Baking Dessert

GBBO Episode 7 - Dessert Week: 'Let Loose on Mousse'

The bakers were let loose on mousse last night. They also struggled with swirls and went nuts with Marjolaine (…I’ll explain later).  The heat was on in the tent, and as the temperature rose the tough got tougher and the weak began to crack under the pressure. At the end of yet another strong episode for the girls it seemed that this week the boys were either top dogs or soggy bottoms. At the end of it all we saw a surprise eviction with one of the top contenders bowing out of the competition. The curse of the Star Baker strikes again.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

Mary was in for a treat as the six remaining bakers set out to create a family sized roulade. Two of them had judiciously decided to spike their roulades with a hefty snifter – Mary issued an appreciative wink to Benjamina whose Pina Colada version sported the required rum in a pineapple puree. Jane too added a tipple to her chocolate and hazelnut creation in the hope of beguiling the Berry.

Andrew had obviously decided that after last week’s disasters, this week it was all or nothing. Carefully piping orange stripes into his fatless sponge, he set the bar high for his Tropical Holiday Roulade. He does like a holiday this chap – he even took his Yorkshires to Spain in batter week. Emulating his father’s recipe for passionfruit curd, Andrew once more took inspiration from his repertoire of family recipes to transport the judges to baking heaven.

Of course Tom couldn’t resist tweaking his classic chocolate and caramel shortbread flavours and disastrously decided to add some grated nutmeg. Oh dear – one look at Paul and we viewers feared there was only one way that this bake was going to go.

The swirl was the key to success. Jane rolled her roulade the wrong way – not enough swirl. Tom “mashed” his swirl in his rather cloying bake, but Selasi managed just the right amount of swirl and a “beautiful soft sponge”. Mel was impressed “Selasi come home” she cooed. Benjamina got the Hollywood seal of approval too  - the competition was wide open.

Home Chef can help…

Baking tray - A nice flat baking tray is essential for baking a roulade. For best results line with baking parchment before filling with the roulade mixture. 
Fans - all sorts of fans are useful in hot kitchens and in kitchen equipment. Tom sported a handheld fan to cool his cakes, and if you can stand the heat you needn’t get out of the kitchen – just find a fan on Home Chef.

Marjolaine  - technical mystery cake

Marjolaine – really? Where on earth does Mary find these obscure technical challenges. Who else would know that the world is so full of extraordinary cake recipes? This weeks’ technical was layers of nutty meringue intricately piped and decorated with more nuts. The Marjolaine is of course another of those fiendishly inventive creations that the French have dreamt up to prove to us pesky Brits that only Parisians can cook patisserie. Our bakers however were out to prove them wrong.

The bake required more nuts than Squirrel Nutkin, and all these nuts required different techniques. Luckily,  “my nuts are looking nice and golden brown” said Tom as he toasted his almonds. A praline was required. “Nuts and caramel – like Berry and Hollywood – a match made in heaven,” declared Mel. Oops – this was quite clearly filmed pre bake-off split-gate. 

The nutty dacquoise or meringue, was laid reverently in the baking tins, and placed oh so carefully in the oven. Having baked it was then left to cool in the same oven that had now been turned off – a good tip if you want to avoid cracks in your meringues. All these layers of meringue reminded Andrew of a Vienetta “but posher”. “It doesn’t get any posher than a Vienetta my darling,” declared a cheeky Sue.

The final displays on the gingham alter brought mixed fortunes to the bakers. Selasi whose layers were “a little bit drunk looking” took bottom spot narrowly from Tom, whose cake was “going all over the place”. Andrew once more rose to the top “I’m really, really chuffed,” he beamed. 

Home Chef can help…

Gingham tablecloth - Create your own gingham alter and display your baking masterpieces for the delectation of family and friends. 
Oven gloves - Tom used one of these to prop the oven open while cooling his meringue – but as you know, they have more traditional uses. A kitchen safety essential. 

Mini-mousse takes the mickey

In all they were required to bake twenty-four mini-mousse cakes. Yes, twenty-four of these tricky little blighters. And what’s more the episode had obviously been filmed on one of the hottest days of the year so the bakers and the mousses wilted in the steamy atmosphere of the tent.

“They need to be small, high ended and sophisticated, a little like Susan and myself,” declared a very on-form Mel. I’m almost wishing the pair would put a step wrong so we wouldn’t miss them so much next series. 

The flavours were mainly chocolatey and fruity – lots of sharpness with blackcurrants, lemon and raspberries, and velvety smoothness with mocha and minty chocolate combinations. Never have I wished more that I could be a bake-off judge. 

Jane who this week was open about her desire to win, was getting a bit carried away with her bakes “We’ve been in a chocolate abattoir Jane,” commented Mel, keeping a safe distance from the well-spattered figure of the over-heated baker. “It’s better than being in the gym,” she breathed heavily. Meanwhile Candice who had obviously decided to keep calm and bake cakes this week, was floored by an over stiffened mousse. “If I could swear I would,” she said with great restraint.

Selasi was downcast. “They haven’t set. Disaster,” he intoned like a floury Craig Revel-Horwood. And Benjamina was having setting problems too – her mousse cakes were decidedly on the tipsy side. However – taste them and “Oh wow – they’re amazing,” announced a jubilant Paul, whilst Mary couldn’t resist. “I’m going in for another bit,” she cried plunging her fork once more into the sublime chocolate coffee mousse cake.

Andrew’s roller coaster bake-off journey hit the high point with a ferris wheel of mousse cakes that wowed the judges. “The whole effect is stunning” they swooned, “and it tastes divine”. You don’t get much better than that and at last he was pronounced Star Baker.

But it was Tom who hit the buffers this week with his stodgy bakes failing after a decision to pipe rather than spread his mousse. If only he could have resisted the temptation to innovate quite so much, Tom might have made it through to the end – but instead he became the first Star baker of bread week not to make the final, much to Paul’s chagrin. But he went graciously enough “It had to be me this week,” he agreed. 

So we are left with the fabulous five – the quarter finals await. Tudor week - that’ll be fun. Marzipan, biscuit knots and raised pies are in store for us. I can’t wait.

Home Chef can help…

Masons bowls - Sometimes the old traditional tools cannot be improved on. Your grandmother will have had at least one of these mixing bowls in her kitchen – so should you. 
Blue plasters - Used in all professional kitchens because they can be easily spotted if they fall into your cooking, have a pack of blue plasters to hand in your home kitchen too. It makes sense. 

Follow our GBBO blog every week on the website and on our Home Chef Facebook page – @HomeChefUK. Don’t forget to post your ideas and comments on the unfolding Bake-Off story, we’d love to hear from you!   

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