We’ve reached the quarterfinals on The Great British Baking Show Season 14 Episode 8, “Party Week.” In this episode, the bakers are asked to do intricate catering jobs; while some succeed, others don’t understand the assignment.
There is tension in the air as all the bakers arrive this week. With only five bakers remaining many are nervous because one thing is clear. There is no room for error.
Signature Bake: Sausage Rolls
A great way to start off the quarterfinals is with one of Paul Hollywood’s favorite pastries: the sausage roll. A bake that breaks the stressful tension with some innuendo.
Tasha: No one likes a small sausage.
The bakers have two hours to make 12 identical sausage rolls.
This staple requires perfectly laminated dough and well-seasoned filling, but as with all signature challenges, the bakers can put their own spin on this classic party food.
And some really put their own spin on it.
Dan keeps up his travel-inspired bakes with his sui mai-inspired sausage rolls. He’s combining prawn and pork with his filling, with a soy dipping sauce, and it’s a decision that has Paul Hollywood asking, “Why?”
Paul: I do like siu mai. However, sausage roll, is one of my all-time favorite foods. And then you blend them together. This better be good, Dan.
Josh is also taking a different approach. Entering the tend ready to share his love of Christmas food, he is adding turkey to his sausage mix along with Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, and apricots to deliver Christmas in a sausage roll.
However, Tasha is taking a more middling approach. She’s stretching her sausage roll by adding in some fruity flavors with pork, apple, and a layer of apricot and apple sauce.
Matty is also incorporating apples into his sausage rolls, but adding a touch of chili flakes to give them an extra kick.
Others go a more traditional route.
Meanwhile, Christy is working with a more traditional sausage roll with pork, sage, and onion filling and a layer of homemade cranberry sauce.
Filling and baking these pastries is the most stressful part of this episode. In order to avoid soggy bottoms the bakers need to rotate their bakes and if the timing isn’t right they’ll end up with underbaked pastry.
The judging for this challenge is especially fierce. Primarily from Paul, who is basically just on the hunt for a proper sausage roll.
First up is Tasha. She has some great pastry dough but it’s a little underbaked. However, her flavors are strong. Another 10 minutes in the oven and they’d have been perfect. Paul even tells Tasha to pop them back in before they leave the table.
Next is Dan’s siu mai sausage roll which Prue notes tastes Chinese and Paul says he’s not a fan of the flavors.
Dan: Anything’s allowed in pastry, surely.
Paul: But not a sausage roll!
Next is Josh’s Christmas roll. His dough is his main problem, but his flavor is okay. The filling is also very dry, a problem that comes from the turkey meat that Josh introduced into the recipe.
Christy’s bake is up next. Her bake is too pale and her rolls have a lot of soggy bottoms. Her filling is perfectly seasoned and gets high praise.
Last is Matty’s who has a very good presentation and a crisp bake. The judges bite into them and are pleasantly surprised by the kick from the chili. A risk that earned Matty a Hollywood Handshake.
Paul: Thank you for bringing me a sausage roll!…It’s delicious! The onions really work. The apple really works. The chili is great in there.
Technical Bake: Catapillar Cake
Going into the technical challenge, the bakers realize there is little room for error, even with something as simple as a chocolate caterpillar cake.
The bakers have two and a half hours to create this cartoonish chocolate caterpillar with a chocolate cake, chocolate meringue buttercream, and a chocolate ganache.
Matty: I mean I’ve eaten ’em. But I’ve loads of stuff, and I couldn’t tell you how to make most of it.
At the outset, it looks like a very simple bake. However, this cake is 16 steps and there are construction challenges involved if the bakers don’t read through the recipe carefully.
There’s a lot of artistic ability that goes into creating a caterpillar cake as well. Meringue decorations need to be created as well as a face.
When it comes time to create the ridges for their caterpillars, Christy and Dan manage to cut their cakes the wrong way. Dan, the kind of making things twice, opts to push forward, while Christy remakes her cake.
As usual, there’s a rush to the end as the bakers decorate and then it’s time to judge the cakes.
While the overall look of a caterpillar is usually inviting, the artistic skills of some of the bakers have led to more frightening cakes. However, this is also one of the funniest technical judgings of the season so far, made possible by the artistic skills.
One of the stars of this section was Tasha’s artistic rendition of Noel’s face with massive pupils and sideburns.
Paul: Legs are good. Antenaee is there. It’s got Noel’s face on the front.
Prue: With his tongue stuck out…but it’s not scary.
Noel: Thanks, Prue. Mine or the cake?
A few of the complaints that the judges had overall were overbaked and dry cake, and a few very messy presentations.
The caterpillar cakes are then ranked from last to first place.
