This week, its the semi-final and Mary-Anne, Janet, Holly and Jo are all competing for a spot in next weeks final.
First, the contestants tackled the signature bake with Holly and Jo both making a genovese cake with a fruit mousse filling, Janet making a delicious sounding chocolate amaretto verion, and Mary-Anne making a chocolate and orange mousse cake. Janet seemed to be improvising her recipe as she went along bless her, and Holly was having no luck getting air into her batter.
As the contestants cooked and assembled their intricate cakes, Sue and Paul mumbled about how hard it is to create a stable structure using mousse, Mary-Anne put some of her sponge on her cake the wrong way round, and everyone looked terribly worried. In the end, the judges found a few flaws but overall really liked everyones cakes (and seemed relieved at no longer having to eat SO many cakes!) – there’s not much in it between the final four contestants!
Next up – the technical challenge! The contestants had to make Paul’s iced fingers recipe. I’ve never in my life seen iced buns cut in half and filled with jam and cream – are they familliar to anyone else? I do LOVE iced buns – there’s nothing better than a really fresh one.
This week, we also got to see more about the contestants home lifes and how they got into baking which was interesting – I can’t believe Mary-Anne has more than 700 cookery books! Where on earth does she put them all?
The last challenge this week was the danish pastry challenge. The ladies made a technically pastry dough (the same method by which you make croissants) which they needed to use to make three different types of pastry each. Since the dough needed to rest for TWELVE HOURS after being made, Sue took over to tell us about the history of croissants – they’re not actually french but may in fact be austrian? They’ve also only actually been popular in france for around the last hundred years, which is incredibly recent for something that we think of as being quintessentially french.
Back to the pastries, and the contestants run through the types of flavours that they’ve chosen for their creations. Mary-Anne’s praline spirals sounded amazing, as did Janet’s classic pain au chocolat.
During the prep, Hollys love of preparation once again stood her in good stead, as she’d been practicising croissants (which are very easy to get wrong), while poor Janet looked on with her rather scrappier looking croissants!
The pastries in their baskets ready for judging looked SO AMAZING and very professional too! First to be judged was Holly, whose croissants looked FANTASTIC and wonderfully authentic. Next was Janet with her ‘land of the giants’ pastries. Paul and Mary immediately noticed her badly constructed croissants and found a couple of other flaws with her pastries too. After Janet was Mary-Ann, whose pastries looked fantastic (especially the lovely pink ones). Unfortunately the rose pastries were undercooked inside, although Paul and Mary loved the flavour. Mary-Ann also made savoury pastries and praline catherine wheels again the judges found flaws in her baking.
Last was Jo’s lovely looking pastries – they really did look like something you’d find in an excellent bakery – I don’t think Paul and Mary found anything bad to say about her efforts!
So who will go home this week? Janet exited the week before the final (always a bit heartbreaking!), which felt fair – the other three cooks are so fantastic and quite a bit more skilled than Janet seemed to be.
So your finalists are Holly, Jo and Mary-Anne, baking up a storm at a street party. Who do you think will win?!
Check out the recipes from this weeks episode, including iced buns and chocolate and amaretto mousse cake here!