Can you believe it’s the quarter final already? (I definitely can’t!). The competition stepped up a notch as the final five battled for a place in the semi-finals, in rather cheery Hawaiian shirts (as an ode to Jon, who left the competition last week) but- as Paul and Prue got critical- the atmosphere in the tent got a little sad.
This week, the bakers said ‘Velkommen’ to the tent’s first ever Danish Week. This week saw the bakers dish up delicious Danish delicacies and, as usual, Paul and Prue picked each offering apart showing the stakes really were high for the quarter final.
DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE EIGHT AHEAD!
The bakers weren’t exactly familiar with the ingredients and recipes put to the test but, even considering that barrier, most of them did pretty well. This week (cue the gasps) there was NO Hollywood handshake(s) even though, at least in my opinion, some bakers did actually deserve them.
Kim-Joy continued to produce wow worthy bakes, Briony showcased her skills and Ruby (who I’m glad to see still going strong, even if it just feels like she’s there for Paul Hollywood to flirt with) proved she was a contender.
Danish Week kicked off with a sandwich-y Signature Challenge, in which Paul and Prue asked the bakers to make two varieties of Smorrebrod which- I was happy to find out- is basically a fancy open sandwich. They had to use Danish rye bread for the sandwich part, but had free reign to fill it with what ever they wished.
The bakers produced a variety of scrumptious sounding sandwiches, featuring tomato swans, a post work-out wonder, the cutest little bees and a Smorrebrod with enough toppings to feed the entire tent (and then some). Most of the bakers impressed, but nobody managed to bag themselves a Hollywood handshake (so it seems, Bread Man Paul isn’t that fussed on sandwiches after all!).
Next came the Technical Challenge, which saw the bakers create 14 Danish aebelskiver, a doughnut/pancake hybrid featuring cinnamon and apple (I never knew I wanted it, but I do). The challenge started with the bakers, unsure what 90 degrees looked like (Maths isn’t my strong point, so I’ve probably been there, too!) but- eventually- they got to grips with the challenge and (minus a few exceptions) produced absolutely amazing looking aebelskiver.
Finally, it was Showstopper time! What do you make for a Showstopper on Danish Week? Well, human shaped pastry (Kagekona) traditionally eaten on birthdays or other occasions, of course!
The bakers made various Kagekonas, one for royalty, two for friends, one for a sister and one for a Nan. Though each person looked delicious, the bakes weren’t short of problems and- gasp, shock, horror- there were a few more ‘F’ bombs dropped in the tent from the person we all least expected.
When it came to the result, I was shocked. After predicting the result perfectly last week, I couldn’t have been more wrong (on both results) this time around. Ruby emerged from behind the scenes to pluck the Star Baker crown from Kim-Joy’s grasp (despite her and/or Briony deserving the accolade this week, I think). The biggest shock, though, was the baker chosen to leave the tent.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Manon did perform poorly this week but- really- it wasn’t fair for the judges (Paul in particular) to penalize her for being French and (despite his previous performances in the tent) Rahul couldn’t hack the challenges this week so (with that in mind) he should have gone home.
Even though I should stay loyal to Ruby, I think my money’s on Kim-Joy to win (although Briony could do it, too, and I wouldn’t mind at all if she did). As usual, though, you never know what’s going to happen- it really could be anyone’s game.
Next week, the fab four face Patisserie Week, the Semi-Final!
That’s it from me, for now, but you can expect the second entry in my Dissertation Diaries on Sunday when- hopefully- I’ll talk about the progress I’ve made this week (fingers crossed, eh?)