Coming in fifth we have Dan, who cut the ridges wrong. Josh comes in fourth with a cake that Prue describes “a bit tough.” Matty comes in third for his underbaked cake that’s otherwise very nice. Christy comes in second with a delicious cake, but not a strong presentation.
That leaves Tasha, and her Noel cake, in first place for the technical challenge.
Paul: Tasha, this is pretty good. You have all the elements in place and it’s beautifully round as well. That’s a decent cake. Well done.
Prue: Even if it does look like Noel!
Showstopper Challenge: Anything But Beige Dessert Buffet
Going into the showstopper challenge, Matty and Tasha are performing strong leaving Dan, Josh, and Christy in danger of possibly going home.
For their last party week challenge the bakers have four and a half hours to make an “Anything But Beige” buffet featuring sweet and savory desserts. They are looking for a colorful and highly decorative display.
This challenge tests the baker’s ability to handle volume and order of operations. They want wonderful displays but they also want the bakers to know their limits and be realistic about what they can cover in the time they are allotted.
And it’s very clear who might be setting them up for failure.
Dan is working with a prehistoric theme, creating dinosaur-themed tea cakes, curry pies, lemon shortbread fossils, and white chocolate dinosaur eggs. Six bakes happening at once and a lot of skepticism from the judges.
Other bakers are prioritizing precision. Josh is one, with a meticulous schedule worthy of a holiday feast for his Christmas display. His display consists of white chocolate snowmen macarons, choux bun Christmas puddings, and couronne wreaths for a savory addition.
Matty is going with a sports theme and has four bakes with different textures including creme brulee doughnuts, tennis ball macaroons, cricket ball pies, and a cupcake golf course.
Christy is working with a Willy Wonka theme, celebrating her favorite childhood film. Her display will consist of Swiss roll lollipops, lemon meringue cupcakes, candy cane cheese twists, and spiced patties shaped like sweets.
Meanwhile, Tasha is working with the theme of a farmyard party. She’s working with Viennese biscuit wagon wheels, choux bun lambs, and milk bread pig buns.
The four hours of work are cut together with organized chaos as the bakers all juggle the different parts of their bakes with different techniques and some judge commentary.
When the timer runs out it’s time for the judges to weigh in on the “Anything But Beige” buffets.
First up is Christy whose Willy Wonka display fails to impress visually with Paul Hollywood calling it “rough and ready.” Her candy canes are not baked enough. All of her flavors present well though, but the judges note that the presentation is not what they would expect.
Matty’s display is next. Prue thinks that the display is clever for the different-looking finish on each ball. Matty’s doughnuts taste okay, but his inexperience with a deep fryer resulted in a tough doughnut. His macaroons are uneven, but the lime curd is delicious. His cricket ball pies and the cupcakes are also delicious.
Tasha is next, and her judging is one of her worst so far. Her Vienesse wagon wheels fall apart. Her blackberry lambs are labeled as “disappointing.” However, her bread impresses the judges proving that bread is one of her strong points. She also gets the note that her desserts are a bit beige.
Dan’s colossal pre-historic display is next. The six desserts look nice and there’s a lot going on with his buffet. For his first pie, he gets the note that it’s dry. His biscuits are beige. His chocolate is too thick. And overall, he comes away with the note that if he had done four instead of six he could have gotten them all perfect.
Last is Josh’s Christmas buffet, and he delivers on precision. His couronne looks nice and Paul, who was initially worried about the addition of spinach to the bread dough, says they’re delicious. and calls them a triumph. His Christmas pudding pastries and his macarons also earn high praise.
Elimination and Star Baker
After the showstopper elimination, the judges start discussing who will be going home.
Christy comes up first. While the judges like her flavors they agree that the issue is that her bakes don’t look polished enough. On the other hand, Josh kills it with precision.
Dan is another one who could go, because of his inability to pair down his showstopper to do a few things exquisitely.
After some debate, they announce that Matty is Star Baker this week.
It’s no surprise considering Matty got a handshake and did have a well-presented showstopper with enough different elements. Yes, he probably shouldn’t have risked the doughnuts, but even without it, his display was still pretty strong.
And now, the last thing to do is announce who is going home.
Unfortunately, this week it’s Christy. It’s not surprising considering how poorly her bakes were received. She’s had setbacks in the past but managed to bounce back. However, with the competition tightening, it has felt like she’s been slipping more in the last few weeks.
Still, she’s had amazing bakes throughout the competition and has accomplished a lot that she can be proud of.
Now there are just four bakers and two episodes left and there is clearly no room for mistakes going forward.
The Great British Baking Show airs new episodes Fridays on Netflix.
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