This week, the Great British Bake Off returned to a classic theme, which seemed to bring things slightly back to normal on the show that has been dividing audiences this year.
I was delighted to see Dessert Week return to The Great British Bake Off tent after, especially last week's lacklustre theme. Usually, this week is where the top bakers really shine and those at the bottom of the pile start to single themselves out. Luckily for us, something seems to have pulled the judges and the behind-the-scenes team together, resulting in a much more cohesive and enjoyable theme this week, which saw the bakers tasked with creating a layered meringue cake, a verrine and a bombe dessert.
The Signature Challenge
To kick things off this week, Paul and Prue challenged the bakers to create a layered meringue dessert that must contain at least three layers and be large enough to share with friends. Straight off the bat, I missed Helena's zany style and wondered what she would have created this week, but instead, I watched in amazement as Rosie split her ganache and Priya pulled together a weird-looking mauve creation. How these pair are still in the competition is a mystery to me.
Prue and Paul, who were particularly picky this week, weren't overly impressed with any of the boys' creations, much to David's chagrin, so it was Steph and Alice leading the way at the top of the table.
While Paul may have felt that Steph's creation contained too many nuts, it looked delicious and apparently tasted just as good. Alice's cherry-flavoured cake might have lacked a bit of oomph in terms of flavour, but overall the judges were impressed with her effort.
The Technical Challenge
Thankfully, someone has reined in Prue and Paul and given them a rap across the knuckles about their weird and inaccessible Technical Challenges of late, because this week's challenge was perfect: not too hard, not easy and certainly not as bizarre as some of the others!
The bakers were challenged to make a verrine and, judging by their faces, they had no clue what that meant. Luckily for them, Prue had set the challenge and given ample instructions, meaning that everyone actually got something on the plate this week, which is certainly a change for Priya.
The verrine consisted of various layers set in a glass, including mago compote, coconut panacotta jelly, streusel and a sablé biscuit to finish the dish. The very elegant dessert was just enough of a challenge for the bakers, as it required them to set each layer before adding the next.
Unfortunately, Priya struggled again (are you sensing a theme here?) and her layers weren't fully set, so she came bottom of the pile. At the top of the rankings were Alice and David, showing that the race for Star Baker was still wide open at this stage.
The Showstopper Challenge
The bakers were challenged to create a bombe dessert - which seems to be a very brave choice from the judges following Bingate in season five, which saw a bombe Alaska thrown in the bin after another contestant removed it from the freezer - including set elements and beautifully decorated.
From the get-go, Steph was out in front of the pack and showing off her skills by producing a beautifully elegant bombe made with chocolate mousse, coffee bavarois and a perfect mirror glaze. As the only baker to not use sponge in her bombe, she took a risk but it paid off in the end, resulting in her being named Star Baker for the third week in a row, a first for the Bake Off tent. I'm going to call it right now and say that surely Steph will be crowned this year's winner. She's going from strength to strength and producing some absolutely stellar goods, so I'd be surprised if she doesn't take the title.
On the other end of the scale, Michael, Henry, Rosie and Priya were all circling the drain having served up less-than-impressive dishes. Thankfully, the judges came to their senses and eliminated Priya (several weeks too late, in my opinion), meaning that the other three get to fight another day. I sense that Rosie will be next on the chopping block, but we'll have to wait and see - nothing is certain in Bake Off.
Innuendo Of The Week
Michael heard the word nuts and ran with it this week, creating one of the funniest sequences we've seen on this show. Telling us that waiting on nuts is the story of his life was television gold, so I'm glad he wasn't eliminated, purely on the innuendo front.
Tune in next week for our review of The Great British Bake Off.