He’s here to make truffles and suck blood. And he’s all done making truffles.
If you’re after a chocolate showpiece that has a miscellaneous piece of gubbins gently rotating on a pedestal just to the left of it, but not quite part of it, well I’ve got some options for you!
With only four teams left, that can only mean one thing: A Secret Challenge! Also, it’s Chocolate Week again which means the teams have to feature chocolate in their mystery 12 person sharing dessert. I was also glad to see that after two weeks of trial and error, the teams seem to have finally realised that the massive jar of white chocolate is indeed a trap
I’m very proud of all of their growth.
Not happy with just settling for chocolate, the teams also have to find a way to feature white and black sesame in their desserts, which is maybe somewhat easier than trying to shove grapefruit into a dark chocolate mousse as the unfortunate batch previously had to do.
They were given sesame in all its different forms – seeds, pastes and oils. There were also a few pitfalls to be found here as because Cherish is a sadist they had given them pre-toasted black sesame seeds and untoasted white ones because SURELY the chefs will know
Sweet baby angel Stefano, I am so sorry.
So with their double toasted sesame they were making a crumble base and further packing in a sesame punch by infusing a dark chocolate mousse with sesame oil, which did indeed break my rule of Food Should Never Be Grey
and it was apparently as upsetting to taste as it is to watch gently ooze down the side of a container
There was just a touch too much sesame for Benoit, quite how Cherish felt about it I don’t know but considering she spent most of the other critiques pondering where all the sesame was, I think Stefano and Sara made up for it. She did at least like the look of the dessert, which I can only describe as the Icelandic coast through the eyes of a pointillist artist
also Botamon from Digimon (which fulfils my quota of irrelevant media references for the recap.)
While the judges seem a bit iffy on the use of sesame, they did at least like the way they paired it with a ginger and lychee compote, which does sound divine. Geanina and George didn’t have quite the same success story in terms of their flavour combinations because even after their little couple’s taster session in which they decided to flavour their jelly layer with strawberry instead of jelly, Cherish still found it a touch overpowering.
But their dessert looked good
I like that Geanina pulled out all the stops and after last week in which she didn’t get the chance to add the white chocolate lace to her cone-shaped desserts and she managed to pull off her redemptive lace this time. Quite why they decided to cover the white chocolate flower with sesame seeds as though it’s been completely infested with aphids, I don’t really know
Kate Greenaway never got around to explaining what additional aphids meant in The Language of Flowers, so maybe it is a deeper declaration of love.
Overall it was a good round for Geanina and George with Benoit at least being impressed with their ability to always make simple flavours deliver on a multitude of levels and George just has that magic touch
Move over Salt Bae, there’s a new guy in town!
While George and Geanina went relatively simple because they don’t tend to use sesame in their cakes, Lerrick and Lineker were going all out because they use quite a bit of sesame, although not too much because apparently we’re spreading rumours that Benoit hates Asian flavours – it’s just a sensitivity to yuzu.
The default for the episode was very much: just make a dark chocolate and sesame mousse and then just pray that Cherish and Benoit don’t have an issue with whatever fruit you layered between it all. In Lerrick and Lineker’s case they were making a mango and passion fruit compote and going that little step further and incorporating a sesame crème brûlée insert – having layers of crème brûlée sitting inside your dessert seems to have become a bit of a thing this year, I don’t know if it’s ever gone down particularly well but hey, keep trying I guess! You’ll eventually wear Benoit down.
The judges did like their presentation though, which was very pretty
I don’t know if they needed the branches, but the roundness of the flowers and the sesame seed tuiles is very aesthetically pleasing. Although, Cherish wasn’t going to not have a gripe about something and called it “not clean enough” despite the fact it was bordering on clinical, her issue seemed to be that the white chocolate collar around the side was marginally too big
Nobody does petty like Cherish Finden.
While the other teams got on pretty swimmingly with their challenge – Stefano’s sesame related woes aside – Keiron and Rebecca were having a bit of a nightmare as they demoulded their creation only for it to not quite stay together and then the both of them had to pat it into shape like they were trying to rebuild a sandcastle as the incoming tide tried its best to demoulish it
and so the final result was a little sad to look at
it reminds me of the really unsettling urban exploring photos of abandoned Olympic stadiums. This was once a proudly burning Olympic cauldron that now stands sadly dormant and rusting. But you know, considering at one point that it looked like this
maybe things aren’t *too* bad?
There isn’t much in the flavours to save them either as their newly external mousse is overly aerated and strange to eat and there’s a distinct lack of sesame.
A Chocolate and Sesame Dessert Ranking
- George and Geanina’s Garden Nightmare
- Lerrick and Lineker’s Dense Mousse in the Springtime
- Stefano and Sara’s Pointillist Icelandic Coast
- Keiron and Rebecca’s Heavily Patted Mousse
A Real Horror Story
Ending Chocolate Week 2: Electric Boogaloo is another challenge involving truffles – I think, we can debate nougat later – and another entirely chocolate showpiece, except the theme this time isn’t The Robotic Apocalypse but is instead House of Horrors, which yes, did many just about every team made edible eyeballs, some significantly more disturbing than others.
The only team not to go with eyeballs was Keiron and Rebecca whose showpiece was high concept to say the least. Basically, a pastry shop had been built on a nuclear waste dumping ground and thus the pastries have mutated into man-eating monsters. The thing I loved most about it was Keiron becoming increasingly more bashful as he described it to Benoit who almost immediately decided he hated everything about it.
But the pastries weren’t complete savages, they weren’t going to eat raw patissier flesh, no they were going to cook him first and thus began the Saga of the Rotating Cooking Pot, which never quite came to complete fruition, but boy did I love the gently turning chocolate leg
Star of the show, I have no complaints.
