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The Great Australian Bake Off

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S2 premiere date is October 13 - article includes links to interviews with judge Matt Moran, judge Maggie Beer, and hosts Claire Hooper and Mel Buttle

S2 filmed at Yaralla Estate - not a ton of info, but there are photos of the location and some of the past contestants (Nancy, my favorite, and Bliss!)

meet the S2 bakers

interview with Nancy from S1 (obviously spoilers about S1 but there is a spoiler in the URL so don't hover over the link if you haven't watched S1 yet)

According to this article, the Australian show brings the grand total to 18 Bake Off spinoffs:

This also takes the number of international commissions for The Great Bake Off to 18, including one commission licensed directly to the USA (CBS) by the format owners Love Productions. BBC Worldwide has licensed the highly successful format to Belgium (VTM), Denmark (DR), Finland (MTV3), France (M6), Germany (ProSiebenSat.1), Ireland (TV3), Italy (Discovery), The Netherlands (MAX), Norway (TV3), Poland (TLC), Sweden (TV7/Sjuan), Turkey (Acunmedya), Ukraine (1+1), as well as previously in Australia (Nine Network) and a Junior Bake Off in Thailand.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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Why did they switch up judges? I thought last year's duo was just fine and did a great job. I'm not sad they switched hosts, however; but I could do without the hardcore Mel and Sue imitations by the newbies.

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I think that, like the upcoming American version of the show, the Australian reboot made host/judge changes in an effort to improve ratings from S1. To be honest, I don't think that the first seasons of the American or Australian shows did poorly because of the judges or hosts. Because the GBBO is so popular now, they probably could have kept the original hosts/judges on both shows and the reboots would both do well in the ratings.

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I like Maggie better than Kerry, but that might be partly due to the fact that Maggie isn't sporting those terrible headbands that I remember Kerry wearing in S1. I'm kind of disappointed that S2 has been made to resemble GBBO more by replacing the opening song and the background music.

 

Suzy (the former art student) was a frontrunner as soon as they introduced her. She might be this year's Nancy! Her strawberry cake looked fresh and fun. And I love raw strawberries in cake, Matt!

 

Dr. Pete's precision and methodical ways reminded me of Bob the Builder on S5 of the Great British Bake Off. I love that kind of baking so I look forward to seeing how his creations turn out. I love tiramisu so I'm glad it turned out well.

 

I wasn't sure how Brendan the bird guy's parsnip and carrot cake would be received by the judges. There are lots of recipes for cakes with added vegetables that add moisture but without adding any veggie flavor. I'm not sure why the judges wanted more parsnip flavor. If I added grated parsnip to a cake, I wouldn't want it to be a major flavor.

 

I was curious why they said that Ben lives in a mining town but didn't say whether he is actually a miner or if he does something else. I love strawberry and balsamic vinegar together so I was excited about his signature bake. I don't think I'd like the basil cream with it though. Poor guy - his fillings were just pouring out because the cake hadn't cooled enough.

 

I was surprised that the judges were okay with Janice using a storebought jam on her Japanese honey souffle cheesecake, even if it was Maggie's. But I loved that she admitted to the judges that there was a crack in the top when they came around to check on her. Glad that the flavor and texture were good enough for Matt to tell her not to worry about the crack.

 

Ha, loved that James said his food is sometimes described as uncomfortable to look at. I'm afraid that means he won't last long, but the fact that everyone said his cake smelled delicious while they were baking sounds promising. His carrot cake with mascarpone looked flat and frankly underwhelming.

 

Mariana's cows wandering close to the bake table in her yard was hilarious. Hee and I cracked up when Matt asked if she had tempered her chocolate and she said she just melted it. Her chocolate cherry cake looked pretty good. Cracked up at Maggie telling her that the chocolate shards would be ALIVE if she had tempered the chocolate.

 

Loved Angela's family recipe book. I bet there is some good stuff in there! Too bad that her nut tree chocolate cake was so dry.

 

Jasmin's chocolate and salted caramel cake sounded delicious. And she rescues dogs! I disagree with Matt about her cake being too big and too tall. You don't have to shove the entire thing in your mouth at once! use a fork and take a bite!

 

I'm glad that the judges asked Meg what a piñata cake is because I was curious about that too. I'm also glad that one of the hosts asked the judges if they were okay with Meg using premade chocolate inside. Cute that Matt liked her apron. It looked like the premade chocolate was just chocolate chips so I don't know why she didn't just melt some chocolate and then drop them on a baking sheet to cool while the cake was baking. Then the judges wouldn't have been able to knock off points for using store bought chocolate chips.

 

Nathan blood orange cake looked just as big as Jasmin's but they didn't say it was too big to eat.

 

Sian is the fashionista who said it's important for her cakes to look beautiful but her chocolate beetroot cake looked messy. I know she said it was the temperature but the bottom layer was noticeably bigger which made her cake look uneven.

 

I'm glad that they described all the fruits used in Maggie's constitution cake because I had no idea what most of them were. The only one I initially recognized was plum. One of my favorite things about the technical challenges is the blind judging. What I really liked about this particular technical is that no one had ever made this cake before so they were all in the same boat. And congrats to Ben for making up for his disastrous signature cake. Same for Angela after her dry signature cake. That's something I love about this show - you can be in last place and then first place on the same day.

 

I love hidden design cakes so I was excited about the showstoppers. I'm glad that both judges said that the taste was the most important factor.

 

Jasmin gave herself much more of a challenge than most of the other bakers. Her Union Jack design inside was much more difficult than Meg just squirting lines of batter inside her cake. It's too bad the judges said she needed more flavor.

 

Sian's pistachio and raspberry Battenberg cake was very even inside. I know that it can be a challenge to get them perfectly symmetric so it was more difficult than some of the others.

 

I was surprised that Dr. Sam said earlier that he is so precise and methodical but his red cross cake turned out to be such a mess. At least he had a good sense of humor about it. When he said that it was called a red cross cake because it was such a disaster, I laughed.

 

Suzy's hidden high heel cake looked great but it looked like she cut out several of the shoes and then stacked them inside the cake which doesn't seem super difficult. But it definitely had a wow factor, so she made some smart choices.

 

Brendan's chocolate orange cake didn't seem like it should qualify as a hidden surprise cake. It just looked like a regular cake with thin layers. But at least his flavors were good! The icing looked like it had split.

 

Oh, Ben. So up and down this episode! His undercooked Guinness chocolate bundt cake meant disaster for him. And to be honest when they described his cake earlier, I didn't really think it seemed like it was really a hidden design.

 

I had to agree with the judges about James's star cake. It didn't look like a showstopper at all. And didn't they say that the cake had to be frosted on all sides? It looked like he only decorated the top.

 

Janice's birthday cake design inside her cake was really impressive. Plus she had that jelly and the coconut. She definitely deserved to be in the running for star baker for that.

 

Nathan's peanut butter chocolate cake was very pretty on the outside, but I don't think his alleged stripes inside the cake qualified as a hidden design. Good thing his flavors saved him.

 

Meg's leopard cake looked like carpet on the outside. I know that was supposed to go with her leopard theme but it looked unappealing. It was also a very squat cake so it didn't have any wow factor. Sticking two little signs in the top wasn't enough to make it look fancy. And as suspected, piping a few stripes of poop colored batter inside was not enough to make it look like cheetah spots. If Ben and Dr. Pete hadn't had such terrible bakes, Meg should have been the one to go home.

