For the first time ever, the Great British Bake Off was focused on all things dairy-related this week, with the contestants tasked with producing a cultured dairy-based cake, Tudor tarts and Indian mishti sweets.
Firstly, a quick word about this week's theme. For the first, and probably last, time, this week's episode was dairy themed, which is barely a theme in our eyes; there's dairy in nearly every baked good! The challenges were just about connected to the theme and, while I like to see the competition expose food that's not just British and beige, the mishti sweets didn't actually require any baking. After last week's veggie burgers, this seems to show that the judges have decided to continue down an outlandish route of barely baking and I am not happy, especially not after last night's result. However, I digress. On to the recap!
The Signature Challenge
For their first challenge, the contestants were tasked with creating a cake made with cultured dairy, such as buttermilk or yoghurt. It seemed like a bit of a pedestrian challenge, even though Paul Hollywood was concerned about the contestants overbaking their cakes, as cultured dairy is so commonly used in baking already.
The clear winners in this round were David, Steph and Michelle, whose bakes were deemed moist, flavoursome and beautifully decorated. Steph's chocolate and raspberry buttermilk cake looked absolutely delicious, while David's limoncello and poppyseed yoghurt cake was a definite crowd-pleaser, with Prue sneaking a bottle of the zesty spirit into her pocket for later on.
Unfortunately, some of the bakers seriously struggled this week, none more so than last week's Star Baker Michael. Aiming to keep his cake moist, Michael inserted a band of cheesecake around the centre of his bake, telling Sandi that he'd make the cake 10 times that week but only one version had been a success. Sadly while in the tent, his cake failed him again, with half of it remaining in the tin. He managed to get it onto the cake stand in time for judging and slap some icing onto it, but it didn't look great. However, the judges deemed the flavour a great success, so there was a slight silver lining for Michael.
The Technical Challenge
Bizarrely, this challenge was Tudor-themed, with the contestants tasked with making 12 Maids of Honour, sweet tartlets favoured by King Henry VIII. The Maids of Honour required blind-baked rough puff pastry, a layer of lemon curd and a section of baked cheese curds, which were then topped with a Tudor rose – whatever that is – made of icing sugar.
Literally every baker struggled with this challenge, thanks to its minimal instructions and weird ingredient combinations. Priya came bottom of the pile, only serving up four tartlets which were nearly raw. Gothic Helena was also in trouble, having stuffed up her pastry and accidentally producing shortcrust instead of rough puff.
While Paul declared that all 10 bakes were very bad, Steph came first and David second, cementing their status as front runners this week.
The Showstopper Challenge
This week's showstopper was an odd one. It was nearly like the producers had their backs against the wall with this bizarre theme, so they picked a random challenge out of the air and hoped for the best.
The contestants were challenged with making Indian mishti, which are brightly coloured, milk-based sweets that are popular at weddings and celebrations. While it was great to see the contestants tackle something a little different, they all seemed a little baffled by the amount of time required for these sweets, so much so that Paul and Prue changed their minds and allowed the bakers to substitute condensed milk for one of their sweets halfway through the challenge.
Michael seemed to redeem himself throughout this challenge, producing the Indian flag through his mishti with mango, pistachio, lemon and rose flavours. Henry also struggled this round, producing an ice cream-based treat that never set, causing him to deem the mishti only suitable for those in prison, possibly.
Prue was impressed with Priya's saffron-infused mishti, but considering her previous bake, we weren't sure if that would be enough to save her. Unfortunately, and quite surprisingly, Phil was eliminated based on his garden-inspired mishti that Paul complained were too childlike and basic. It seemed unfair to send home such a middling contestant while there were clearly other, less successful bakers present at the time, but alas, we are not the Bake Off judges.
On the other end of the scale, Steph continued to impress, whipping up rose, pistachio, mango, date and walnut flavoured mishti, which won her the title of Star Baker. David was close on her heels, seriously impressing with his carrot, fennel, cardamom, mango and kewra water-infused mishti.
Innuendo Of The Week
There were no overtly hilarious innuendoes this week, but the best of the week has to go to Henry, who declared that "At least my balls are firm". This resulted in the best reaction shot of Prue I have ever seen: she seemed to be both shocked and entertained, barely holding back laughter, which of course, was pure entertainment for the audience.
Next week's episode is Roaring Twenties themed and we're not really sure what that means, so tune back in next Wednesday for our next recap.