After the last episode’s left turn into historical baked creations, we find ourselves in the Top Five and the Quarter finals. For this year’s Quarter Finals the theme is Pâtisserie, with tea time show stoppers all around from the Signature straight through to the oddity creation that constitute’s this episodes Showstopper, with a name that is, appropriately, very French. Let’s have Sue and Mel stop staring at the clouds and get into it.
Our Top Five contests who are left are: Ian, winner of three Star Bakers over the course of the season, Nadiya who has two, Tamal, who has one, and Paul and Flora who are probably mad that Ian and Nadiya are hogging all the Star Baker credits. Paul at least has a special commendation. Flora has….The Anxious Over Kneeler of the Season trophy. As we can tell, it’s sort of obvious who is walking into the tent a favorite and who is walking in an underdog. Still, Ian has had more bad days than good recently, so anyone’s game, etc.
The three Pâtisserie, challenges this week are Cream Horn Signature, a Mokatine Technical and a Showstopper with the impossible to pronounce French name of Religieuse à l’ancienne. it’s so hard to pronounce, everyone spend the back half of the episode referring to everyone’s “Nuns.” It’s not as dirty as you think, I promise.
The Cream Horns are as dirty as you think though, at least is Sue’s mind. Americans might not know this, but during Series 5 the year before this one was filmed (That would be Season 1 for us here in the states) Sue came under fire for all those “erect biscuit” and “hot bap” jokes. that’s why when she introduces the Cream Horn challenge, she takes care to note that all the jokes she can’t do were disallowed by the BBC so she’s not doing them, wink wink.
This being the signature, the contestants are allowed to choose which sort of puff pastry they make from scratch: “rough puff” and “full” puff. “Rough” puff is merely the quick and dirty version without as much butter and not as much flaking. personally, I belong in Hufflepuff. (As does Mr. The Rock, so your arguments are invalid.) Interestingly enough those who full puff get lower marks than those who rough it, meaning their extra efforts are for naught.
On to puffrey and no innuendo.
- Nadiya Rose Pistachio/Mocha Hazelnut Horns Pass The pastries are perfect and she filled her horns to the very bottom.
- Paul Café Tipple/Banana Crunch-away Horns Fail. Paul Hollywood was disappointed that the banana flavor wasn’t strong enough. Sue was so surprised she called him “Angry baby Paul!”
- Tamal Lime&Mascarpone/Malt Cream Horns Pass, but he was a full puffer and they deducted points for that.
- Flora Peach&Lemon Thyme/Smoked Almond&Butterscotch Cream Horns Fail. She spent too much time on her accessories and not enough of the horns themselves.
- Ian Mont Blanc/Black Forest Gâteau Horns Fail. His black forest horns were chocolate and regular puff pastries rolled together and it did not work.
For the technical, the challenge was “Mokatines,” which are a really “fiddly” coffee cake, in the words of Nadiya. Considering that the contestants got a paired down version of the recipe, how did she know? Because she had actually *looked at the recipe* in one of Mary’s cookbooks during her week-long study sessions at home between episodes. she hadn’t bothered try it because it was “way too fiddly,” and you could see how much she was regretting this choice. But even having seen the recipe in full once was enough of an advantage, because she had also seen the picture and unlike her four fellow competitors, she knew what the product should look like. The other four spent time guessing on how the cake should be baked (Paul guessed wrong) how the filling should go (Tamal guessed wrong) how the piping should go (Flora guessed wrong) and how the topping should go (Ian guessed wrong.)
5th Paul Cake was a disaster
4th Tamal Icing and filling disaster
3rd Flora The piping was totally wrong and the cake overbaked
2nd Ian At least his cake was good!
1st Nadiya If she keeps this up, we’re calling her Poppins.
On to the bizarre creation called a Religieuse à l’ancienne. To wit:
a Choux Mountain (ON TOP OF CHOUX MOUNTAIN),
made of eclairs (ALL FILLED WITH CREAM)
a three tiered, non doweled creation (I LOST MY POOR ECLAIR)
in the shape of a nun (WHEN SOMEBODY SNEEZED.)
And now you know why Sue made nothing but Nun jokes for the rest of the episode.
So it’s not just baking eclairs. It’s baking reinforced eclairs, with varying choices of “strong flour” , along with the choice of icing colors, eclair flavors, and the pastry disks that sit between each layer to hold them up. But if that wasn’t bad enough! Once the contestants finished their tower of eclairy nun goodness, then they were forced to go have lunch and leave their creations to stand for two hours, in order to see whose could stand for an entire party as a centerpiece and whose discovered to their dismay that gravity works.
Let’s see whose nuns stood the test of time, and which nuns went on the run.
Tamal’s Passionfruit&Mango/Pistachio&Raspberry Religieuse à l’ancienne The good news is, it was standing tall when he left and still standing tall on return. The better news is that the judges loved his flavors and though he baked his eclairs a little long to get them to stand for a long time, they did not taste overbaked.
Nadiya’s Bubble Gum/Peppermint Cream Religieuse à l’ancienne It didn’t actually fall, but the Leaning Tower of Eclairs was handled with care on the way to the judging table, and Paul Hollywood declared it a collapse. Mary hated the bubblegum flavor, even as Paul marveled at how strong it was.
Paul’s Religieuse à l’ancienne The base had completely collapsed. Then Paul Hollywood said the banana flavor was merely ok, which was like kicking a dog when he was already down.
Flora’s Lime&Basil/Coconut&White Chocolate Religieuse à l’ancienne She had the top off her bottom to prevent serving a completely collapsed base but at least that meant she served three layers all standing upright. Unfortunately her flavors were too faint for Paul to taste.
Ian’s Nun with Hidden Passions The only other one to stand the entire time, and his flavors were declared lovely. This is the second time he’s saved himself from bottom consideration with a strong Showstopper.
Despite Mary’s utter hatred of Nadiya’s flavors in the show stopper and the Unstable Nun, her win in the Technical and her pass in the Signature bake put her over the top. This is her third Star Baker win, tying her with Ian. As to sending Flora or Paul home, it was six of one, half a dozen of the other. Pulling her top so her base didn’t collapse might have been the thing that saved her, and Flora stays on to the Semi Finals, while Paul goes home.