 

When Mariana said that she was putting cake pops inside her citrus cake, I thought she meant the kind that are covered in chocolate so I was afraid that would make the cake hard to cut. The giant polka dots inside were very pretty though.

 

Angela's mint and chocolate checkboard cake showed a lot of work. The inside design was more complicated than most of the others and I liked that the chocolate checkerboard design on the outside mimicked the checkerboard inside.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Actually, I would have chosen Meg to go OVER Dr. Paul. At least Dr. Paul tried something and when it didn't work, he thought on the fly and came up with a cute explanation.

 

They said Meg's looked like a DOOR STOP. How do you get past that? There was little to no creativity there and I would have chosen her to go home.

 

As always, with MC AU and even Celebrity Apprentice AU, these contestants, ALL, are superior in every way to their American counterparts.

 

And there's to be a Great AMERICAN Bake Off? Can't wait to see what kind of doofi they will have as contestants. (And I'm an American...)

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As always, with MC AU and even Celebrity Apprentice AU, these contestants, ALL, are superior in every way to their American counterparts.

 

And there's to be a Great AMERICAN Bake Off? Can't wait to see what kind of doofi they will have as contestants. (And I'm an American...)

The contestants on the first season of the American Baking Competition were very similar to the ones on GBBO and GABO - mellow, low drama, regular Joe kind of bakers (not the famewhores you see on other American reality shows like the Bachelor) so fingers crossed that the casting for the second season will be similar.

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Great show - and good they went back to the original soundtrack. I really loved the nod to the shearing shed  - and with Australia's dramatic weather in any season, probably a better idea than canvas. Maggie is a heap better than Kerry, who seemed half the time to be channeling Cruella de Vil. I do miss Dan L though - he was so enthusiastic. 

 

It's really interesting that Australia has absorbed British Baking traditions yet somehow there's more of a sort of easy exuberance as well. These are a nice bunch of people, they remind me of early seasons of GBBO before it became the most popular show in the UK, and  before the  bakers  negotiated book deals before the show aired.

 

The two hosts are definitely in the Mel and Sue humor family, but perhaps less pleased with their own cleverness, which I like! Maggie on the other hand seems never to have had a low opinion of herself! Although she's very watchable - in a Dowager Countess kind of way.  I think Mary is a very tough act to emulate. Matt shares some of Hollywood's annoying inconsistency but it's early days. 

 

I also think there are lots of Americans and Canadians, PBS viewers, who would make wonderful low drama, high skill contestants. The mistakes are with production crews who want drama- sadly you even see this with PBS' stoopid trails for GBBO - trying to be all tense and dramatic. I still remember Francine from the American Baking Competition, who incredibly transcended the Southern Hick profiling the editors insisted on, to become a person I cherished and admired by the end of  run. 

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I finally got to watch the episode.  I really didn't like "Fill Me Up, Buttercup" as the season 1 theme song,  I much prefer the British Bake Off theme, where the video is personalized for the specific country.  It's totally subliminal but when I hear the British Bake Off theme, I feel relaxed - very Pavlovian.

 

I love Tiramisu so of all the bakes in the episode, I wanted to try that signature bake.  I knew Dr Pete would be eliminated, even though Matt Moran complained that a couple of the cakes were not showstoppers.  As Dr Pete said, it was called a Red Cross cake because it was a disaster.

 

I'm not sure how I feel about these judges, Matt and Maggie, yet. I want to see what Matt chooses for a technical challenge.  I thought it was quite interesting Maggie's technical challenge wasn't generic but incorporated ingredients local to Australia.

 

I'm sorry to say so far I'm not impressed with the new hosts, Claire and Mel.  It's almost if they are trying to imitate Sue and Mel.  I hope it's just first show nerves and not producer-driven.

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I thought the hosts were almost caricatures of Sue and Mel.  I wouldn't mind if they had similar humor, but at least in the first episode, they seemed more like they thought they need to be clones to be successful.

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Seriously, I like Mel and Sue.  But I don't want to see  couple of people pretending to be Mel and Sue.   

 

I also would have axed Meg over the doc because Meg seemed to have no ambition.  Honestly, I thought she was gone from the moment she acted like Tempering Chocolate was some sort of weird professional grade trick.  

 

Looks to me like there are  many sub-par bakers compared to GBBO but the few that seem to be contenders really, really are contenders.  

 

This is airing on cable over there so none of my real life Aussie friends are watching.  Apparently only about 25% of Aussie's subscribe to pay cable.   

Edited by bybrandy

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Finally had time to watch this week's episode! I have been watching the Great South African Bake Off and compared to the showstoppers they had in the second week (they had to create a safari scene which ended up mostly being animal shaped cookies), these 3D art structures were miles ahead. While I appreciate the artwork of Brendon's Picasso, putting two giant head shaped cookies on top of each other was so much simpler than the much more complicated 3D construction that everyone else did. It was also simpler in concept than the others. Even though Nathan's teacup wasn't super complicated, it showed more creativity than Brendon's. Pouring the ganache into the teacup was a cute idea.

 

Ben's macaron tower was pretty, and he gave himself a challenge to not only build the entire tower out of gingerbread but to make all those macarons too! Ha, I loved his story about why he started making macarons. Good for him for only taking six months to master them. Mariana's gingerbread house was a disaster but given how emotional she was about her father and whatever else was going on that she didn't really want to talk about, I was surprised that she was able to get it completed at all. I wonder if the judges decided to eliminate her so she could stay home with her family.

 

Jasmin's bakery was adorable. Although the structure it self wasn't terribly complicated, she had so much detail from the tiny cakes loaves of bread to the little carrots in the garden. Ha, I was cracking up that James chose the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang child catcher because he thought it was creepy.

 

Sian's cuckoo clock was exactly what I expect in a show stopper. It looked really impressive (even though the box itself was simple, she decorated it well which shows that she knows how to play the game). Janice's lantern was pretty and I appreciate that it was a bit more complex than a regular box with 90 degree angles. The peonies she painted on the side were very pretty too.

 

Meg was kind of a mess last week but her windmill was a vast improvement. Making the windmill actually spin was a simple addition but elevated her creation that much more. Suzy's cake stand was very pretty. Angela's cake stand looked a little crooked to me but maybe it was the camera angle.

 

This group seems to have bonded right away. Lots of hugging throughout this episode.

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What the $#&^# is wrong with the Aussies that they had to substitute a white chocolate pistachio cream for Ricotta for their cannolis?  It's not just heresy, it's a totally different cookie.

 

It's not like the show is making them seek out a market to find Ricotta, or have them make it from scratch. For a challenge like this you just supply it to them.

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Our top 10 bakers are up for the challenge that is choux pastry, making their best eclairs for the Signature challenge, a tough Paris Brest for the technical and a gorgeous Gateau St Honore for their showstoppers.

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What the $#&^# is wrong with the Aussies that they had to substitute a white chocolate pistachio cream for Ricotta for their cannolis? 

 

I kept thinking, are these people crazy?

 

Maggie Beer is an antipodean Eleanor Roosevelt. The male judge is a little forgettable.

 

Sian's cuckoo clock made me think of GBBOChristine's shortcake Bavarian tower - both well executed ideas.

Janice's hand painting was so beautiful, and unfortunately Brendon's 'art' did suffer from comparison - I'm hoping she continues long into the competition.

