GBBO 2015 – Quarter Finals

I can’t quite believe that the quarter-finals have been and gone and that there’s only 2 Bake Offs left until we find out who is the new King or Queen of baking!  As soon as you reach the quarter-final stage of any competition, the pressure (and stress) tends to double in intensity!  You’re so close to the final, yet so very far and so much could go wrong….then the demons start to make you doubt, and you second guess everything you do.  Even the most confident person will have a wobble, and it’s just how you cope and deal with whatever is thrown your way that will dictate how far you go.  You need to get your game head and poker face on, shoulder down and push through, in the hope that you make it out the other side only mildly injured and most importantly still smiling.

As soon as the quarter-finals arrived for me, every challenge was seen to be a showstopper – you had to pull out all the stops and keep your cool.  I remember having a great signature, an ok technical and not a great showstopper, and so I thought I was a gone.  Luckily for me, my signature saved the day!

This week, the bakers were faced with a rather cheeky signature of making innuendo filled cream horns – 24 of them, in two different flavours!  And to make things more difficult (worse), Mr H preferred his cream horns made with real puff pastry and not flaky or rough puff….of course he does!!

Everyone bar Ian had good feedback on their pastry, regardless of the fact if it was puff/rough or flaky, but Ian made a version using cocoa powder which inhibited the rise of the layers (lairs).

They loved Nadiya and Tamal’s flavours – both showing consistently that they deliver on flavour.  They told Flora to stop doing too many decorations and just concentrate on the brief – again. And annoyingly, although technically good, Paul did not deliver the childhood sweet memories of bananas and custard to the judges, much to Mr H’s 5 year old inner child, who pretty much had a mini strop after tasting!!

The technical was effectively posh mini coffee cakes, made from genoise sponge, coffee buttercream and then decorated with crushed almonds and little rosette buds of buttercream.  Essentially, Mary Berry in cake form, a tasty classic.  All the bakers except one knew how to make genoise – which instantly meant that sadly Paul was going to be bottom of the heap.  I have to say that I was a little surprised that Paul didn’t know how to make a genoise, but then again not all the bakers knew how to pipe rosettes – these to me are baking basics.  You go into the bake off with a good knowledge of a lot of baking disciplines, but inevitably there will be some things that you don’t know how to make, and that is what the technical is there to test.  I had pockets in my baking knowledge that were missing, and on those occasions I was towards the bottom of the technical.  You definitely learn lots in that tent!!

Nadiya once again won the technical, and I was keeping my fingers and toes crossed that Paul would nail his showstopper as he has done several times before.

And so onto the showstopper, and possibly one of my favourite pastries to make and eat – eclairs.  But not just normal eclairs, oh now – this is the Bake Off after all!  The bakers had to make 2 different flavoured eclairs and then build a tower out of them to resemble a nun…although, I think they looked more like a dalek!  The colours and flavours all sounded amazing, with all the bakers making great choux pastry, beautifully coloured and decorated.  It was going to be down to construction and flavour.

The words ‘banana essence’ ringed in my ears, and for a moment, I was back in that tent and re-living my semi-final hell…but it was the lovely Paul who had decided to use the essence to boost the banana flavour, in the hope that Mr H wouldn’t have another strop.

Quarter Finals

As we heard the joyful news that the lovely Nadiya was voted Star Baker again, due to her great flavours, perfect baking skills and just sheer loveliness, we all knew who was going home.  Paul, you were brilliant and took everything you did and all comments dished out in your stride.  Compared to what you’ve done in the army and what you do in your current job, then your stint in the tent was not half as stressful (I hope?)!

Next week, it’s the semi-finals…whoever goes, you’re in fantastic company.

skills and just sheer loveliness, we all knew who was going home.  Paul, you were brilliant and took everything you did and all comments dished out in your stride.  Compared to what you’ve done in the army and what you do in your current job, then your stint in the tent was not half as stressful (I hope?)! Most importantly, you were still smiling.

Next week, it’s the semi-finals…whoever goes, you’re in fantastic company.

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2 responses to “GBBO 2015 – Quarter Finals

  1. A great run down of the show. Can’t wait for this week’s episode! I like everyone but think I’m coming down on the side of Team Tamal – although as always, they’re all such a nice bunch, aren’t they?

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