Bake Off 2021, Patisserie Week: Adopted Plum Children

The Union Jack bunting somehow makes this scene even more murdery.

It’s Patisserie Week in the tent which can only mean one thing: many, many distressing textures.

Layering Up

Kicking off the notoriously difficult Patisserie Week was a challenge for the bakers to create 8 patisserie-style layered slices – but they wanted them to be finessed and stylish and not the intimidating behemoth doorstops that Patisserie Valerie tries to pass off as elegant.

With the call for sophistication and elegance, it’s no wonder that Jurgen decided to draw his inspiration from an Opera Cake but potentially sensing that his Bake Off oeuvre was leaning towards well made but a little dull, he was trying to jazz them up. Which he could have done by adding an interesting flavour but no, the twist in this tale was murder most foul

U ok hun?

the difference between Civilian Bake Off and Bake Off: The Professionals is that on Bake Off: The Professionals, there would have been a liquid beetroot gel centre in this that bled out when cut because if Bake Off: The Pros has taught me one thing, it’s that professional patissiers are utterly unhinged.
Instead Jurgen was opting for a beetroot buttercream, which still required him to be elbow deep in beetroot juice and walking around the tent looking like he was about to be on the 10 o’clock news

the problem with beetroot in desserts is that it’s a bit of a gimmick, I always remember the first time someone on MasterChef said they were going to make a beetroot chocolate cake and everyone was amazed and then it got to tasting it and nobody could taste the beetroot and John Torode said “If you can bake a pilchard into a chocolate cake and I can’t taste it, it’s just a chocolate cake.” and sadly for Jurgen this was much the same story because all Paul could taste was the coffee, and anything that reminds him even vaguely of Freya’s 8 shot espresso brandy snaps that had him smelling colours isn’t going to fly with him SO NO HANDSHAKE. And the beetroot hadn’t even added that much red to the dessert

it’s unclear if he wanted it to be redder or not though because too red and the whole thing might have been a little too… visceral.
I do think his layers are also a touch too thick, they just lack a little elegance but the tops with the all too lovingly made tuile daggers piercing the Os are quite fun

I shan’t dwell on his chocolate penmanship.

While Jurgen somehow struggled to draw the redness out of his beetroot, Chigs wasn’t having any trouble with his raspberries as he created a distinctly Lizzie shade of red for his jelly topping

he wasn’t being particularly creative with the brief, out of all the bakers’ offerings his felt the most like a frantic Google search to find something that you could potentially make with only 1 year of baking experience, a time limit and Noel Fielding hovering around you dressed as an Olsen twin

that being said, he pulled off a stonkingly stylish dessert

but in true Chigs-style he was being a little down on himself about the fact his layers weren’t the most pristine, and while they might not have passed a Cherish Finden stratum inspection, they were plenty good enough for Paul

I must say, I’m only invested in Hollywood Handshakes when it’s Chigs he is after all… My Boy™ – with everyone it’s a polite clap and a nod.

And just to cement this episode as Jurgen’s Villain Origin Story, Giuseppe was working with coffee as he drew inspiration from a Tiramisu, thus beginning his Italian Meringue Apology Tour, which almost went tits up from the off-set as somehow he forgot to put the flour in his sponge and scrabbled like I’ve never seen someone scrabble before

Have you ever seen a frightened lizard? It’s very that energy.

Luckily for him he managed to scrape the flourless batter out of the baking tray and add the flour, all the while having to field an interview with Paul who, like an Absol, has a knack for showing up at the site of imminent disaster. Me, making niche Pokémon references? Never.

In order to make sure that he wasn’t just making them a tiramisu he was adding a layer of marsala soaked sultanas, which I feel like he could have just scattered or chopped up and layered them in and not, you know… blended them up into a uniquely cursed substance

I like sultanas. I like marsala. I don’t like THAT.

His sultana and marsala gloop did hinder him slightly as he struggled to cool it down meaning the putting together of his dessert was somewhat hurried and frantic, resulting in one of his less tidy looking bakes

there’s something very… Pyramid Head from Silent Hill about those piped chocolate decorations.

Paul and Prue didn’t seem to mind the slight slump in Giuseppe’s presentation standards and Paul very pointedly made sure to emphasise how good Giuseppe’s managing of the coffee flavour was, but he was mostly just there for the marsala wine and who can blame him

I too shake anyone’s hand after I’ve had an Italian’s tiramisu amount of marsala wine.