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Our nine bakers turn piemakers this week!  They are challenged to reinvent an Aussie icon in the humble Australian Pie. 

Their technical challenge this week is to make a perfect blood orange and chocolate meringue pie.

And let's see how the show is stopped with their take on a deep dish fruit pie.

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I love eclairs so I had high hopes for the signature bakes but man, those were a mess. I get the whole "you eat with your eyes" concept but some of the bakers really went overboard decorating their eclairs. I think you're supposed to be able to take a bite without all the decorations falling off.

 

I loathe all the pumpkin flavored things that are available every fall, so Brendan's pumpkin pie eclairs sounded so horrible to me. I cracked up when Matt said they looked like pizzas.

 

Suzy's eclairs weren't huge but the big sugar decorations would have made it impossible to eat them without removing the decorations. I was worried when she said she didn't have time to pipe on the icing and she started just slathering the icing on top.

 

Nathan's mandarin and yuzu eclairs looked pretty with the little violets on top (but sadly, I am not a fan of citrus flavored eclairs). Too bad they were underbaked.

 

Janice's blueberry and lavender eclairs had a sad stripe of icing on the top. I liked that she knew she had to be light with the lavender to avoid making her eclairs taste like soap.

 

I think Meg is not long for this competition. She was very weak in the first week and this week the judges did not seem very happy about her messy work station. She admitted that she isn't very precise and that "good enough" is good enough for her. That was obvious in how messy and uneven her eclairs looked.

 

James's passionfruit eclairs were a mess too. I don't like passionfruit but it was interesting that he talked about how Australian passionfruit isn't as sweet as passionfruit grown elsewhere.

 

Angela's coffee eclairs looked the most like what I expect eclairs to look like. They were uniform in size and had a nice coating of chocolate on the top. The flowers were small enough to be unobtrusive.

 

I had to laugh when Ben pointed out that his eclairs looked like breadsticks. I missed his explanation as to why these were mystery eclairs. Were these like Bertie Bott's Beans?

 

Jasmine's salted caramel and chocolate eclairs were pretty to look at but I hated that she put a huge flat sheet of chocolate on top of each one. As soon as she said that was her decoration, all I could think about was how messy it would be to eat. Once you bite into it, the chocolate will break and fall everywhere.

 

I laughed when one of the hosts said that the peaks on Sian's lemon meringue eclairs were very pointy. She did a great job incorporating so much lemon flavor into them: lemon curd, lemon creme patissiere, lemon thyme, and lemon curd. Damn, girl!

 

I'm very immature because I would have been making all kind of boob jokes during the Paris Brest technical. Glad to see that Ben was able to make up for his dismal eclairs.

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I finally had time to watch the end of this episode and see all the St. Honore show stoppers!

 

I'm not a huge fan of the new hosts, but I liked that one of them asked the judges why you would use rough puff vs regular pastry. I was also glad when she asked what chiboust was too!

 

Jasmine's coffee cake - Her sugar spirals were beautiful! Her cream was piped in a very pretty way.

 

Meg's Znoud didn't sound appealing to me, but I am not a fan of rose flavored food. I don't know what bread milk is but the fact that she told the judges she didn't add any flavoring/spice to it aside from a little bit of vanilla made me think it would taste very bland. And then she said it's not supposed to have a lot of flavor. Girl, what were you thinking when you decided to make something without a lot of flavor? I also hated that her sugar work was just a giant Z.

 

Nathan's raspberry pistachio showstopper looked so symmetric and neat. It's too bad it wasn't cooked enough. I loved that he said he normally doesn't make rough puff pastry and he just uses store bought. I will take fresh raspberries over the freeze dried ones any day (although I do add the freeze dried ones to granola for some tartness). When he mentioned that the cold rainy weather was actually great for making pastry, I remembered S1 when a lot of the bakers had problems because it was so hot in the tent (not the shed).

 

Janice's banana rum cake wasn't as impressive looking as I'd hoped it would be. When you then add in her creme patissiere was too loose and the puff pastry was raw on the bottom, I thought oh crap.

 

Ooh, chocolate pastry! Please come to my house, James! I loved when he threatened Suzi with his chocolate covered hands. His cake was a bit small compared to everyone else's, but the judges said everything about it was delicious which should matter more.

 

I don't normally like ginger or cardamom so I was already kind of ehhhhh on Ben's cake. It looked a little plain to me for a show stopper.

 

I was confused when the voiceover said that Brendan was stomping on the toes of tradition with his raspberry and chocolate flavor combination. That seems pretty traditional to me - not that I'm complaining because I love chocolate and berries. How could he have underestimated how much chiboust creme he needed? Didn't he practice his show stopper at home at least once? I know on the British show, the bakers film each weekend so they have all week to practice their show stoppers and signature bakes. I realize Australia is much bigger so do they go home during the week or do they film all the episodes at once? Anyway, I loved that Janice and someone else were offering to help him at the end. It ended up looking very beautiful with all the little strawberry halves standing up on top of the cream.

 

Suzi's raspberry and vanilla cake managed to look like a show stopper even without her usual glitter. Her sugar work was nice and tall which made it look more impressive. I liked that her presentation looked very neat (the St. Honore seems to lend itself to looking a little bit messy).

 

Sian's opera cake had me at chocolate pastry, chocolate coating, and coffee filling. It looked delicious with all the mousse. Loved that the judges showed how the inside of her pastry looked like paper bark so we could see all the layers.

 

Angela's lemon cake with raspberries, strawberries, and sugared violets looked very pretty in close up. The spun sugar ended up looking a little messy from farther away, like a bird's nest. Too bad she burned her caramel.

 

Congrats to Jasmine for winning star baker. Matt was totally in love with her show stopper so no surprise there. Not at all surprised that Meg was eliminated. She has been circling the drain since the first week. She had a minor uptick last week but just barely. You can't make a filling without flavor and think you will skate by.

 

 

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Choux pastry is something I've never made and I've wanted to ever since I saw it the first time on the first iteration of this show I ever saw, which honestly, I can't remember which was.  So I watched this one very, very carefully lest I learn something important.  

 

The chocolate disk eclair sounded amazing from a flavor profile standpoint but I agree, why would I want a big disk of chocolate on my elclair?   I did not get it at all and I really expected them to be more critical of that.   

 

I was particularly intrigued by Sian's lemon on lemon on lemon eclair.  One because I have lemon.  Two because I have a lemon tree in my back yard that looks like it is going to have a very, very, very lemony year.    

 

The show stopper.   I doin't see how it is possible that we didn't get any breast jokes, not even from the hosts.   Mel and Sue would not have let that opportunity slip by.    

 

Honestly, the showstopper round was a bit of a let down.  I was pretty sure Meg was going home when her decoration even from the planning segment just seemed garish and failed to contribute to the over all effect. 

 

Love cardamom.  Volunteering to eat any and all cardamom treats you eschew.    

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Half way through Bake Off and we're baking with the three main food groups this week - milk, dark and white.  It's chocolate week!

This week, our intrepid bakers tackle brownies in the signature.  A Black Forest gateau makes for a tricky test in the technical and a showstopper chocolate medley proves to be triple trouble.

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Deal! I will gladly share (and by "share" I mean "foist") any and all cardamom flavored desserts upon you!

 

I still can't remember either of the hosts by name but I find the blonde one slightly more tolerable. I think the brunette always sounds like she's trying too hard to be funny. But I agree that it seems weird that they neither of them made any breast jokes. Mel and Sue definitely would have been all over that. At the very least, they would have said something like "We want you to do your very brest on this technical challenge," or "Bring your brests up to the table!"

