Bake Off: The Professionals, Series 4, Episode 4: Snow White And The Bad Vibes

Things didn’t go great for Slimer after Ghostbusters 2.

A new batch of contestants arrive to take on the perils of a tiramisu and one brave soul attempts to set an entire bowl of custard with but 5 grams of gelatine.

Seeing as it’s a new batch of teams this week, let’s meet them all!

Stefano and Sara

Repping Italy and Turkey they’re certainly no match on the coffee dessert making front, just don’t ask them about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Keiron and Rebecca

I’m excited to see if their modus operandi is to just sneak a snifter of whiskey into every dessert, they paid for that Redbreast and they’ll be damned if Benoit doesn’t like it!

Nessie and Domino

It is absolutely essential that you sing their names like Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. Also, put both of them on the inevitable 2023 reboot of Gladiators, they were practically born for it!

Nessie and Domino’s Shark Cake

I think young Bruce here has all it takes to get to the final, just don’t ask him to carry anything.

Lineker and Lerrick

Yes Lineker is named after Gary Lineker and I imagine Lerrick is named after Lineker’s own attempts to say his name when he was a year old.

George and Geanina

Nothing but respect for MY Presidents. If anything bad happens to them I will take someone to court over it, you’ve been warned Benoit! I’ve played enough Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney to know how to win.

Sarah and Cristina

So fresh, so hopeful, so naïve to the evil that awaited to befoul them in this competition.

May all their pastries be crispy and their chocolate chocolaty.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

For their first challenge the teams have to make 24 individual portions of both a Lemon Meringue Pie and a Tiramisu – the general unspoken rule was that the Lemon Meringue Pie had to be quite classical and ordinary and that they had to reinvent the tiramisu, but not too much because that would be silly. I don’t know why they have them two such ordinary desserts, there’s only so much you can do with a tiramisu and after 2 people made Mushroom Tiramisus on MasterChef, this was always going to be a little too tame. That’s not to say that some of them didn’t try to jazz up their tiramisus with additional ill-advised flavours: step forward George and Geanina who were pumping theirs full of cherry

it’s certainly impactful, there is however a slight inelegance to its size and the fact they’ve lumped a macaron in there like an asteroid hitting the earth’s crust – it’s a little Patisserie Valerie. The judges can’t fault the making of it, the textures and layers are correct, Cherish’s ruler doesn’t even make a special guest appearance despite the fact they hand cut these bad boys. Sadly it just doesn’t take Benoit to Tiramisu Land (opening in Treviso this summer!)
Their Lemon Meringue Pies didn’t quite live up to the glowing praise of their Cherramisus

mostly because they had about 4 of them that they hadn’t managed to cover and the meringue was incredibly unstable as Cherish gleefully showcased by holding one aloft and watching the raspberry slowly ooze down the side of it

all their hopes lay on the taste and well Cherish made this face so I think we chalk it up as a loss all round

amazingly, nobody dared to introduce Yuzu to the Lemon Meringue equation, the furthest we got from lemon was Stefano and Sara sprinkling loomi (which is dried lime) over the top of their Lemon Meringue Pies and inadvertently making them look a lot more like tiramisus

they’re not the tidiest looking things in the world but Cherish took it very personally and her only critique of them was that the meringue was, and I quite directly: “WRONG!”. No elaboration and somehow that’s all the more damning.
Their Tiramisus on the other hand got more of a positive reception with their clean and precise coffee glaze finishing

it’s hard for me to look at anything that’s kind of rounded, shiny and very pale and see anything but an Adipose from Doctor Who, so I can’t say I’m a fan but I’m happy that their glaze came out so well! There was meant to be a chocolate decoration, I don’t think it needed it. They would have benefitted from better balancing the coffee and cardamom (I am on record as saying you can never have too much cardamom and I’m sticking to that, Your Honour.)

Keiron and Rebecca also opted for an oblong shape with their Tiramisus in the hopes of making them look like Ladyfinger biscuits, going so far as to stamp them with the traditional name Savoiardi, the effect is a little more along the lines of someone called Savoiardi branding his own eclairs because his flatmates keep eating them

they had laced them with whiskey in an attempt to combine an Irish Coffee and the tiramisu but Benoit felt the coffee was lost against such a strong flavour. Their Lemon Meringue Pies however went down a treat, that was after Cherish spent a couple of seconds shaming them for the breakages in the cases

but by this point, Cherish and Benoit were just happy to have a meringue that was enjoyably edible.
Lerrick and Lineker also managed to produce a nice set of Lemon Meringue Pies and probably had the most elegant batch of the lot

their use of the leafy garnish could have probably been a little more uniform. I also enjoy that they were aiming for meringue to look like a mountain range but the final effect is more of a cute pudgy snake.
Their Tiramisus were also inspired by nature with their chocolate shells looking like hollowed out logs and that’s kind of where the theme stopped because it was then topped with some coffee sponge and some gold leaf

they also lack a little bit of coffee and I think they could have pushed the concept a little further, there just wasn’t really very much to the dessert beyond the presentation.

