It’s week four of the Great British Baking Show, and the contestants are geared up for some serious dessert week challenges. And while it was raining outside of the tent, despite the fact that it’s summer, the air is chilly and the competition is heating up inside the tent — and it’s not just the portable ovens complete with warming drawers.
Once again, Vulture did a full recap from an American perspective, which adds to the fascination. The show started off with the signature bake, which this week was a torte, and tortes have rules. Tortes have butter, sugar, and eggs like a standard sponge (cake), but no wheat flour. Then there are the optional fillings like pastry cream, mousse, ganache, and/or even jelly. You can include many different flavors in the layers like you would a trifle, but it must be free-standing (unlike a trifle) and sliceable. Some people used ground nuts, but Danny used the controversial potato flour for her blackberry, white chocolate, lemon and elderflower torte.
Judge Paul Hollywood seemed to advise her against this choice.
“It’s very starchy. I tend to avoid it like the plague.”
Contestant Sarah-Jane revealed to the home audience and Sue Perkins that she doesn’t get out much. She said her non-wheat flour choice, crushed Amaretti cookies, was the “bravest thing” she’s ever done. And she said she’s on a roll because she traveled to the competition on a train by herself.
“But until this, getting here on the train by myself was the bravest thing I’ve ever done.”
But this is the Great British Baking Show, so things went wrong. John tried tempering his chocolate for ganache, but it failed twice, and he was left with grainy chocolate. John’s torte ended up being supersized, and not on purpose.
Next was the technical challenge of crème caramel. If you are familiar with this custard dessert that is served in a puddle of thinned caramel, you can imagine what could go wrong. Yes, there were many puddles of congealed goo. But Brendan rocked his, which was foreshadowing after he also put forth a flawless torte.
Lastly, it was the showstopper competition, which must include four layers of meringue. The secret to meringue is that you don’t want to cook it as much as you want to dry it out. Meringue done properly should be crisp and hold its shape. You also need to watch how wet your other ingredients are because it will make your layers soggy. You might remember from last week that a “soggy bottom” is the greatest of all baking sins.
Stuart’s showstopper was more like a doorstopper, according to Paul, as it made a thud when it hit the plate. Secretly, all of the others on the bubble breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the thud.
Brendan was this week’s star baker, and Stuart headed home.
Fans can’t wait to see next week’s challenge!