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Ooh, savory pies!

 

Squirrel watch: 0

Kangaroo watch: 0

Bird watch: 2

 

Side note: the two judges have been kind of useless at describing what they do and don't want but for some reason, it really stuck out this week.

Maggie: I want the filling to be moist and luscious but I want the pastry to be perfect so I can bite into it and think, "Wow!"

Matt: What I love in a pie is to have a beautiful filling - not too thick, not too loose. It's got to be perfectly seasoned.

 

So you don't want a pie filling that's dry or bland? That isn't very informative! But I love that Maggie doesn't try to be delicate about trying the bakers' wares. I'm really curious about the meat fillings though. It looks like they were allowed to bring meat that had already been cooked (which is understandable since they couldn't give the bakers 12 hours to roast or smoke meat for the signature bake). So does that mean they had the bakers make the meat at home? Or were they allowed to use store bought meat?

 

Angela's creamy lemon chicken pies sounded good. Since she wasn't roasting the whole chicken, I didn't think Maggie's concern about the breast meat being too dry was that big a deal.

 

Ben's chicken, ham, and leek pies sounded pretty good. Mmmm, chicken fat AND ham fat rendered together! Hope he thanked his wife for the recipe.

 

Hee, I laughed when Matt asked Suzy how she was going to get sparkles on her meat pies. Minced beef, potato, and caramelized onions - I approve! I wasn't sure about the capsicum relish so I found it kind of funny that Maggie said her relish was TOO good (but only because the pies weren't as good as they should have been).

 

Loved Sian explaining why you prick the pie crusts before baking them and then following it up with, "It's the only time you'd want a flat bottom." Sian's mushroom and ricotta pies looked mostly like mushroom. The filling was really packed in there (which I like)!

 

James's pork loin and prune pies didn't seem as weird as the judges thought it would be, but I'm also not a huge fan of prunes (I love plums though).

 

Janice's Chinese pork pies sounded good. I was surprised that Matt said the filling was bland though.

 

I loved chicken pot pies as a kid, so Brendan's chicken, bacon, and vegetable pies sounded good to me but another underseasoned/bland assessment from the judges!

 

I didn't understand Matt's concern about Nathan's satay pork pies. Satay is just grilled meat with sauce (not necessarily peanut sauce) so that's not any weirder to put in a pie than roasted meat with gravy.

 

While I appreciate Maggie's tip about swirling the water to get the yolk centered when boiling eggs, quail eggs are so tiny that I personally don't think it really matters if the yolks are off center. Even though it was nice of one of the hosts to offer to help when she saw that Jasmin was getting behind, I couldn't help but agree with Janice - don't let the hosts help because they don't know what the hell they're doing! I was happy that Jasmin got the eggs centered in the middle of her sage and pork pies but not enough salt? It seems weird that so many people got dinged for having underseasoned pies.

 

I am not a huge fan of chocolate and citrus together so Maggie's technical challenge of blood orange and chocolate vino cotto meringue didn't really appeal to me. I love seeing the bakers help each other though.

 

Mmmm, deep dish fruit pie! When Janice said that fruit pie is old fashioned and you don't see it much these days, I thought whaaaaaat? Loved that we got to see the bakers hanging out while their pies baked.

 

What a funny coincidence that Sian's apple and prune pie used vino cotto (which was also used in the technical). Do I need to give prunes another chance?

 

Oh, Janice. Compost pie? The name would make me think of garbage, not autumn leaves. Why not just call it spiced pear pie? I'm okay with chocolate pastry but what is custard pastry? I found it a little uncomfortable when Maggie said, "Considering you've brought your culture into many of the dishes you've done, is there a bit of you in this one?" She's not just Malaysian. She's Australian too so whatever she makes has a bit of her in it, even if it isn't obviously Asian. When she said her filling was looser than usual so she was going to add cornstarch to thicken it and teduce the amount of caramel, I thought nooooo, try draining it first! I don't know why Maggie complained that there was only sweetness. I like sweet fruit pies! I also didn't really agree with Matt's complaint that the fruit pieces were still individual. Did they want the filling to be a puree? They didn't complain that Sian's apple and prune pieces were distinct, so why was it bad that Janice's fruit pieces were?

 

James's apple, nutmeg, and custard pie sounded good. I love apple pie and I love custard! I agree that it was a bit plain looking. Loved Maggie feeding one of the hosts.

 

Considering that the show stopper challenge was to make a fruit pie and everyone else's intros specified what kind of fruit and spices they were using, it was weird that Jasmin's was described simply as berry pie. I want to know which berries! Strawberries? Raspberries? Blackberries? Gooseberries? Boysenberries? At least we saw her with the cherry stoner later. Loved how excited she was about using it, but FYI, show - cherries aren't berries. Apparently there were strawberries based on the little pastry strawberries she used on the top to decorate. Although the entire top wasn't covered in pastry (which I thought was a requirement), it looked like a beautiful stained glass window. Maggie said that she could really taste the dates so I would like to inform the show that dates are not berries either!

 

Apple and pear go together well but I wondered if it was a good or bad thing that the textures are so similar. I think I liked Suzy's pie better when it just had a few lines and hearts on it, which we saw as she was assembling it. The finished product with all those lines and hearts was a bit too busy for my taste. But the toffee apple rose she put on top was great. Too bad about that big crack.

 

I was really worried about Brendan when the judges talked to him about how he was decorating it. You can't just put an egg wash on top of a show stopper! It ended up looking better than I thought it would, but the design made the top of his pie look like a wagon wheel. Brendan's apple, honey, and walnut baklava pie looked nice when they cut into it but I could see what they were saying about only being able to cut a few slices before the filling would be everywhere.

 

Angela's pie was described as a fruit and almond pie and then the voiceover said it was strawberry, apple, rhubarb and almonds. I'm still perplexed as to why we got a breakdown of all her fruits but Jasmin's was just "berries." Anyway, Angel's pie was gorgeous. I can't believe she made 300 leaves for the top!

 

Ben's spiced pear and walnut was not completely covered with pastry on the top, which I thought was a requirement of this challenge. I'd never heard of adding saffron to a pear pie and apparently that was for a reason.

 

Nathan's apple and blackberry pie was a bit plain looking but I love both of those fruits.

 

I was not at all surprised that Janice was eliminated. She had a bad week. They said her pork pies were bland, she came in last in the technical, and they didn't love her show stopper.

 

I was also not surprised that Angela was star baker. The show stopper is weighted extra heavily towards that and hers looked beautiful. They also loved her chicken pies. And no one else really stood out in more than one challenge this week.

 

Can't wait for next week's chocolate challenges!

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OMG I LOVE MEAT PIES!! You can't find good ones in the states, or at least in the BFE of where I reside currently.

 

The size of those fruit pies was amazing. Every single one of them, even the "bad" ones made me want pie, STAT!!

 

I just love this show. Not quite as much as the British version, because I love the British judges and hosts more, especially the hosts. But the Aussie contestants are the awesome.

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Seems to me like Jasmin got screwed out of a win here. I mean she didn't actually make a mistake that affected her end product--if she hadn't TOLD the judges of her change in plans they likely wouldn't have given any major negative weight to what she delivered instead.

