Previously on The Great British Bake Off: We’ve had dough week, but then there was advanced dough week, which meant filled sweet breads and doughnuts. Once again, Richard rocked, while Martha’s overproved doughnuts sealed her fate.
Mel and Sue welcome us back for the semifinal. Semifinal already! They adopt strange fake French accents because it’s patisserie week.
Luis interviews that, at this point, the judges are going to be super critical. Unlike the total pussycats they’ve been up until now. Chetna can’t wait to get in and start baking this week. Nancy says that one side of her wouldn’t be too disappointed if she left now, having made it this far, while the other side is telling her to buck up and get to the final. Richard’s just trying to keep the momentum going.
Previously on the Great British Bakeoff: Pastry, pastry everywhere. Richard won star baker for the third time while Martha just managed to squeak by and Kate got sent home.
It’s the quarterfinals, folks! I really feel like this is anyone’s game. I think Nancy’s very likely to make it to the finals (unless she massively screws up this week), but as for the others, I feel like it could be anyone.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: It was European cakes week, and the Bakewells were tasked with yeast-leavened cake, princess torte, and towering dobos tortes. Paul and Mary apparently had the decision-making ability of that idiotic woman from the Better Together commercial and couldn’t agree on who to send home, so they just kept everyone.
Pastry week, people. Get your hot water boiling and your rough puff folding!
Kate’s really excited about the good weather and the singing birds. Mary’s wearing an epically ugly jacket.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: After the Great Baked Alaska drama, we had a return to form as the bakers settled down and made some crazy custards, pears, and three-tiered pies. Kate came out on top, and Norman was finally sent packing after trying to go risky by making the most disgusting-sounding meringue in history.
It’s European cakes week (I guess when it comes to pastry Britain isn’t considered part of Europe), and in a send-up of Eurovision, Mel and Sue put on bad accents to welcome us. I have no idea what Sue’s accent is supposed to be. American? Dutch? Dutch-American?
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: Some hateful producers forced the Bakewells to make ice cream-based desserts on the hottest day of the year with two freezers completely non-functional. Diana apparently took Iain’s dessert out of the freezer and just left it sitting out, which naturally turned it into a Lake Alaska (courtesy: Sue). In a fit of pique, Iain binned it and was unceremoniously sent off by Paul and Mary.
It’s dessert week, and to start off, they need to make a self-saucing pudding. Eight of them, actually. They get started. Paul says the key thing with these is to keep the sponge light, so it bakes fast. Mary adds that the sauce needs to have some texture and the right consistency.
Luis admits that puddings aren’t his strength and he finds them kind of risky, what with the sponge plus moisture.
Biscuits! The Bakewells parade into the tent while Mel and Sue crack fortune cookies and use them to slag each other off. Bakewells are welcomed back and given their signature challenge: savoury biscuits. 36 of them. They need to go well with cheese. In Sue’s words, ‘they need to be cheesier than an Abba tribute band at an all-night fondue party.’ Heh. Paul and Mary discuss various types of biscuits and their characteristics: water crackers need a snap, digestives need a crumble.
This happens every year. I settle down to watch the Great British Bakeoff and happily spend an hour absorbing images and descriptions of deliciousness, thinking vaguely, at some point, ‘oh, it’d be nice to have a bit of cake/tart/giant croquembouche.’ And somehow, within 24 hours (typically more like 12 hours) that desire becomes an all-consuming need, and by the time my husband gets home from work the next day we’ve got something cooling on the countertop while I’m frantically beating icing or melting caramel and our son’s giving his dad a look that says, ‘I dunno, dad, she’s been muttering about proper sponge consistency all day. I think she may have a problem.’
But at least we grownups get cake at the end of it.