The Great British Bake Off 2019 - Episode 6 - Steph Bombes on with a Hat-trick!

October 05, 2019 115 Comments

The Great British Bake Off 2019 - Episode 6 - Steph Bombes on with a Hat-trick!

Hello Bakers

What would this week bring?  Some controversy last week as Helena was despatched from the tent despite winning one of the challenges.

The episode began with an interesting signature challenge. The bakers had to make a layered meringue cake featuring at least three layers, sandwiched with filling. There are a lot of ways the bakers could go with this, but about half opted for nut-based recipes, looking for a flavour boost that doesn’t add moisture to the delicate chemistry of their meringues. The rest went with chocolate, spice, and caramel for their layers, and everyone was just as focused on their fillings and toppings as their meringues. The low-and-slow baking method required for meringues gave the contestants plenty of time to work on the rest of their components, and it was nice to spend a bit more time on this part of the signature process. Decorations and layering tend to be featured during the showstoppers and glazed over during the signatures, but the piping and fine detail work of the bakers was a lot of fun to watch here. The bakes looked good, with a few stunners and a few more questionable presentations, but when judging comes, Paul and Prue are unimpressed, to say the least.

David’s clove, cinnamon, and star anise bake looked gorgeous, but as Paul hinted earlier, he and Prue didn’t like David’s spice-heavy flavor profile. Priya’s blueberry-flavored meringue was dubbed “horrible” looking by Prue and Paul, because of her light blue cream, and Prue finds the amaretto overpowering. That wasn’t good news for Priya as she was already under pressure.  Rosie’s lime and raspberry cake was delicious and well balanced, but not as visually appealing as the judges would have liked, and Paul wished she’d skipped the chocolate. Like David, Alice is complemented on her design, her Black Forest meringue styled whimsically after a basket, but Paul and Prue found her flavours lacking. Then there was Michael’s chocolate and orange meringue, which was complemented by Prue for its simple but effective flavours, but dissed on texture and balance by Paul. Steph got the closest to high marks, with Paul and Prue liking her presentation and flavours, but not her heavy hand with the nuts, and Henry, like Rosie, got critiqued for his design—really Henry, was quizzed on how do you not stack your layers by size?—but praised for his flavours. After Paul took a final jab at Henry, assuming he hadn’t made his best element, the signature round was over.

It was time for the technical, and Prue once again set the brief. The bakers had to make six identical, perfectly layered verrines, featuring a layer of mango compote covered with a creamy coconut panna cotta, then a layer of fresh raspberry jelly sprinkled with a coconut and lime streusel and fresh mango cubes, and atop the glass, a thin, decorative biscuit. This was another straightforward technical, but one that required focus and precision. For once, the bakers seemed to have enough time to complete the challenge, and while there was some question about just how long to chill each layer, every component was well within these bakers’ abilities. It was great to see them all turn in solid to impressive verrines, but nothing in this technical pushes them. Nothing required particular baking instincts or knowledge, the very thing the technical is meant to highlight. This was purely a test of their finesse, which is worthwhile, but not the point of the technical round. The previous two technicals required knowledge many didn’t have and featured recipes left intentionally too vague. This one held their hands too much, down to providing a cookie cutter for their biscuits, a far cry from “Dairy Week,”. Too much emphasis was placed on how the layers set straight in our opinion.  Once again, the judges seem to ignore the technical rankings—this time because everyone did so well—and yet again, it all comes down to the showstoppers.  Alice was voted as the best of a good bunch.

For the final round, the bakers were tasked to create a celebratory bombe dessert. It had be spherical or semi-spherical with one baked element and at least two other dessert elements. Most of the bakers played it safe, focusing on light sponges and various forms of mousse and creams. A few took bigger swings, though, including David, who made a lemon and shiso leaf sorbet, and Steph, the only baker not to line her bombe with cake, instead counting on her mousse to set properly and sustain a mirror glaze on its own. In theory, the presentation of these bakes should be paramount for the showstopper round, but as in previous episodes this season, the judging didn’t reflect this. If Paul and Prue have shifted their interpretation of each round, or if their priorities have changed over the seasons, that’s perfectly alright. However, that should be conveyed to the viewers in a meaningful way, so the audience can play along at home.

In the end, Steph wows with her beautiful mirror glazed bake and takes home Star Baker for the third week in a row. She joins elite company in Baking Show history. Only two bakers—Richard Burr in series five and Ian Cumming in series six—have accomplished this feat, though neither ended up winning their seasons. Alice impressed with her tiramisu bombe and came in a close second, with David in the conversation, but lagging behind the other two. The rest of the bakers were down in the bottom, Henry and Rosie joined Michael and Priya after struggling with their showstoppers. Michael’s bake got mixed reviews at best, Henry’s cake was deemed stodgy and his bombe disappointing, and Rosie’s was dubbed clumsy, her mousse texture not ideal, and her flavours contradicting. Yet it was Priya who was eliminated, despite getting complemented on her sponge, mousse, and the “elegant” look of her bake.

Before the showstopper round, the judges were clear about who was in danger, and the fact that this episode would again be determined by the final bake. But when their bottom two delivered and the field got a bit more complicated, the episode skips over what should have been good reality TV, a hearty deliberation by the judges. There’s no return to Priya’s underwhelming meringue, weighed against Henry’s disappointing bombe, or discussion of whether Rosie’s delicious signature flavours are enough to save her. Instead, the producers expect viewers to do the legwork themselves. It’s looking increasingly like this trend of under-supported and frustrating eliminations will be the norm for the rest of season 10, and this unforced error on the part of the production is incredibly disappointing. 

We think Priya paid for her underwhelming performance in the two previous rounds but weren’t aware that overall series performance was a factor.

Next week is Festival week and we look forward to this new addition to the Bake Off family of episodes.

Until then, happy baking !

Poppy

www.PoppysCookshop.com




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