 

It also seems to me like these judges give a lot more weight to the Showstopper compared to even the other two rounds added together. It's the only way to explain Sian getting Star Baker over Jasmin here. I mean what good is coming what was clearly first place in Round 1, second place in Round 2, if someone else (who clearly ranked below you in both of those rounds) coming in first place in Round 3 can unseat your win that easily?

Edited by Kromm
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Carb alert, it's bread week in Bake Off! 

 

Flat breads are the signature of the day, knotted bread rolls are this week's tricky technical and a showstopping stollen rounds off the weekend.

 

Who will use their loaf and rise to the top?  And who will roll over and leave the competition?

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Ooh, brownies!

 

One thing I like about Maggie is that she always seems delighted when she samples everyone's baking.

 

I was definitely not excited about James using miso in his brownies. I like miso and I like brownies, but together?

 

Jasmine's millionaire brownies didn't seem as complicated as they described it. They kept saying it was five layers but I was like ehhhh. I am willing to concede the shortbread at the bottom as one layer, the brownies as a second layer, and then everything else (caramel, ganache, and candied pecans) as a third layer.

 

I was sure Brendan was jinxing himself when he said that he had mastered chocolate. His velvet brownies sounded really good. I mean, what's not to like? Smoked salt, chantilly cream, and a strawberry on top!

 

I would love to try Nathan's blackberry cheesecake brownies. Although I usually don't have the problem he does with eating a whole piece of brownie, I am always up for adding cheesecake! I agree with him that raspberries get all the glory in baking and blackberries are used a lot less.

 

I've never had Italian baked ricotta cake but I am not a fan of orange with chocolate (I know, I'm in the minority here). I like raisins, but not with chocolate. But I looooooove mascarpone so I was annoyed with Matt bitching about it being a frosting and asking if it was really a brownie. So it's okay for Jasmine to top her brownies with caramel, ganache, and nuts but mascarpone is a step too far? I liked that Sian explained that gooey brownies are not about underbaking them but about the ratio of butter.

 

I like my brownies to be sweet, so I was not interested in Ben adding thyme and fennel to his recipe. I like sweet and savory together but thyme and fennel? No thanks!

 

Angela's pecan and cranberry brownies were topped with salted caramel AND a salted caramel buttercream. Hey, Matt, buttercream is frosting! Why aren't you asking her if it's really a brownie if she put frosting on top? Why are you only picking on Sian?

 

Suzy's brownies were round and had a hole in the middle. Why didn't Matt ask if those count as brownies too?

 

I have a soft spot for black forest cake because we had one for my sister's birthday when we were on vacation one year. I couldn't believe that Ben messed up his layers and then inverted the cake to fix it. Nice last minute save! Brendan's confidence was apparently well warranted since he kicked ass in the technical. Poor James and his black forest trifle. Hee, I cracked up when Jasmin said she purposely didn't do as well so that Brendan could get first in the technical.

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It's a sweet treat for our remaining bakers as they dive into dessert week.

 

For their signature bake they must make their most mouthwatering individual pudding.

 

It's Maggie's turn to set the technical challenge and she asks the bakers to dish up a dried apricot Pavlova.

 

And for the Showstopper, our judges will be casting their spoons over the terrific tiered treats that our bakers construct.

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I think that in general, the judges tend to weight the show stopper much more than the signature and the technical (and not just on the Australian version - this seems true for all the different iterations of the show). It seems somewhat unfair that a baker can fail miserably at the first two but still do well if they have a really great show stopper. And conversely, it seems really confusing when someone does really well at the signature and the technical but is eliminated because of a bad showstopper, which is what happened to Brendan.

 

I KNEW that Brendan totally jinxed himself when he said that chocolate was his thing! He did so well in the signature and the technical so it was sad to see his show stopper went so wrong. I think if he had just been able to finish the other two cakes, he might have been able to squeak by. I will miss seeing his workstation which always looked like the entire kitchen exploded. I hate cleaning up while cooking/baking too and that's without the time constraints that these bakers have so I love how realistically messy his counter always is. He was very sweet to try to help Suzy figure out what was wrong with her lumpy weird chocolate. It was sad to see him mentally give up even as he kept trying to salvage enough to have something to present to the judges. I knew things would not go well for him when I saw him put his cake in the refrigerator AFTER the hosts called five minutes. Farewell, Bandana Brendan!

 

I cracked up when Sian was waxing poetic about the amazing taste of freshly roasted chestnuts. I have never actually had roasted chestnuts but I remember reading a book ages ago where one of the characters described them as tasting like something you would feed a mongrel dog you didn't like. Her yule log looked really great. I loved the meringue mushrooms. It was hilarious to see Sian make her swiss roll without any issues after seeing everyone on the Great Irish Bake Off fail so miserably at swiss rolls this week. Hers was head and shoulders above everyone else's. She showed great attention to detail and it looked very professional.

 

Ben's blossoming fig sounded interesting. Between the camembert and the cheesecake, I was excited to see if he would be able to produce something tasty or if the judges would hate it. I liked the big pieces of chocolate he used for the blossom, which helped with the wow factor. Too bad that Matt said the texture was weird. I loved that Maggie said it was great.

 

What a shame that Jasmin had to scrap her opera cake because the jaconde sponge didn't work out. But I agree that the judges shouldn't hold it against her if she had to change her original plan. As long as the final product fulfilled the requirements (and in this case, she did have the required elements of milk, dark, and white chocolate incorporated into what she presented to the judges), that's all that should matter. She still managed to make three separate cakes (unlike Brendan who only came up with one).

 

Nathan scrapping his first jaconde sponge ended up being a blessing in disguise since his second one came out so well. I also love seeing those little moments when the bakers ask for each other's opinions. And on a show like this (unlike some of those shows where the contestants are bitchy saboteurs who are there to win at any cost), you know that Jasmin advising him to make another one was because she wanted him to do well, not because she was hoping it would delay him from finishing. I thought it was cute that after saying blackberries are the unsung heroes and raspberries always get the spotlight, he used raspberries in his showstopper. I also like that he admitted that he was feeling a little insecure about his showstopper because everyone else's sounded so impressive. Cute to see James showing him how to use a temperature probe.

 

Angela produced an amazing amount of things for her showstopper but I was annoyed when both judges said during their tour around the kitchen that there might be too many elements. The first one was a mocha and pistachio tart. The second was a milk chocolate mousse. The third was a white chocolate, vanilla, and lemon mousse cake. None of those have too many flavors. Would these judges prefer a plain chocolate mousse without any other flavors? Sheesh.

 

Poor James! Can you imagine how he must have felt when he found out that the technical was a black forest cake, knowing that he had already chosen a black forest cake for his show stopper? And then after screwing up the technical, he must have been dreading the show stopper! Good on him for redeeming himself though. I liked that his choice of decorations (the chocolate trees around the outside and the cabin on top) were simple but effective. Not everything has to be complicated in order to elevate a cake.

 

Suzy's mud cake looked like Suzy. Her shoe obsession is hilarious to me. I know the judges keep saying that she always adds glitter and sparkle but are they speaking metaphorically? Or is my tv not picking up the glitter? I keep expecting to see baking glitter on her stuff. Did she make the giant cookie that she used as a stand for the mud cake?

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I haven't been following this show regularly, but I did see this episode. It made me realize another reason I hope the "franchise" and other similar shows never do weekly prizes. I don't think people would be as open to helping one another if winning the week held extra weight.

