GBBO Series 7: Episode 8 review
By Izzy Brimeau
Season seven’s quarter final saw the five remaining contestants face yet another first – Tudor week. After the seriously exhilarating ‘firsts’ that we’ve seen so far, I was apprehensive to say the least. Why don’t they just stick to the classics?
The signature challenge: hot water crust pies
A Tudor classic – 12 hot water crust pies with savoury fillings and only three hours from start to finish. Easy as pie, right? Wrong. Mary and Paul being Mary and Paul expected pies fit for a king. The pie had to, of course, have the right filling-to-pastry ratio and the filling itself had to be firm enough that it held together when cut.
There was a bit of a pie fiasco in the tent as the bakers tried to out-do each other with over-the-top and unusual pues. Andrew pulled out the big guns and threw around words like Da Vinci (I was confused too). True to style, Candice created two different sets of pies – macaroni cheese and ox cheek and oyster. Benjamina took a less than traditional path with Mexican-inspired flavours and Selasi joked about bribing Mel for more time, though still remained cool, calm and collected.
The contestants became more panicked by the minute – especially Benjamina who had some sort of brain malfunction trying to decide where in the oven to place her second tray of pies. Top shelf? No, bottom shelf. No, no try shove them in the middle shelf with the rest. No, pop them on the top shelf – oh, but they’ll burn there. Close the door Benji love, the hot air is escaping and so is your place in the quarter final.
Jane survived Paul’s awkward pie squeezing and was complimented on her lovely pastry colour and the layering of her fillings, “first rate” Mary applauded. Candice’s pies were not so top-rate – the macaroni was underdone and so was the pastry (apparently causing trouble for Paul’s dentures). Selasi’s pies were in a sweet bouquet and the flavours didn’t disappoint, while Benjamina’s pies tasted lovely but they were a little underdone. It was Andrew that wowed us all with his mechanical structure, great pastry and the tasty addition of sausage meat in his filling.
The technical challenge: jumbles
Paul is a man of habit and once again tickled our brains by taking something simple – a biscuit – and making it outrageously complex – putting a knot in it. He gave the bakers this helpful advice: “follow the pattern carefully”, burnt them with his crystal blue eyes, then exited the tent.
Upon hearing the task, to make jumbles’ the bakers look perplexed. Selasi looked even more hard done by as he loomed over his pestle and mortar fit for a doll’s house. We bypassed his silly remark “not sure if the mixture should be bready or biscuity, well they’re biscuits so I guess biscuity…” but only ‘cause he’s so darn cute.
Andrew the engineer got technical, Candice became mathematically confused and Jane struggled repeatedly with her biscuit shaping – it was knot looking good.
It only went from bad to worse for Jane as the judges explained that her jumbles were packed in too close and too pale in colour – she took last place. Benji’s shapes were unusual and the double knot underdone, Selasi was only points ahead with his almost-cooked bakes. Andrew took second place with good bakes and flavour on his side but it was Candice that won the challenge with her monstrous, but correct, jumbles.
The showstopper challenge: a marzipan centrepiece (or marchpane)
A marzipan centrepiece is most definitely not the stuff dreams are made of. But apparently it was all the rave in Tudor times – Berry said “the more elaborate the better” oh you would, wouldn’t you.
Everyone looked a bit apprehensive about this week’s showstopper and both Benjamina and Jane thought this could be the challenge to end them.
Jane went the classical way with swans, Andrew decided on a jousting knights marchpane, Benjamina went for a maze garden and Selasi channelled his inner history knowledge and created a fruity Tudor marchpane. Candice took the challenge to new levels, once again, with a multi-layer coloured sponge cake with a marzipan peacock tail.
Jane’s genoise sponge was lovely, delicate and Paul thought it tasted amazing.
Andrew’s jousting knights looked more like thrusting knights and all round very clumsy. Let’s just say they looked happier to see Mary, than she looked to see them.
Benjamina’s maze garden did not amaze and Mary commented “you’d have to be very thin” to get through – good thing your such a tiny human then.
Candice’s peacock creation wowed us all “you ticked all the boxes, and then some – exceptional’ said Paul (probably the nicest thing he’s ever said). And last, but not least, Selasi’s cake could have done with a little longer but the crown was good – just a little messy.
Much to our surprise (not really) star baker was awarded to Candice – for once, more actually was more. Unfortunately with every star baker, there is a baker with the least amount of stars. I sat on the edge of the couch, goosebumps rippling up and down my spine as I worried that the smooth operator Selasi may be heading home. Relief washed over me as Selasi was deemed safe, though sadly that meant Benjamina was heading home – I really thought she had it in her to win this year.
Violins played in the background as Selasi spoke warmly of his friendship with Benjamina and I went for the box of tissues.
Episode nine will bring us the semi final where we will see the last four bake their way through patisserie week for a place in the final. Who will rise to the challenge and who will crumble under the pressure?