From star baker to being kicked off! After Marie showed herself to be a contender last week, she made a shock exit in week two. We’re sure you’re still trying to catch your breath from this week’s biscuit drama, so here’s our rundown of week two of the Great British Bake Off.
The Signature Challenge this week was the twice-baked, Italian classic, Biscotti. With interesting flavour combinations vying for the judges approval, it was all about balance without losing that all-important crunch. For some their risky combinations paid off: Ugne’s white wine and goji berry biscotti caught Paul Hollywood’s eye, Nadiya perfectly balanced fennel and coconut with her ‘fascinating’ biscotti and Ian even managed to create an almost ginger like flavour with orange and homegrown rosemary.
(Photo from http://www.johnwhaite.com/)
For others it did not go so well. Dorret struggled to get enough flavour in her biscotti and her addition of sugar crystals made Paul worry for his teeth. Paul managed the tricky chocolate dough, but failed to impress Mary with his fruit and nut combination. The signs that it was all going wrong for Marie started in this challenge, with Marie attempting to explain why her biscotti were falling apart before they’d even had the second bake! Paul replied with a stern look before he walked away – hard to please as ever.
We were glad to see that some things haven’t changed from week one – Flora reminded us she is not only the youngest, but poshest baker in the tent with her traditional wedding biscotti that she ‘picked up’ whilst travelling in Italy.
On to the Technical Challenge and it was all about lamination. With none of the bakers confident in baking, or having even heard of, Arlette biscuits, they had to follow Paul’s brief advice: ‘don’t rush it’. Wrapping the butter around the dough was the first thing to throw most of the bakers, shortly followed by several interpretations of when to add the layer of cinnamon sugar.
These wafer thin, puff pastry biscuits had all the bakers on their knees, watching through the oven door. Dorret pulled herself back from the disappointment of the first challenge with the best bake in this round. Shortly followed by Flora, who seemed to have the best lamination knowledge. It was Marie that placed last with her self confessed “silly silly” mistake of not putting the oven on the right setting and ending with only four of eight arlette. How many times will bakers fail in this tent because of the oven?!
Well-executed ambition was what Paul and Mary were looking for in the Showstopper Challenge. The bakers each had to craft a biscuit box and 36 uniform biscuits of a different flavour to sit within it. We loved the variety of bakes, from Sandy’s savoury slotting-together box to Mat’s gingerbread fire truck. It was also great to see lots of royal icing piping. We were very impressed with Flora’s earl grey box lid, and upset to see it break as nerves got the better of her. But, Ugne took icing a bit too far – we agree with Mary, her cookie jar was garish.
The two that fell short with their boxes were Alvin who had to abandon building his box to attend to his brandy snaps – but with great flavour there he was safe. Nadiya also struggled with her spherical biscuit box. She took two hits with the first attempt working until she put it back in the oven and the lid of the second attempt being accidentally broken by Sue. Despite having no time to decorate her box, she impressed Paul and Mary with her perfect fortune cookies – a biscuit never attempted before on bake off.
Ian pulled out all the stops to make his cylinder shortbread box, bringing in a specially made tin to bake the biscuit standing up.
He filled it with perfectly pink macarons. It was this homemade approach and taking well calculated risks that won Ian the title of this week’s Star Baker. It’s a shame Marie didn’t have time to take a leaf out of Ian’s book, as her simple bakes took her out of the running for the Britain’s best amateur baker.
Next week: bread! Who will rise to the challenge and who will end up sour-dough?
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