Category Archives: GBBS

The Great British Baking Show: Season 3 “Chocolate”

We’ve reached the Quarter finals. In honor of that milestone, PBS has calmed the hell down about two episodes a night and allowed us to basked in a single hour of Baking Show this weekend, with the Finals scheduled for next week. But as always, this was only a suggestions, so only about half the PBS stations across the country are anywhere near this point. If your local station is one of those who is still rolling along on Sunday evenings, doing one episode a week, as god a the BBC intended, the recap for your episode episode 6, “Pastry” can be found here.)

We’re down to the Top Four, and though I have seen several complaints that poor little Flora should not have made it this far, I have to say that this Top Four is a very good Top Four. Remember, neither Flora nor Paul had ever won Star Baker, so either of them would be walking in this week at a disadvantage. Everyone else has at least won it once. Though with five Star Baker awards between them, it’s not hard to view Ian and Nadiya as the favorites for the finals.

chocolate week

Our Quarter Finals are focusing on Chocolate. Chocolate Tarts for the Signature, Chocolate Soufflé for the Technical and Chocolate Centrepieces for the Showstopper. Now, let’s pretend that Sue and Mel did not just do that terrible American accent and that Forrest Gump reference and get to the bakes.

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The Great British Baking Show: Season 3 “Pâtisserie”

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.

flora freaking

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.

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The Great British Baking Show: Season 3 “Victorian”

The Great British Baking Show decided to go a little off the beaten path for this weekend’s first of another double episode week. Instead of “Bread” or “Cake’ this week’s theme was “Victorian.” One would have thought this a perfect moment to tie in PBS’ upcoming drama series Victoria into things, but sadly, this was taped for the BBC in 2015, and that doesn’t even begin to air until September of this year on rival ITV. So much for potential cross overs.

As a reminder, for those whose PBS stations are airing these shows on Sundays, once a week like god and the BBC originally intended, the recap for your episode (episode 5, “Pastry” can be found here.) For the rest of us, let’s get on with this historical bakes.

Snapshot - 6

The Signature Challenge this week was Raised Game Pie. The Technical was a “Tennis Cake” which is just as ludicrous as it sounds, and really could have done with Mrs. Patmore wandering around lecturing the bakers. The Showstopper really was a showstopper. A 19th century dessert known as a “Charlotte Russe,” which has zero relation to the fashion design house of the same name. On the other hand, it much be a pretty tasty dessert, as Paul Hollywood at one point stopped the proceedings to declare this challenge “Best. Idea. Ever.”

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The Great British Baking Show: Season 3 “Pastry”

One thing I will say for doing two episodes a week–the contestants are dropping like flies on The Great British Baking Show. We’re already to recapping Week 6, and most of our chaff has exited the tent. Meanwhile the strongest contenders seem to be chugging right along towards the finale: Ian, who is three-time Star Baker Winner, Nadiya, the only other person in the tent who has won that title besides him.

Along with them are Flora, who may never have won anything, but is always impressive, even if she over does, Paul, Tamal, and Mat who have had flashes of brilliance, and Alvin who….ok, maybe there’s some chaff left.


This is Pastry week, with a Signature challenge made up of  Frangipane tarts, a Technical of Flaounes and a Show Stopper of two types of Vol-au-vents. Yes, everything this week is European, foreign foods I’ve never eaten, and most importantly, unpronounceable.  How badly will our contestants stumble having to say Vol-au-vents five times fast?  Has anyone even seen a Flaoune? And how many bad puns can Sue come up with from the word Frangipane?

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The Great British Baking Show: Season 3 “Alternative Ingredients Week”

The official PBS schedule once again scheduled two episodes to play back to back, for those whose stations that are actually following along with what PBS Food referred to as “the suggested schedule.” So once again we have two back to back recaps–today will be Alternative ingredients, and tomorrow will be “Pastries.”

For those whose PBS stations think that PBS’s suggested schedule is total bunk (WETA DC, I’m looking right at you) and are airing it on the proper British night for PBS television (Sundays) and one a week like god and the BBC intended, the recap for the “Desserts” is right here.

Snapshot - 6

Alternative Ingredients Week opened with a weekend where the weather cooperated, and the world was bright and sunny. Sun, it turns out is considered an “alternative ingredient” but not one that will feature in any of this week’s challenges. Instead we had a Signature Challenge of “Cake, sans Sugar” followed by a Technical of “Bread, sans Gluten” and rounded off the week with “Ice Cream, sans Dairy.” Vegans, this was your week.

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PBS Trying To Kill Great British Baking Show’s Ratings?

Did you know two episodes of The Great British Baking Show aired this weekend?

I certainly didn’t. And I recap the show and give them free publicity. Why didn’t I know? Because PBS bumped Friday night’s episode back for a special on Police Violence….and then my local PBS station decided to air an episode of Midsomer Murders, so episode 3 did begin airing until 11pm on Friday night. Episode 4? Aired at 12:01am on Saturday morning. My DVR had no idea. I had no idea. I was asleep.

Tamal's Mango, Hazelnut&Rosemary cheesecake trio

PBS says they allow their stations to decide when to air the show, and then insist over and over we can always watch on-line, like that’s somehow going to work. Was Downton Abbey a Sunday night phenomenon because it aired “sort of whenever” over the weekend and then everyone watched on-line? No. It was a Sunday night phenomenon because Masterpiece Theater cracked a whip, and the majority of PBS stations lined up and obediently aired it on Sunday nights at 9pm. Will Poldark air “sort of whenever” when it comes back in September? Will the hoped-for Downton replacement Victoria air “sort of whenever”? Not a chance.

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The Great British Baking Show: Season 3 “Dessert Week”

When we arrive at the tent for Dessert Week, we can already see that things are not going well for our bakers, before we even are welcomed by Sue and Mel. How do we know? It’s pouring rain. Welcome!….to The Great British Summer Weather.

The weather wasn’t the only thing working against our contestants this week. The theme of “dessert,” much like the theme of “biscuits,” is a wide one and means that the contestants can find themselves making anything from cake like items  to sweets to well… a thing that sounds like they’re saying “Spanish Wind Tort,” but is actually a Spanische Windtorte.

rain Sue Mel

But that’s best saved for the Technical challenge. First up, there’s the Signature Challenge and crème brûlées, which gives my “how to produce French accented letters on an American keyboard muscle memory” a work out. Then the aforementioned spanische windtortes for the Technical, and their freakish amount of meringue, all made in the dampest of settings. And finally, a Showstopper Challenge of cheesecakes. In a nod to not being anything like American television, this did not include Alton Brown showing up in Elvis costumes and drawling on about how cheesecake is, in reality pie. (For the record though? Cheesecake? It’s totally a member of Team Pie.)

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