I think with Angela's showstopper, she had too many flavors if they were all sampled together. I think it was a great display when people want guests to have choices, but not for a little of each.

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Wow, Jasmin just can't win with these judges, can she?  To my counting, she's been 2nd place three weeks in a row.

 

(I know she got Star Baker in Week 3, but then she's been rooked three weeks in a row since then).

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Mmmm, bread! I forgot to buy some before I watched this episode though so I had to settle for having some chocolate gelato (in honor of last week). So many people made naan and flatbread so I was really excited to see that Sian and Jasmin were making focaccia, which is one of my favorite kinds of bread.

 

Ben's smoked garlic and fennel naan looked nice and brown. His asparagus and gruyere flatbread sounded pretty good. I like asparagus but not enough to eat a ton of it at once, so putting some in the flatbread sounded like a good way to tone down the strong asparagus flavor.

 

Angela's coriander and garlic chapati looked nice due to putting them over the flame. Her spicy potato pocket sounded yummy but I'll eat almost anything with potatoes.

 

Nathan's garlic and nigella naan sounded good (but I love any kind of bread with garlic). Thanks to the internet, I learned that nigella seeds are used to treat intestinal worms and flatulence! His aloo naan sounded pretty good because I love potatoes. Loved the blonde host congratulating him for putting carbs with more carbs, as well as his response that he wasn't here to lose weight. And I'm with the brunette host - chip sandwiches are awesome!

 

Suzy's feta flatbread seemed like a decent idea but I'm not sure what other flavor the judges wanted more of. More cheese on top? Or was the dough not seasoned enough? Her lemon chicken stuffed flatbread looked like cute little tacos.

 

Jasmin's tomato and olive focaccia looked so good. I can't decide whether or not I liked her attempt to make lemon pesto quesadillas with flatbread (I'm from California so quesadillas that aren't made with flour tortillas are not really quesadillas to me). But it cracked me up the way Matt pronounced quesadilla.

 

I was surprised that Sian was able to start making a new batch of bread in the last 15 minutes. I know it must be hard to decide between serving something that isn't right or rushing to get another batch one at the last minute. Her rosemary and truffle oil focaccia sounded pretty good but knowing that it hadn't risen and wouldn't have the air bubbles, she probably made the right call. The new version made with the same toppings on flatbread looked good. Her cavalo nero and cheese filled flatbread sounded tasty too.

 

James' chickpea flatbread looked really nice. His lemon holloumi gozleme sounded good and I liked that Maggie said his use of the lemon was very restrained. It was cute when Maggie said she'd never had gozleme before because she doesn't live in the big city.

 

Loved listening to all the bakers talk about how long to knead their dough. Even more fun to see Sian and Nathan playing slap fight and then the blond host playing mash with Suzy with tea towels.

 

Who would have thought that knotted bread would be so ripe for dirty talk? Between the blonde host talking about plump buns and Jasmin telling Nathan, "Oh, you have little penises too!" I was cracking up.

 

I agree with Matt - I love salt on bread. Poor Suzy - her bread was so flat and dense. When I saw Jasmin sifting all that flour on top, I thought noooooo! So I wasn't surprised when Matt said that there was too much flour.

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Finally had time to watch the show stopper part of the episode.

 

I laughed when the voiceover said that Australians refer to stollen bread as a jubilee twist, only because I have never had either (hi, Ben!). I know about stollen bread from watching the Bake Off series (most recently, it was the technical challenge on the Great Irish Bake Off two weeks ago). Maybe it's just where I live, but stollen bread doesn't seem to be a big thing here. Or maybe it is and I just never noticed it! I'm not really into bread with fruit in it though so it's possible I have ignored it my entire life.

 

Totally cracked up at the bakers talking about how much work all that kneading was. Coincidentally on this week's episode of the Great Pottery Throw Down, the contestants had to use slab clay which requires a lot of kneading so they had a similar conversation about how much of a workout it was.

 

Suzy's orange and fennel bread with ground cherry kernels was beautiful with that caramel bowl in the center. Loved that she didn't lose her cool when the first one broke and that she didn't mind when Matt broke her second bowl during judging. Her bowl must have been pretty strong to hold all those hard boiled eggs! It's a good thing she did so well to make up for her earlier bakes.

 

Sian's date, chocolate, and hazelnut marzipan bread. Her hand painted marzipan pears, apricots, and blueberries were gorgeous. I don't agree with Matt that the decorations need to reflect what's inside the cake (some people would call that being too on the nose). I mean, how many birthday cakes have you seen decorated with roses that didn't have any flowers inside?

 

James FINALLY stepped up his show stopper decorating this week. His barberry and fig bread with marzipan looked a lot better than I thought it would be when he said that he was going to swirl his royal icing to decorate in an organic way because I thought it was going to end up looking messy. I was so glad when Matt said that they have been waiting for him to live up to the standard he set for himself during biscuit week. It's the sixth week so James has to know by know that the judges want some wow factor in the showstopper! He was good natured when the brunette host held one of his marzipan leaves over her head and asked for a kiss.

 

Nathan's cherry and peach stollen was by far my favorite flavor combination. I am not a fan of fruity bread but I definitely wanted to try this one. I was so glad that his bread turned out well because the judges seemed a bit concerned about him using a brioche-ish recipe. When the blonde host said she could wash her hands and help him roll up his bread, I thought she was kidding so I thought it was so cute that she actually helped him roll it up. Of course, I might be a little hesitant to accept help from someone who is not a baker (maybe I'm just paranoid from watching Mel and Sue almost break things on GBBO). I was so afraid that his filling was going to fall out when he deliberately slashed his bread before braiding it, but it turned out so beautifully.

 

Angela's plaited macadamia, cranberry, and citrus stollen was definitely a show stopper. Not only was it huge but it looked gorgeous. I couldn't see the sparkle in the fondant but since Matt remarked that it looked like she stole it from Suzy, it must have been sparkly!

 

Jasmin's three strand mincemeat stollen with a rum and amaretto glaze looked nice. The icing and leaves weren't too overwhelming and I liked the addition of the ribbon to make it look like a real Christmas wreath. What does this poor girl have to do to be star baker though?

 

Oh, Ben. I knew he was in trouble when I saw the judges' faces when they saw his Frankenstein dough. Look, Ben, I've never seen or eaten stollen bread before either but if I were told ahead of time that I needed to make one, I would call every bakery within a hundred miles to see if they had one and then I would google the crap out of it to get as much information as possible about the taste and texture. Then when Ben later said that it hadn't risen as much as he thought it would, I knew he was doomed. Add to that his blatant disregard for making his show stopper look like a show stopper. When he said it was supposed to look chunky and hit or miss, I thought dude, you are deliberately making a non-show stopper! When the brunette host asked him if it was a show stopper and he said it was his version of a show stopper, I knew the only way he was not going to be eliminated was if someone else had a disaster with their stollen. He just had a crappy attitude. He kept saying that he didn't like decorating or the pomp and fluff of the other bakers' show stoppers. Well, then you are on the wrong show, mate. I really believe that the taste should be the most important factor in any baking/cooking competition, but you can't go on a show like this and think you can get away with a plain flat ring of dough.

 

Things I loved:

  • noticing how much the judges tasted the bakers' dough and mixes while they walked around
  • seeing all the bakers hug after time was called
  • watching them walk around to look at each other's show stoppers and then compliment them

 

Not at all surprised that Ben was eliminated. But I was pretty surprised that James was named star baker. I'm glad that Matt's vote was for Jasmin. Maybe he will get to overrule Maggie next week.

