ignorance, to boasting. Jane pulled faces over the thought of batter (wake up love, it’s batter week). Candice told everyone she’s never even eaten churros (uh-oh), and Rav boasted about his travels around Asia and decided to make matcha tea churros – I literally cannot think of a worse flavour.
There were a few embarrassing moments: frail old Val struggled with the stirring of the batter, Andrew almost popped a vein trying to pipe his churros and Kate went with a rabbit-like churros creation.
Selasi’s lemon and anise churros cups were fried from frozen and came out burnt with a raw middle. By the way did anyone else witness that tension between Paul and Selasi?
Val’s orange churros (it’s not Terry’s – it’s Val’s) were beautifully crispy but the sauce was too runny.
Tom went overboard with flavours and presentation (surprise, surprise) with his snake in the grass fennel seed churros – Paul commented, “wow” – in displeasure.
Mary kept telling people that their churros were impregnated which was both alarming and discomforting. Kate’s very sad and unfortunate looking rabbits were part of said impregnated crew.
Rav’s flavours were as I’d imagined (not great).
Jane’s churros with a pistachio and white chocolate filling surprised us all and were a hit!
It was Benjamina who stole the show, yet again, with her tear-shaped, tropical churros and both judges were thrilled – “they are absolutely beautiful,” said Paul while Mary applauded “well done you’ve cracked it”.
It was no surprise that Benjamina was awarded Star Baker with her lovely lacy pancakes and her tropical churros. But with good news comes bad news and week four saw Kate packing her bags to return home to her children and Brownie camp.
Tom stayed by the skin of his teeth and Rav reckons he’s a cat with nine lives but pastry week is next – who will make it through and who will buckle under the pressure of filo pastry?