Lastly we have Crystelle who was definitely going the most Bake Off: The Pros with her slices, by which I mean she was using yuzu AND BOY WAS SHE USING YUZU

I thought we were in for Prue and Paul being turned inside out with but a single taste of her desserts, which were an ambitious creation featuring coconut, black sesame, white chocolate and somehow not miso

they’re definitely the most Patisserie Valerie of the lot, those things could hold open the thickest of oak doors but I do love that it looks like she’s created an army of monarch butterfly caterpillars

Yuzu often results in disaster, it’s a very strong flavour but ultimately Paul was very impressed with her layering of the black sesame and the yuzu flavours

Jurgen, how you holding up big guy?

Don’t worry, you always do well in the technicals!

An Unofficial Layered Slice Ranking

  1. Crystelle’s Caterpillar Army
  2. Chigs’s Patisserie Chic
  3. Giuseppe’s Apologetic Tiramisu
  4. Jurgen’s Murder Cakes

I Wouldn’t Breton It

For this week’s semi-final, Prue had set the bakers quite the challenge with them having to make a Sablé Breton Tart featuring Raspberry Confiture, Pistachio Mousseline and Meringue Kisses and Chigs was struggling to keep up with just the description

Things did not improve for My Boy™ as somehow within minutes of the challenge starting he had already misplaced the piping nozzle for his meringues and was forced to.. make them by hand I guess? Which honestly makes the shaping of them quite impressive?

unfortunately they came out of the oven looking a little too brown around the edges

and because he had overbaked them, they very quickly shrank and it looked like he was making artisanal Iced Gem biscuits

but he had a partner in meringue mayhem, or at least for a short while, as Crystelle’s first batch looked more like a practical effect from Ghostbusters than it did a meringue mixture

she at least had time to remake hers, by the time Chigs had realised his mistake he was sadly married to those ever decreasing meringue blobs. But that wasn’t the worst it got as his pistachio mousseline was pretty much a liquid but I admire his valiant attempt to pipe it nonetheless

and in true Bake Off style, he had no choice but to stick it in the fridge, close the door and hope for the best, making this particular reveal one of my all time favourite Bake Off moments

I cannot tell you how much I love this little trash heap

it’s like a memorial statue to all those that fell in The Great Dessert War – there is nothing but mourning and destruction in a sweet, sticky glaze here. He had at least known to not try to line a tart tin with the biscuit dough though, a pitfall that both Crystelle and Giuseppe fell into, because Jurgen obviously kind-of-sort-of knew what a Breton Tart was so naturally came the closest to looking vaguely like Prue’s example tart

the biscuit was a touch overbaked though but they praised it wholeheartedly from the mousseline up.

Because the two of them had lined their tart tins like you would a standard tart, both Giuseppe and Crystelle ended up with extremely thin biscuits which Crystelle had evidently realised and decided to invoke her soothe system and retreated to her happy place of piping pretty patterns

which yes, would very promptly be covered by the fruit

Paul does wonder where the entire 2 punnets of strawberries each baker was given went but Crystelle just wants you to appreciate her piping skills again, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Giuseppe meanwhile had defaulted to making a pattern with his strawberries

and who could blame him when his mousseline was rapidly solidifying and approaching the texture of a Fruit Pastille left in the sun

the fact he came second with that pistachio mousseline is particularly damning of whatever Chigs and Crystelle created.

An Official Breton Tart Ranking

  1. Jurgen’s Encyclopaedic Knowledge of Niche European Pastries
  2. Giuseppe’s Crouching Italian, Hidden Mousseline
  3. Crystelle’s Validated Piping Skills
  4. Chigs’s Pastry Trash Heap Whomst I Love

Let Me Entremets You

To decide who makes it to the final, the bakers found themselves having to make a themed banquet-style display consisting of 12 Entremets and an edible centre-piece. It was pretty exciting coming into the showstopper because everyone was on a pretty even keel, although I do think Jurgen had the most catching up to do despite winning the technical challenge – it can only count for so much and being the only person not to get a handshake does kind of help single you out for elimination.
He was certainly being ambitious with his Torii Gate display, both in that he needed to bake 42 biscuits to create his gate sculpture but also he was using matcha, a flavour almost designed to be hated – there has never been a more cursed time for the Starbucks menu than the Matcha Latte Era of Spring 2018, I can STILL feel that coffee sitting in my stomach all these years later.
With his 42 biscuits to bake, he did have a momentary panic as he realised he hadn’t baked one of the key pieces and so with half an hour to spare he began frantically rolling out his essential gingerbread crossbeam while Chigs was over in the other corner celebrating the fact his gingerbread centrepiece required only 2 (two) pieces to make

still managed to break it though didn’t yah?

but we’ll get to Chigs and his apple tree in a bit.