Nessie and Domino also had an ambitious plan for their Tiramisu presentation as Domino set about creating 24 chocolate mugs and then layering about 6 different components into them, one of which was crème Brûlée

if any of the desserts had failed this week, I’d have put a fair amount of money on it being this one and yet, they pulled it off

at least they did aesthetically because unfortunately they had committed the act of violence that is serving Cherish instant coffee

Benoit however didn’t really seem to care and gave them a high five for their worries

What’s the conversion rate of a Benoit High Five to a Hollywood Handshake?
The presentation of their Lemon Meringue Pies didn’t quite read as well with the judges, I personally quite like them, I think there’s a certain whimsy to the flowery, cloud-like appearance that doesn’t feel too twee

and for Cherish the curd is just a touch mellow and could have used much more zing.

And then we have Sarah and Cristina who learned the hard way that on a TV competition show you always have to check the freezer settings as their moulded Tiramisus didn’t quite set enough in a blast freezer that was meant to be -20 but was only -5, but they persisted nonetheless and I just want this very ugly potato-y looking dessert to know that I love and support it

Happy Pride Month to it ONLY.
It was an unfortunate series of events because the concept was great, it just looked like a coffee bean massacre

and it was a little more unfortunate that a coffee bean shaped dessert didn’t taste coffee-ish enough for the judges – but A+ concept design!
Unfortunately their Lemon Meringue Pies didn’t manage to claw them back many more points as Sarah uttered the fateful words “It’s my mother’s recipe!” – which never ends well on this show and their meringue pies did look a little homespun

they just lack a certain level of polish and Cherish now apparently has a vendetta with Sarah’s mother and her meringue recipe, it’s pistols at dawn ladies.

An Unofficial Lemon Meringue Pie and Tiramisu Ranking

  1. Nessie and Domino’s Cup’a’Instant Coffee
  2. Stefano and Sara’s Coffee-ish Adipose
  3. Keiron and Rebecca’s Cracked Lemon Meringues
  4. Lerrick and Lineker’s Coffee Log
  5. Lerrick and Lineker’s Meringue Snake
  6. George and Geanina’s Cherramisu
  7. Keiron and Rebecca’s Whiskey Domination
  8. Nessie and Domino’s Zingless Cloud
  9. Stefano and Sara’s Deceptive Lemon Meringue Pie
  10. George and Geanina’s Slippery Meringue
  11. Sarah, Cristina and Sarah Mother’s Meringue Recipe
  12. The Great Coffee Bean Massacre of 2021

Let The World Crumble

For this lot’s first Showpiece Challenge they had to create a showpiece that elevated the humble fruit crumble to new, loftier heights – that’s 70cm to be precise. Now, the obvious choice here is to just use apples, which is exactly where most of this episode went but some teams used cherries or rhubarb. As for the apple contingent, well there’s two apple concepts that have been done to death and should probably be avoided AND YET both Snow White and The Garden of Eden made their appearances.

Stefano and Sara were taking on the legacy of Snow White with a pair of entremets consisting of Elderflower and Vanilla Bavarois and a Bramley Apple Compote which were then going to be studded with Hazelnut and Rosemary spikes, which unfortunately look a bit like dog biscuits

they at least managed to make the whole thing taste incredibly apple-y but because the iconography of Snow White is so well known and the fact they didn’t in anyway try to engage with any aspects of the fairytale beyond the poison apple, the showpiece looked more like a witch’s grotto

which only gave Cherish bad vibes and she seemed particularly upset by the absence of the 7 dwarves.

