Spanische Windtorte, brulee and cheesecake – what did the team make of Dessert Week on The Great British Bake Off?
Alice: I’m feeling rather conflicted about the departure of Sandy this week. On the one hand: she was by far one of the funniest bakers. And it’s a shame that being able to personify the perfect wobble on a crème brûlée is no guarantee of being to create it in baking form. On the other hand: putting liquorice in anything is pretty unforgiveable in my book. Is it me or are cheesecakes a pretty mundane choice for a showstopper? Maybe the judges/researchers are running out of options for challenges: crème brûlées and cheesecakes just seem to be custard in different forms and whilst Mary’s Technical Challenge of the Spanische Windtorte looked pretty, no one seemed to have given much thought to the fact that 2 different types of meringue LOOK IDENTICAL ON TV, making the “challenge” pretty one-dimensional visually. Except for those weird violets.
Sophie: NOOOOO NOT SANDY! For me she’s been the absolute star of bake-off so far this year. Not her in terms of her actual bakes, obviously. They were largely pretty useless, but no other contestant comes close when it comes to hilarious one liners, sounding comfortingly like my mum and generally looking like she’s having a bloody good time regardless of what cutting remark Paul might make about her slightly wonky creations.
Admittedly she very nearly lost my support this week when she announced her plans to ruin the greatest dessert ever created with a hideous liquorice base. But then she compared her brûlée to her backside and pulled a terrible impression of David Attenborough out of the bag and I just couldn’t stay mad any longer. Sandy you will be very much missed from my Wednesday evenings, thank you for putting West Yorkshire on the map. Where I come from we never turn down cake, no matter how wrong and broken it may look.
I suppose the only consolation is that my place in the office sweepstake is looking safe with ‘school swat’ Ian, but even for me Star Baker for three weeks in a row seemed a tad excessive. Tamal was robbed.
Graeme: I had a lot of mixed feelings about last night’s GBBO. Poor Alvin completely fell apart but it all seemed to come down to timings, so I think if he gets his watch fixed he’ll be back on his usual top form next week.
Sandy was robbed (and so was I, I had her in the sweepstake).
Also, savoury cheesecake. What even is that? I love cheesecake and I love savoury things but both in a single mouthful? Witchcraft.
Jemima: Bake-off has officially become the highlight of my week. I think I need to get out more . . .
But seriously, it’s so fun. Who doesn’t enjoy an hour of watching other people sweat it out over meringue and feel anxious that their three-tier cheesecake monolith isn’t intricate enough. The worst that can happen is a crème brûlée without the right wobble! It’s just so feel good. We’re still in the ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ stage. There are some clear leaders – Ian, obviously. But I also rate Tamal, Flora and Paul. I was very sad to lose Sandy. She was never going to win, but she provided some serious comedy value.
Next week looks excellent. They had a clip of the customary melting cake being scooped up frantically from the fridge. Excellent.
Julia: There was certainly a lot of cream going on in Dessert Week. The crème brûlée signature challenge certainly proved an issue for almost everyone (why did all the bakers have to use fruit? Any fruit just seemed to ruin the brûlée), but the challenge was worth it as the source of a lot of good wobble-chat. The Spanische Windtorte seems a bit of a desperate stretch to find something that the bakers were unlikely to have ever made or even seen. What happened to the good old days when the bakers just had to make an eclair? Oh sorry, that would be pastry week. I did feel so sorry for Alvin though and Paul’s remark that his meringue looked like something his mother would make. Although who knows, maybe that was a compliment. But to be fair it did have the yellowed look of something that has been in the cupboard a few months longer than it should have been.
Who knew a tower of cheesecakes could be such a fantastically ornate and beautiful thing? They all seemed great (apart from poor Sandy, she really struggled to thoroughly bake anything custard-y). I liked the sound of Ian’s flavours, (as did Mary – my favourite moment of the week), but I thought Tamal and Nadiya really did steal the show. Tamal especially. Yes, he is still my favourite. Paul had another flash of brilliance this week but still not enough to steal that star baker crown from Ian. Three weeks in a row is ridiculous.