As for Jurgen’s entremets, the display was certainly cute, but as the judges said, it lacks a certain level of flair, the green could have also maybe been greener? Or did Lizzie take all of the food colouring away with her?

or those boat plates could have had more of a design on them. But while the look of the entremets might not be astounding, the judges do praise him very highly for the balancing of the matcha mousse and raspberry jelly, with the matcha mercifully being more of a background note.

I personally began mentally packing Chigs’s bags the moment he gleefully told the judges that in all of his practices of his entremets, they had never worked… And everything seemed to be leading up to a Chigs elimination, from the aforementioned breaking of the 2-bit apple tree to the very gradual chameleonic change colour his mirror glazed apples went through

AND YET, Paul was just about moved to tears by the caramel and white chocolate mousse filling and the way it perfectly balanced with the dark chocolate shell and the caramelised apple centre. And for one brief, fleeting moment I thought Paul was going in for a second handshake

it turns out he was just gesturing at the, let’s admit rather rudimentary, apple tree and its adopted plum children. If I were Chigs I would have just leapt for that clammy orange fist and never let go.

While Chigs had the praises for his flavours sung to the heavens, Giuseppe wasn’t quite so lucky but his display of the Leaning Tower of Pisa which has apparently been relocated to Teletubbyland, was very polished looking

I’m sure you’ll get it back eventually, Italy.

I was intrigued by his flavours, especially the pine nut bavarois but sadly that turned out to be the biggest disappointment due to the fact it didn’t taste of much – in fact the whole dessert was lacking in flavour beyond the cherry in the middle of it all but texturally, it was all pretty sound and they couldn’t have hoped for better!

Crystelle’s display was themed around her sister’s postponed wedding, but it was a happy centrepiece, not a very depressing, pandemicky Havisham centrepiece. Of course she was mostly using it as another opportunity to pipe roses

some of us have therapists, Crystelle has a piping bag.

As for the flavours, she was keeping the spirit of Jairzeno alive and I’m pretty sure had likely exhausted the Down Hall Hotel’s entire breakfast supply of passion fruit

and then between her and Giuseppe using an Ace of Cakes amount of Rice Krispies they’re down to a very stark breakfast in Essex

I was a little worried about Crystelle’s colour choices, her pre-poured jugs of mirror glaze were a distinctly Get Your Own Back shade of perturbing orange

luckily for her, the whole thing looked much more appealing once she had poured it over her entremets

visually, it’s very pretty and certainly catches your eye, her entremets could have probably been a set a little firmer, which I think she would admit too given how much she struggled to demould them in one piece, but given the struggle she had she really pulled it out of the bag! And all Paul had to say, after doing the horrible fake out, was that they were flawless and with this particular bake clearly meaning a lot to her, Crystelle was very overwhelmed by it all

am I a late stage Crystelle stan? I think I might be!

An Unofficial Entremets Display Ranking

  1. Crystelle Practicing For Her Sister’s Wedding Desserts
  2. Chigs’s Applum Tree
  3. Giuseppe’s Leaning Tower of Dipsy
  4. Jurgen’s Entremets Armada Will Sail at Dawn

Given that she had had a very, very good Showstopper and a very successful signature bake and then not being a total disaster in the technical, it was a well deserved semi-final Star Baker for Crystelle

and then came the hardest bit, mostly because the obvious choice was Jurgen but everyone must have also known that the human embodiment of Paddington Bear was going to be The Twitter Darling of the Season, and sure they could have just done a non-elimination and had a 4 person finale but they would have also been mercilessly accused of favouring Jurgen who was, all things added up, kind of the weakest player this week and sadly, they do the deed and Jurgen narrowly misses the final

a decision that had Crystelle looking like a deer having some sort of earth shattering premonition

God bless those Disney doe eyes, they’ll launch 1000 memes.

And so, we have our three finalists

If you’ve enjoyed recap of Bake Off’s Patisserie Week and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi account HERE.

Leave a Reply