Cherish and Benoit did however, as the nuclear dumping ground was… well… a nuclear dumping ground
I’m amazed that they got as much of it standing as they did considering the entire thing collapsed at one point and the camera operator RUDELY perfectly positioned themselves to get a focus pull from Rebecca having a nightmare to a shot of a chocolate skull
It’s a little on the nose.
As for their truffles, they were certainly pushing the boat out with a chocolate barrel filled with Szechuan pepper ganache and calamansi gel, Calamansi being a citrus fruit that is sometimes referred to as both the Philippine Lime and the Philippine Lemon to which I say “PICK A CITRUS LANE!”. The judges aren’t overly enthused, once again there is too much Szechuan pepper and the calamansi is almost undetectable because it is but a thin insert inside
they just overall much preferred their other truffle, which is quite the accomplishment considering it had minced up crickets inside it, but you know, only 15 grams of them, a sensible portion with a balanced breakfast!
Some people took the House of Horrors a little more literally, particularly Lerrick and Lineker who just made a house straight out of a 90s Tim Burton movie, complete with spinning windmill, the spookiest of farm buildings
I admire Tom Allen for the valiant effort at making the phrase “spooky spinning chocolate windmill” sound even remotely ominous and not like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – which given the general theme of the novel probably would have seriously injured a child. The judges love it and it’s nice that Lerrick and Lineker finally put together a showpiece that could withstand even the most basic gravitational pull.
Their first truffle was a coffin filled with marshmallow and hazelnut praline, which is a little safe, especially considering the other teams were ladling pepper and crickets into theirs. I am also slightly surprised that Cherish didn’t call them out on how big they were
I’m not complaining, but I was sure Cherish would have an issue with the fact that’s clearly a three mouthful coffin.
Their second truffle was much more adventurous, and is the first of our eyeball trio!
yes, they were using Szechuan pepper but they were also adding red chilli and hoping the raspberry filling and white chocolate shell would mellow it all out, and thankfully it did! It’s a really interesting sounding chocolate and given the judges’ reactions I’d make a trip to their place if they started making them regularly.
Not to let Lerrick and Lineker completely steal the show, George and Geanina, being Romanian, really had no choice but to create a chocolate reconstruction of Dracula’s castle and MY GOD, DID THEY EVER
It’s an incredible amount of work to get done in the time, and to have it all standing perfectly! I do wish they had maybe varied the tones of the chocolate and added more texture to some of the walls because the piece does kind of blur into one almighty brown behemoth. And of course their moving element was just a generic chocolate skull that gently spun on the side, doing absolutely nothing, it might have been better to have done something with the bats but also, maybe we retire the moving element parts of these challenges? They never really work.
Their truffles got mixed reviews, their chocolate, orange and whiskey eyes, looked really good
but the shell was a touch too thick and the whiskey flavour a little too strong, which isn’t much of a surprise given that George kept telling Geanina to add more and more
Some people can handle their whiskey, Benoit.
Their second truffle was originally sold as “Dracula’s fangs” and… in the original story did he have donkey teeth?
I’m just not seeing it.
They’re filled with pretty much every single sweet, toothache inducing substance known to man, including marshmallow, puffed rice that is DEFINITELY NOT RICE KRISPIES and more caramel. The judges do note that they’re incredibly sweet but they do like them, how much of this is a genuine critique and how much of it is based purely on the face can’t say anything mean to a man that’s dressed in what might be a child’s vampire costume could be debated all night long
I for one welcome our new vampire overlord.
Lastly we come to Stefano and Sara, who were indeed also making chocolate eyeballs
although their eyeballs weren’t actually very chocolatey as they made the BAFFLING decision to fill them with a completely dry, sawdust-like concoction of chocolate crumble, raspberry powder, pink peppercorns and cinnamon. It’s very The Cinnamon Challenge from 2012 and I don’t think anything said quite as much about it as Benoit cutting it in half and tipping out the sandy contents like he was scattering someone’s ashes
neither of the judges were particularly big fans of them and so Stefano’s and Sara’s hopes lay in their brain shaped truffles which probably could have looked a little more like brains
right now they’re teetering slightly more towards jellyfish, which notably lack brains entirely.
They don’t go down much better because for whatever reason they were possessed by the idea to fill them with a bell pepper nougat and caramelised buckwheat, the latter of which they kind of liked, the former is a hellish concept that both of them should be publicly apologising for.
As for how they presented all of this, well they forwent building any kind of discernible building and simply erected a scarecrow called Skully with a horrifyingly good skull head
For their moving part, well they originally just had a gently rotating pumpkin off on the side (I stan the bare minimum effort) but Skully decided he was going to be the moving part
it’s full marks for flair and flourish in Stefano’s attempted save – that raised ankle? He is beauty, he is grace!
As for Skully?
Godspeed, our redeadened friend.
A Chocolate Showpiece Ranking
- Lerrick and Lineker’s Haunted Windmill
- George and Geanina’s Chocolate Transylvania
- Keiron and Rebecca’s Toxic Mishap
- Stefano and Sara Kill a Dead Scarecrow
It was a stellar week for both Geanina and George and Lerrick and Lineker – either of them could have been first but just clinching it with their raspberry and chilli truffles is Lerrick and Lineker.
The elimination could have gone any which way too but ultimately I think it came down to track record and sadly Stefano and Sara just fell slightly short
They’ve had a rocky time in the competition but they were always willing to try something big and bold and so I will be sad to see them leave, I want to know where you go after you’ve done bell pepper nougat?
And so next week, we have our top 6 as the two groups merge!
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