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First things first - I giggled like a 12 year old when they kept saying "spotted dick volcano" (followed by Maggie saying it was a mouthful of pleasure). Both judges seemed to really like Jasmin's spotted dick, and I loved how it looked when they cut it in half and you could see the filling.

 

Sian's persimmon and ginger pudding is not something I would personally like (related note: at Thanksgiving dinner, a relative brought over a bunch of persimmons and tried to foist them off on us but no one wanted any). Once again the judges thought one of her flavors wasn't noticeable enough, bit since I don't like persimmon I can't say I would mind the absence of that flavor.

 

Angela's orange, pistachio, and ginger puddings combine a lot of flavors that I don't like (I do like orange, but not in baked desserts). I agreed with the judges about how strong star anise can be so I'm glad it wasn't too noticeable in the finished pudding.

 

Nathan's dark chocolate and pear puddings sounded really good. I agree that the pear lying on top didn't look the most appealing and that glazing the pear would have helped a little with appearance.

 

James' date and chestnut puddings sounded blech to me and they didn't look very good either. And they were undercooked. It feels like he often has time management issues.

 

Suzy's date and pecan puddings looked really good, despite Matt's initial concern that her decorations looked like alien pods. And how hilarious was Maggie when she said she'd never seen the Alien movies?

 

I like apricots but I don't know if i would have liked that apricot pavlova in the technical challenge. It just seemed like an awful lot of apricot going on. I knew there was no way that James would have time to remake this meringue and still have time to finish so I was not surprised when he submitted his, ahem, deconstructed apricot pavlova. I'm glad that the judges put him in last place for not turning in a constructed final product. There were too many other people who had delicious components but were marked down because one of the apricot fillings was running out of the pavlova so it wouldn't have been fair if James had been allowed to circumvent that by turning in everything separately.

 

I say this every season of this show (regardless of the country), but I really love how supportive and helpful the bakers are. In this episode we saw James get a hug from Angela after his subpar puddings, then we saw several people try to comfort and assist Suzy, then Angela let Nathan use her proofing drawer, and Jasmin suggested that James use the star tip to pipe his show stopper. On other shows, you wouldn't see this level of genuine assistance. Ialso loved how pleased some of the bakers looked when someone else got good comments from the judges.

 

Poor Suzy! Although I will concede that ulimately it's her responsibility to make sure she's using the right ingredients, it's unfortunate that her mistake was due to the kitchen staff putting her vinegar and her cointreau in identical bottles. Despite her meltdown, she bounced back pretty quickly and was back to her usual perky upbeat self. I was really glad that she was able to remake her entire mango and passionfruit trifle before time was called. As soon as she said that one of her components was lime and coconut mousse, I started singing that song. The lemon and passionfruit meringue looked like beautiful flowers.

 

Interesting that Sian was allowed to use storebought gum paste to make her flowers when one of the contestants on the British show was criticized for using storebought fondant. I had mixed feelings about her coconut wedding cake. On the one hand, it was really beautiful. But I didn't like that all three tiers of her cake were exactly the same.

 

Angela's tower was so tall! Everything looked beautiful. I liked all the red. I really liked that the apple and raspberry crumble was served in tall clear glasses, almost like mini trifles, so that the bright red color was visible. The fruit tarts looked okay, but nothing special (all of the local grocery stores and bakeries have those year round). I was interested in the berry meringue though!

 

James managed to make his show stopper look pretty nice. I loved the little chocolate hearts standing up in the chocolate raspberry tart, and the coconut passionfruit tart looked great with all the piped meringue (thanks, Jasmin!). I only got a quick look at the pear and walnut tart but it looked okay (not quite as fancy as the other two).

 

I really liked Nathan's carnival theme but the finished product didn't look as good as I'd hoped. On top of that, the strawberry lavender donuts didn't have enough filling, the Portuguese custard tarts didn't have enough cream (or fairy floss), and the salted caramel popcorn cake was dry. In his defense, that plastic cotton candy machine was not the best quality. You really need one of those metal professional models. Those little plastic ones are basically crappy toys. It cracks me up every time the brunette host addresses him as "Ginge."

 

Jasmin's fifty shades of lemon was hilariously named and it looked beautiful, from the beautiful flowers she piped on top of her cupcakes to the ombre icing on the cake. Loved all the little macarons too. Everything tied together well too so her display was very cohesive and looked really sophisticated. She actually did four components since the cake had two different tiers (lemon, coconut and raspberry in the bottom cake and lemon, almond, and white chocolate in the top cake) which is even more impressive!

 

So happy that Jasmin won star baker again. It's about freaking time! She has consistently done well so it's nice to see her rewarded. I was sad but not surprised that Nathan went home. I think if his show stopper had been a little better, he would have had a better chance of staying and James could have been sent home after that disastrous pavlova and subpar signature.

 

Now Angela, Sian, and Jasmin have each been star baker twice, James has been star baker once, and Suzy has never been star baker. I think that Sian and Jamin are usually scored well by the judges but Sian's flavors have not been strong enough the last few weeks and Angela has had some misses so I don't think their two previous star baker awards will guarantee them a spot in the final. James has been improving but he is still making mistakes and Suzy's sparkle has diminished somewhat. In other words, I have no idea who will be in the finals.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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This week the final five roll out their pastry skills, facing a signature challenge of miniature savoury pastries, Maggie's technical mushroom, thyme and leek pithivier recipe, and a showstopping strudel.

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Nathan seems a sweet kid and I enjoyed watching him interact with the rest.  But I will not miss his "uptalk" way of speaking where every sentence rises in inflection and ends up soundling like a question.  I have a huge peeve about that. 

 

I realized how well they cast this season when I was dismayed as how reaching the final five how close to an end this has come.  I really would love a weekly show of these five baking. 

 

This might be blasphemy but I almost prefer this to the British original.  The judges and even the hosts with this bunch just seems to work.  And I thought it wouldn't.  Maggie's soft breathless "polite" voice was a bit of a turn off.  I know that is just how some people speak.  But it reminded me of growing up and how people who probably shouldn't be in charge of small children tended to speak to said small children.  That almost simpering sweet voice that kids, or at least me, immediately see through even when we don't know why.  And it can be unsettling as well as frustrating.   But she has won me over.  Matt can be a bit much sometimes because I think he falls into the area of voicing his personal preferences as a criticism a bit too strongly when Maggie clearly has a different taste.  Wanting something sweeter I can understand if the bake lacks as a whole.  Having a sweeter tooth needs to be balanced when others without express satisfaction.  It is like some of the judges on Top Chef saying they want something saltier over pointing out something lacks enough salt.  If that makes sense.

 

I'm just glad when they brought this back they ditched the jittery pop culture approach.  The first season settled down as it went on, but I loathed the blaring non-stop background music.  It never stopped.  Never.  Plus I love the music they use for this show on its various national airings based on the British original.

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The remaining four bakers take on the classics; doughnuts for the signature challenge, a passion-filled technical challenge of passionfruit tart, and a high tea showstopper that will push the bakers to new heights.

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Pastry - yum!

 

Angela's pork, apple, and sage sausage rolls sounded so good. Love that flavor combination! I don't know that you need the apple flavor to be very dominant though. Sometimes it's used to add a little sweetness, not to be a distinct flavor component. I guess Matt wanted a lot of apple flavor though. Her vegetable samosas (aka spicy pasty since Matt was being a stickler about samosas not being made with pastry) looked really nice.

