The Great British Bakeoff: Burnout

GBBOFinal-2458445Previously on Great British Bakeoff: The Bakewells went to France in pastry with canapés, Charlotte royale, and opera cakes. Beca was sent packing, while Kimberly took home Star Baker.

Finals! And man, has this been in the news a lot lately or what? Between Raymond Blanc maybe spilling the beans and Paul Hollywood allegedly fancying Ruby (though he claims Kim’s more to his taste), I feel like there’s a new story every day. Do they really need the extra hype?

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The Great British Bakeoff: La Semaine Francaise

Kimberleys-Charlotte-Royale-1Previously on The Great British Bakeoff: Ruby whined and whined and was awarded with star baker for her dairy-free vegetable cake decorated to look like a garden. Christine’s guitar cake looked amazing, but apparently tasted lousy and she was sent on home.

It’s French week in the semifinals (I accidentally called last week the semis. Sorry about that.) and we’ve all got our favourites picked out now, right? I’m pulling for Kim. Her stuff always looks and sounds amazing.

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The Great British Bakeoff: Shut UP, Ruby!

Kimberleys-toadstool-butternut-squash-spiced-cakePreviously on The Great British Bakeoff: Frances’s fancy work won her star baker, while Glenn reached the end of the line and earned Paul’s derision for his unconventional puff pastry making technique.

It’s the semifinals, folks, and unlike last year, it’s all ladies. They arrive at the tent and suit up, ready to begin their baking weekend. These people must all be sooooo sick of pastry and desserts once the whole thing’s over.

Their first challenge is to make a loaf using unusual flour: chestnut, spelt, whatever, as long as it’s not wheat. Off they go. Paul tells us that every flour has a different gluten level, which can affect anything—rise, flavor, texture. Most of them are using spelt flour. I love spelt flour, but it has a weak gluten structure, so you have to be ready for that. Frances is making a tear-and-share loaf made to look like a bouquet of flowers, decorated with honeycomb and bees. Ruby’s doing a mango and nigella seed spelt cob. Mmmm, sounds nice. She interviews that she’s bettered her stress management over the past few weeks.

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Great British Bakeoff: I Choux, Choux, Choooux-se You

Bake Off Frances cream horns.PNGPreviously on The Great British Bakeoff: Howard’s amazing looking peachy buns weren’t enough to keep him in the game, while Ruby’s whiny self-deprecation was rewarded with a scolding from Mary and the title of Star Baker for the week.

Sue and Mel start off by chatting about the seven deadly sins and how many of them we’ve already seen covered this series. All of them, it seems.

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Great British Bakeoff: Hot Buns!

Howards-peach-bunsPreviously on the Great British Bakeoff: It was biscuit week, with the Bakewells producing traybakes, tuiles, and cookie towers. Christine shone with a Bavarian clock made from shortbread, while Rob was sent on home.

Sue and Mel run down the immense amount of food they’ve already consumed, which is a bit mean to those of us at home. Now I want cake. Dammit.

In fake snooty accents, Mel and Sue tell us that the BBC has forbidden them from making puns about buns. Probably more because such puns were kind of crap. I’ll just leave you with that one.

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The Great British Bakeoff: Biscuit Fever

GBBO traybake.PNGPreviously on The Great British Bakeoff: Pies, pies everywhere! We had apple pie (lots of them), custard tarts, and phyllo. Kimberly was amazing (seriously, try her savoury phyllo pie—I just had it for dinner and it’s freaking fabulous) but Ali was sent home.

Mel and Sue chat about how Britons spend almost as much every year on biscuits as they do on fruit and veg. I’d believe it. Mostly because a lot of the biscuits over here are delicious. The Bakewells cheer for having made it to the halfway point, but also worry that the competition will get infinitely harder from here on out.

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Great British Bakeoff: Pie? Oh, My!

Kimberleys-winning-bacon-chicken-butternut-squash-and-tumeric-filo-pie-Previously on The Great British Bakeoff: Poor Howard had a terrible week as his custard got pinched and things kept just going wrong from there. He managed to hang on, though, and instead we lost Mark and Deborah. Ruby continued knocking it out of the park, but she was beaten out for Star Baker by Christine, who was flat-out amazing.

It’s tarts week, so feel free to insert your own very obvious joke there. Mel and Sue are wearing fake fat bellies and singing ‘who ate all the pies’. Heh. The Bakewells are welcomed to ‘a life of pie’ and reassured they won’t have to look after a tiger. They will have to do a double-crusted fruit pie for their signature bake. Mmmm, pie. It’s feeling like proper autumn here now, which is strangely putting me in a fruit pie mood. The apples are particularly fabulous this year, so now I want apple pie. Mmm, apple pie.

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Great British Bakeoff: Oh, it’s Just a Trifle

how_to_make_trifle_89033_16x9Previously on The Great British Bakeoff: Ruby had an amazing turnaround while Lucy and her organic, homegrown boringness was sent packing.

It’s desserts week, which makes Christine happy, because she loves desserts. Presumably she wouldn’t be on this show if she didn’t, right? Sue welcomes the Bakewells back and tells them they’re starting off with trifles. Mmmm, trifle. Everyone’s super confident, but the VO tells us this is a test of multitasking as well as baking, because you need all these distinct layers of cake, some sort of jam-like thing, and custard, all of which need to be made separately and assembled. Paul tells us it’s hard to keep all the layers separate, which I’ve never found, and Mary says most trifles are pretty soft all the way through.

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The Great British Bakeoff: Let Them Eat Cake!

gbboAwwww, yeah! It’s the Great British Bakeoff, everybody! I don’t know quite what it is about this particular cooking show, but I’m super hooked. Actually, I do think I know what it is. It’s just charming. People screw up, and they make some truly inspired stuff. The presenters aren’t too serious—they make lame jokes and laugh at their lameness, and we have Mary’s nice grandmotherly routine to balance out Paul’s tendency to sneer and be sarcastic. And you get the sense that there’s some actual support for the bakers, from each other and from Sue and Mel, which is a nice break from the cutthroat attitudes you see on most other cooking and baking shows. I can’t recall ever having seen a person on the show who was clearly cast to be the ‘villain’ character. It’s refreshing. Plus, I always learn something (actually, often several things) and get seriously inspired by the recipes. These people know their stuff. And the tent where they hold the thing is decorated rather adorably in a way that strikes me as so charmingly British. Not realistic British, British like out of a magazine, but still, cozy and a bit kitchy. Charming.

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