Following a sketchy performance during botanical week, Andrew hung in there by the feuille of his mille-feuille, and couldn’t quite stop the tears flowing when he managed to do so. This week, however, it was a different Andrew, an Andrew with a swagger, a wink and a bag of sugar. “I am a desserts man through and through,” he said, breezily – which under normal circumstances would be a odd thing for a bloke to say, but this week was Desserts Week. So fair enough.
Only six bakers were left, making for plenty of space in the tent (each baker could probably do a three-metre moonwalk from a standing start if they felt like doing so) but the competition is fiercer now, and every mistake could prove disastrous.
The signature bake
Tom started badly with his “millionaire’s roulade”, deciding to scrap his first sponge and go again (“Good enough isn’t good enough”) while Jane asserted her credentials with the annoucement that she makes roulade “reasonably frequently”. But Andrew was oozing confidence with his tropical roulade (his dad’s recipe, incredibly – how many of your dads have a recipe for tropical roulade, eh?) and he scored highly in the judging, along with Jane and Benji. But Selasi, Candice and Tom looked to be in trouble.
The technical challenge
The combination of dacquoise, praline, cream and ganache would bring all the calories to the tent, a calorie party, a calorie annual conference if you will. It was also a multi-stage, multi-tasking nightmare, and Tom once again looked vulnerable after last week’s star baker triumph. “I’ve never made a praline, I’ve never made a caramel,” he said disconsolately – but no one found this challenge easy, from Andrew failing to cut his meringue with the requisite precision, to Selasi’s distinctly chewy finished product. But Andrew, once again, emerged as golden boy.
The workload across the benches was phenomenal, from Andrew balancing his “seaside” mousses precariously on a ferris wheel to Jane’s efforts with chocolate that left her looking like she’d fought her mousse hand-to-antler in a Canadian forest. The results, however, were stunning; Jane’s fleur de lis chocolate sponges, Candice’s delicate creations suspended in champagne glasses – but even the ones that didn’t look so great made up for with their flavour; Benji in particular managed to provoke an “oh wow” from Paul, a phrase he normally reserves for his newly-valeted Aston Martin. But it was Andrew who came through to win star baker, and Tom made his way home. It was no shock; even Tom knew already. But he’ll always have his bread week crown to look back on – an accolade that’s the envy of many a Bake Off competitor.
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