Tonight on The Great Australian Bake Off, it’s desserts! Or as Mel points out, stressed spelled backwards. I went to a book signing this evening, so I recorded the first challenge of the night and watched it after I knew who was going home. I didn’t have time to do a pun count this week, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been higher than last week’s. I love dessert, it’s one of my favourite meals, so this is bound to be great.
Signature challenge: Individual puddings
For the signature challenge this week, the judges have asked the bakers to make individual puddings with appropriate accompaniments. Claire likes to accompany her pudding with more pudding. I also quite enjoy having more pudding, but also some ice cream. Suzy made a sticky date pudding with a pecan base and caramel sauce. Maggie doesn’t like pecans, but Suzy’s pudding is so good that it wins Maggie over, and Matt says it’s one of the best sticky date puddings he’s ever tasted, which means I’ll have to get the recipe off the website so my brother can try it. Nathan made a chocolate and pear pudding, with a new recipe because something happened with his old one. Maggie and Matt are happy with the flavour and texture, it just needs to look prettier. Pudding wasn’t meant to be pretty, what show is this? Sian made ginger and treacle puddings with persimmon and mascarpone, and they tasted good, but the persimmon didn’t come through, and Matt questioned whether it was the right fruit.
James made a christmas pudding inspired date and chestnut pudding, which was undercooked. Jasmin made spotted dick, a traditional English pudding made from currants, beef fat and brandy. Maggie called it a mouthful of pleasure, which is all the feedback you really need. Angela made an orange, pistachio and ginger pudding. The judges were worried that the star anise would overpower the other flavours, but it didn’t, and the flavour combination worked really well.
At one point Matt thought that Suzy’s date flowers looked like pods from Alien. Then he asked Maggie if she’d seen Aliens, and she said no, which I’m sure surprised absolutely no one. I can’t imagine Maggie Beer being much of a science fiction fan.
Technical challenge: Maggie Beer’s apricot pavlova
It was at the beginning of the technical challenge that I got home, so I just caught the explanation of Maggie’s apricot pavlova, with layers of meringue, apricot butter and apricot curd with dried apricots on top. The challenge starts off badly for James, who is worried that his meringue isn’t right. The big issue is that the meringues need to cool before the curd and butter go on, otherwise they’ll start to run. At the tasting, James didn’t have time to put his pavlova together, and Suzy and Nathan’s curd hadn’t set. The reverse order of the bakers was James, Nathan, Suzy, Sian, Angela and Jasmin. I predicted Jasmin would win, and it just doesn’t seem right that an Englishwoman won a pavlova challenge (Jasmin is actually my favourite, I just jest). Jasmin, Sian and Angela are consistently the best three on the show, so if one of them isn’t in the final, it will be a surprise.
Showstopper: tiered dessert
For the showstopper, our bakers are to make a tiered dessert, tied together with a theme, and have a minimum of three tiers. At the start of the challenge Maggie says she wants something that looks spectacular. This is probably my least favourite part of the show. We know it’s called a showstopper and that the judges want a centrepiece that tastes great, I don’t need to be reminded every week! Nathan made a carnival themed dessert incorporating popcorn, fairy floss and donuts into his construction. Unfortunately not much of it worked: there wasn’t enough custard in his Portugese tarts, the donuts were too dense and the cake was dry. At the beginning of the challenge Nathan said that he didn’t bring his clown outfit or a lion, which I put down to poor planning.
Suzy’s centrepiece is called Tart it Up, with a theme of tart and tropical fruits. Last week we saw that Suzy had a bit of a meltdown, and now we find out why. One of the things that’s great about The Great British Bake Off is that the bakers bring all of their own ingredients. In our Australian version however, it seems that the crew take the ingredients and put them in generic tubs and give them labels that all look the same. So it’s not that surprising that Suzy ended up putting vinegar in her trifle instead of cointreau, so now that we know this show has been renewed, we might need to rethink that strategy. This could have been our #bingate, but Suzy managed to save it. Matt wanted more sponge in the trifle, but that’s just typical Moran.
Angela made a tiered dessert tied to berries, with an apple and raspberry crumble, fruit tarts and a berry meringue. Some of the elements didn’t work – the meringue was dry and there wasn’t enough fruit in the crumble, but they liked the custard tart. James managed to redeem himself with his Tart Tower with three different tarts and pastries: pear and walnut, passionfruit and white chocolate meringue, and chocolate and raspberry. The judges loved everything, except Matt would have liked the chocolate to be a little bit sweeter. Claire tells him that most people would prefer him a bit sweeter too.
Sian made a coconut wedding cake with layers and alternating fillings of rum creme patissiere and vanilla butter cream. The judges said that the coconut had a good crunch, but the rum and vanilla flavours weren’t coming through, so it was a bit bland. At least it filled the brief of looking spectacular, as Sian made flowers out of sugar paste. Jasmin has called her centrepiece ‘Fifty Shades of Lemon’ with lemon and lavender macarons, cupcakes, as well as a lemon, coconut and raspberry cake. Matt tries to make her doubt herself by saying that the cupcakes could be dry, but Jasmin’s a better baker than that. She knows they’re good.
Unsurprisingly, Jasmin is our star baker. The decision to send someone home was a little more complicated. Nathan had done okay on the first day, whereas James was a disaster. Luckily James managed to save himself with the showstopper, while Nathan’s just didn’t work. He really needed that lion. Sian is feeling a bit competitive now that Jasmin has won twice, but so have Sian and Angela, so that was a bit weird. It’s not like Richard winning Star Baker five times in GBBO last year. Next week is pastry, and I really hope that they were sausage rolls I saw Angela pull out of the oven.
- As always, the recipes for the show can be found on the website.
- This week in wildlife: there was a lovely shot of a spider in its web, which is a nice change from the usual birds (which are lovely, but it’s nice to see something different).