As for the Garden of Eden, that was being taken on by Domino and Nessie who had grand plans of creating a staircase to heaven that they wildly oversold to everyone and I’m sure they’re having to deal with a lot of people on the Internet telling them that The Forbidden Fruit was actually most likely meant to be a pomegranate – NOBODY CARES BRANDON.
Aside from constructing a series of stairs that they promised Liam could use, Domino was also having to deal with the difficult task of creating a very delicate dessert

and it didn’t start off very well as her pastry halos were rather prone to screwing her over at any chance they could get

so she did have to Frankenstein them together using cooking chocolate, not that some of them were particularly happy with their newfound undeadness and promptly threw themselves off the showpiece

Despite the few tragedies, Nessie and Domino’s final showpiece was rather impressive

the judges rave about the technical accomplishment of the whole piece, which is heavily deserved, but texture-wise, Cherish wanted a little more lumpiness in the apple, which becomes a bit of a gripe for most of the teams other than Sarah and Cristina who topped off their desserts with what looks like a dog bowl full of apple chunks

Hey, if it makes Cherish happy, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Much like their first round, these two faced numerous issues, the first being that their entire concept risked severe copyright claims from Disney so trying to explain the Guardians of the Galaxy concept to Cherish was like playing the worst game of Charades with your grandmother on Christmas day

and I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that originally, their showpiece did look a lot more like Groot because as it is, the theme is more lost than Snow White and the bad vibes from earlier

for what it’s worth, the texturing on the tree is very good.
The much more pressing issue for them was the fact that their entremets pivoted on the gimmick that the custard would melt in your mouth, well Cristina apparently thought 5 grams of gelatine (that’s a single leaf) was enough to hold it all together. Readers, it was not enough gelatine to hold it all together

someone check under Sarah’s patio, please? I’m concerned for Cristina.
The judges don’t even get around to telling us how it tastes, I can only assume it was apple-y?

The last of the Apple Contingent is George and Geanina who were at least bucking the trend of using chocolate to create their showpiece, instead focusing on luminous green sugar that did look like George was some sort of Bond villain creating a uranium based weapon to take over the world

I for one welcome our new Romanian overlord.
Their concept was simple: we’re just going to make a lot of small individual apples that will taste like apples and that’s exactly what we got

they achieve maximum lumpiness, maximum crumble and most importantly Maximum Apple and were very quickly declared the top one of the evening despite the fact Cherish and Benoit had only tasted 3 other teams’ offerings.

The first of the non-apple crumbles is from Keiron and Rebecca who were looking to Keiron’s Yorkshire roots and using Yorkshire rhubarb to create a layered dessert consisting of a Vanilla Bavarois and a Rhubarb Cremeux that looked upsettingly like processed ham

there’s just something about that particular shade of pink!
Luckily it was hidden beneath everything else so instead their largely white dessert with a geometric rhubarb pattern on top just looked like a piece of fancy crabstick sushi

it’s a little sparse all round and their showpiece which had promised to be a cascade of crumble ingredients and kitchen utensils didn’t quite live up to the expectations

but it’s still pretty good and did at least remain upright!

Finishing off our foray into Crumble Elevation are Lerrick and Lineker who were creating a showpiece based around the deforestation of Goa with their cherry crumble inspired desserts. As it turns out, there’s no such this as a Goan cherry, but it would have been harder to sell Benoit and Cherish on a crumble made form either bananas, mangoes, guavas or papayas but I’d have loved to see them try!
In order to illustrate their deforestation theme, they created a giant chocolate axe that hung over their desserts at a very precarious angle and it was all looking fine until it wasn’t

Thematically, it’s on point. Just call it theatre and Benoit and Cherish would lap it up!
The judges were very kind about the whole thing and acknowledged that they did actually manage to get it onto the table and because of the heat of the kitchen and the studio lighting, it didn’t stand much of a chance. It also helped that their cherry desserts tasted nice, of course Benoit did have to get one jab in as they used white chocolate in their mousse.

A Fruit Crumble Showpiece Ranking

  1. George and Geanina’s Bid For World Domination.
  2. Lerrick and Lineker’s Extinction Rebellion Performance Art.
  3. Domino and Nessie’s Staircase To Heaven.
  4. Stefano and Sara’s Accidental Witch’s Grotto.
  5. Keiron and Rebecca’s Fancy Crabstick Sushi.
  6. Sarah and Cristina’s Not-Groot, Please Don’t Sue Us Disney.

Due to the fact everyone was a little all over the place this episode there’s a joint winning slot between Lerrick and Lineker and Domino and Nessie which I think I agree with. It was however a pretty cut and dry decision as to who was going to be eliminated with Sarah and Cristina finding themselves as the recipients of the chop

I think it was very much a case of struggling to find a footing in a very unfamiliar kitchen and set up, I have no doubts that they’re both incredibly talented and I hope we maybe see them again in 2 years time for one Hell of a redemption arc.

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