 

High five to James for using suet for his pastry. Fat makes everything taste better! His salmon and ginger galettes made me wish Nathan was still around just so I could hear the brunette host offer ginger to her ginge. Just from seeing the cross section of the salmon ginger galettes, I have to agree with Matt that there was too much pastry. James's smoky beef empanada sounded good, but I loooooove empanadas so I'm biased. I bet the currants were delicious.

 

I appreciate that Sian is always trying to make good vegetarian dishes (and I say that as someone who is a meat eater). That said, she often uses at least one ingredient that I don't like. Her roasted pumpkin, feta, and za'atar pasties looked nice, but I loathe pumpkin (I'm the weirdo that Thanksgiving who doesn't want pumpkin pie) .Her roasted fennel and blue cheese danishes looked interesting but I also don't like blue cheese.

 

Loved how excited Maggie was about watching Suzy make her paper thin maznik dough. Suzy's feta maznik and her spinach ricotta maznik looked so flaky and delicious.

 

I totally support Jasmin bringing back vol au vents! The carmamelized red onion, beetroot, and goat cheese filling looked pretty with the beet root peeking out of the top (even though i don't love beetroot). Her beef mince Cornish pasties looked nice and I liked that the filling didn't collapse when they cut it in half (it's so disappointing to have a filled pastry and then only have filling laying flat on the bottom). It seemed like a terrible sign that while she was still making them, she was talking about how bland the filling can be. Then add some flavor! Don't be stupid and think you can fall back on the "pasties are usually bland" excuse. But I love that after she said she put lots of salt, pepper, and herbs in her filling, she tasted it and admitted that it was bland. Ha,and I love that Matt called her Suzy, Maggie corrected him, he swore, and then they left it in the episode.

 

Mushroom thyme leek pithivier sounded pretty yummy. Bechamel and duxelles? I would definitely eat that. It cracks me up when everyone is looking around at what everyone else is doing. Even though Sian said she'd had a sweet pithivier before, it seemed that everyone was essentially at the same place with this technical challenge.

 

Once again, Jasmin underseasoned her filling which makes me think that she usually only makes sweet things. The top of Sian's pithivier was beautiful. Interesting that the judges didn't mention that the dome was a little crooked. Sian noticed it while it was baking and I could see it when the judges cut a piece. Not surprised that Angela's was seasoned perfectly. Loved that Maggie went back for another forkful of hers. James and Suzy seemed the obvious bottom two as they were the only ones who didn't get exuberent praise. James's lack of  technical knowledge did him in. Suzy's undercooked leeks and mushrooms might have been due to being so far behind. I wonder why she spent 15 minutes wrestling with her food processor instead of just asking someone to show her to click the top on correctly.

 

I really appreicate that the bakers keep their sense of humor even when they're stressed. Angela just laughed at her flambêed crêpe and James said his would look like a dog's breakfast when he got through with it. Totally cracked up when James said that being on the show is part Brady Bunch, part Hunger Games. And I loved that amidst all the thumping and kneading, Suzy said that's what mixers were made for. Ha! But my favorite thing this week was Suzy helping everyone with their strudel. It wasn't just a few words of advice. She got down and helped everyone with their dough. I hated that Matt told her to knock it off.

 

Sian's sour cherry, almond, and ricotta strudel looked really nice without being too over the top. The stripes of powdered sugar and the marzipan cherries were all very pretty. It's too bad the filling was so crooked inside and the pastry was undercoked.

 

Angela's mango, apple, and macademia strudel looked beautiful (especially considering that she started over) and I love the apple/mango combination. I assumed that her mistakes (sugar not dark enough, filling no sweet enough, pastry undercooked) were due to her rushing.

 

James's pear and hazelnut strudel topped with chocolate hazelnut praline looked very James, which is to say like he sprinkledee some crap on the top. His flavors always make up for his lack of decoration but it annoys me that we are in the EIGHTH week and he still hasn't figured out how to pump up the volume on the appearance of his show stoppers. At this point, it feels like he's just choosing to ignore the fact that it's supposed to look good as well as taste good.

 

Suzy's cherry and bougatsa strudel sounded delicious because I loooooove custard. And that was the only one that really looked like an amazing showstopper. It was beautiful decorated on top with the little flowers but the caramel tree and the cherries were gorgeous. Loved that Maggie was so delighted with the flavor that she was hopping around. The pastry was perfectly crispy. I loved when one of the hosts said it sounded like someone opening a packet of crisps.

 

Jasmin's burnt caramel, apple, pear, and pecan strudel was pretty with the caramel on top and the little sugar spirals. It's too bad that her caramel wasn't actually burnt.

 

Not at all surprised that Suzy got star baker. Her pastry dough skills were really impressive this week. And she didn't even have to use glitter to win star baker! And I am glad that she won despite helping all of the other bakers with their strudel dough. Take that, Matt! Also not surprised that James was finally eliminated. I'm surprised he has lasted this long. He often has great flavors but his performance in the technical challenges and the appearance of his show stoppers have been consistently poor throughout the competition.

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I'm wondering if Jasmin has someone in her family that has or had issues with salt.  My grandparents both had slightly high blood pressure and salt was used sparingly  as my mother grew up and in turn I have a huge issue with salt.  I find most resturants and bakeries use too much for me.  I did laugh at her self-deprecating bit about her pastie being bland though.

 

Suzy helping the others was so fun to watch.  I loved Maggie and Matt taking it in.  I think of all the baking shows, this has been the closest group as the end nears.  And for me there is no one really I would not want to see win.  I was sorry to see James go but he always had a bit more of an issue on something a particular round than the others have seemed to. 

 

I think Suzy and Angela have had more serious wobbles when they have haven't done as well.  Jasmin and Sian seemed more middle group overall when they were not in the top.  Suzy seems the most affected when something goes wrong on one hand.  But she also seems to really dig in when she gets it together.  Angela is a bit more unflappable.  While Jasmin and Sian seem to really come from a place of "fun".  I think they are a bit more relaxed after a certain point when things go pear-shaped; like 'it is what is'.  It's hard to pick which one stands out even at this point. 

 

The group competing really helped bring this re-boot to top form and I hope the ratings are paying off.  I really want another season with this production and the same attentionn to casting.  The first season felt so "reality show" driven with the female bartender and the cocky college kid who knew nothing and was all talk and yet stayed for a much longer while than I ever expected. 

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I think they have some rather distinct terms of how to go about contructing them in the brief.  I remember hearing one of the contestants on the British show read aloud how to go about the shaping of something and it actually made a lot of sense to me how to envision it.  the results are another matter.

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Yes, although the recipes for the technical challenges often leave out things like times and temperatures, they are often specific about appearance. For the pithivier, they were told to score the top of the pastry in a specific pattern but they weren't given a picture, which is why they all had the same radiating pattern but they still looked very different from each other. In the swiss roll technical challenge, Paul's decorating instructions specified three cherries, a wave decoration, and legs of chocolate.

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You might want to clarify that the Paul you are mentioning is Paul Benton from the Irish series.  And that he is a huge overwheening arse of a judge. ;)

Edited by tenativelyyours
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Ha, yes, that is definitely an important differentiation (especially for people who aren't watch all the different Bake Off shows!). Let me go fetch my ruler.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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