Bake Off: The Professionals, Series 5, Episode 6: Professional Divorce

No matter where you go, or where you stand the Mousehole Cat will always have a slightly drifting eye on you.

Content Warning: Tentacles on the Internet.

It was this heat’s turn to tackle Chocolate Week and much like last week Stacey “The Hoover” Solomon was very much on the prowl for any bowl of chocolate that was left unattended for longer than 2 minutes

and honestly the speed at which she pounces on her chocolaty prey is really quite admirable

a peregrine falcon has NOTHING on her.

Round and Round the Garden

It was another workload heavy challenge with the teams having to make 2 sets of 24 desserts – the first being a spherical dessert which was mostly just so that Benoit could spend a considerable amount of time saying the word “balls” and stressing how much he didn’t want them to be boring. And the second dessert was basically The Bee Themed Dessert Challenge in disguise with Cherish prompting them to draw inspiration from Spring – and sure enough Ben and Dinesh were very quick to take the bait with their springtime tartlets that featured a Bee Pollen Ganache, which Cherish wasn’t overly keen on because it was a bit “bitter” – I imagine because the tartlets lacked the secret ingredient: Love as Ben and Dinesh had a full on marital breakdown over how Ben was making the pastry

but before they could start throwing the dinner plates at each other and turning the competition into a Ryan Murphy melodrama, Stacey stepped in as the emergency couple’s therapist

I hope Love Productions paid her for this gig.

In order to save their relationship Ben ended up nixing the tart case and using a feuilletine base instead, so they went from Tartlets to… Mont Blancs cosplaying as fried eggs?

given that the design concept was changed amidst a potential professional divorce I think they’re really good! Cherish was a little disappointed that the piping was a little uneven, so I guess Ben can kiss his chances of success on The Great Pottery Throwdown goodbye

but never fear, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they commission Britain’s Next Top Pilot.

Their spherical dessert arguably suffered more as what was once intended to be a model of the earth ended up looking like an army of naked Mr. Bumps

and Cherish just completely eviscerated them with a single look

and if you were hoping the cut-through would save them as they had promised distinct layers of strata, well…

has there been a better visual metaphor for the state of the world?

The solar system turned out to be a popular source of inspiration for the spherical desserts, and given that space had been exhausted and mostly destroyed in the last episode, by the time the third team had told Benoit about their orbital inspiration he was regretting his passion for geometry

for their sphere I Shan and Jojo were drawing inspiration from the moon, which is the most boring of the celestial bodies so this result is entirely on them to be honest

it doesn’t help that they didn’t quite get around to finishing them as it turns out wrangling the moon is considerably harder than Art Garfunkel made it sound

and Jojo wasn’t the only one struggling to get to grips with the spheres as Cherish and Benoit came up second best against their ball of Hazelnut Sauce in the centre

this is why we don’t eat Ferrero Rochers with a knife and fork. Once they did manage to get into it, it did have a quite a satisfying splat

and the judges mostly liked how everything tasted, they just thought the desserts needed more coffee mousse to “balance the bitterness of the chocolate mousse” which to me, a patisserie heathen, sounds like it would have the opposite effect?

Enrico and Antoine were also going to space, with their spheres being inspired by meteorites which Benoit had some issues with and proceed to gatekeep astral bodies

Gatekeep. Girlboss. Gas Giant.

I am entirely unsurprised to find out that Benoit was the Space Kid at school and took great joy in pointing out that what Enrico and Antoine were actually making were comets – to me it’s all very “Corporate would like you to spot the differences in these photos”

they’re big rocks, they have tails and I have a needless fear of them – although, perhaps not entirely needless considering they ruined the earth before Dinesh and Ben did.
In lieu of trying to find Enrico a girlfriend this week (he is yet to return my letters), Stacey was instead helping them paint the tails for their comets, her pride in which had certain cinematic parallels

although Enrico and Antoine’s comets weren’t quite a disaster on the same level as a housefire, they did however have a few missing

and they aren’t wildly exciting, even if they do have a certain Aardman-esque charm to them. But the judges did like their flavours, particularly the combination of peach and sudachi – the latter being a Japanese citrus fruit that’s basically a cross between a yuzu and a lime and/or orange depending on which paragraph on Wikipedia you read.

Their Springtime Dessert got a much warmer reception, as it did look like the epitome of spring with it’s floral design and strawberry decorations

it’s the sort of thing I would expect to be served at Wimbledon and then every year I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s just take away boxes filled with strawberries and whipped cream – we’re an unusual country. It was missing the strawberry compote that had been promised, which would have made it sing that little bit more, but they did like it as a dessert even if it was a little safe.

As for I Shan and Jojo’s Spring dessert, they were inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom season the design of which was a little bit predictable but I did enjoy that it kind of looked like Slurpuff from Pokemon

but while the design may not have been particularly revolutionary, the judges did enjoy their use of the cherry blossom flavours and how they worked so well with their dark chocolate and red berry components – which might make it sound like they made a Black Forest Gateau but nobody brought it up.

But the Black Forest shaped hole in our hearts was very much being filled by Jemima and Zack who were basically deconstructing it into a Black Forest Terrarium

they really knocked this one out of the park and I think not being too hedged in by an obvious visual theme really helped them – there’s only so much you can do with lumps of space rock – WHY DID YOU ALL GO THERE? THERE ARE SO MANY FUN SPHERICAL THINGS! Juggling balls, balls of yarn, bubbles, Rain Frogs


Their Springtime dessert was however a bit of a curveball as Jemima proudly declared they were making an asparagus flavoured dessert – much to Liam’s emotional confusion

and his entire world was rocked when he tasted it

I can only guess that this dessert was inspired by Shea Coulee and Sasha Velour eating a chocolate stuffed broccoli on Drag Race Season 9

I think the most surprising thing was the fact that their asparagus dessert was more beautiful than an asparagus dessert deserves to look

it looks like it’s a piece of Wedgewood ceramicware – I’m kind of obsessed. And the judges really loved the asparagus components of the dessert, but weren’t all too keen on the “dense sponge” – which wasn’t really a sponge and was actually a blondie so denseness was the name of the game – which sounds like I’m making a dumb blonde joke, but I assure you I am not. So perhaps a lighter sponge cake might have worked better.

An Unofficial Chocolate Dessert Ranking

  1. The Black forest Terrarium
  2. An Asparagus Dessert, Despite The Odds
  3. I Shan and Jojo’s Stealthy Black Forest Gateau
  4. Fancy Wimbledon
  5. A Comet By Any Other Name is as Round
  6. I Shan and Jojo’s Moon Rocks
  7. Dinesh and Ben’s Break Up Tarts
  8. David Attenborough’s Unaesthetic Earth

Maritime’s Time!

Much like the previous heat’s Chocolate Week, this lot were also having to make 2 batches of chocolate bars – one moulded and one freeform and dipped, I’m not entirely sure what freeform means – I had assumed it meant mashing a load of rice crispies together and praying to God they stay together, but there seemed to be a lot of shape cutting going on. As for their showpiece, it had to be entirely made out of chocolate, have a moving component and fit the theme of Tales of the High Seas – which both meant Nantwich’s entire annual salt yield was being used to make salted caramels of varying salinity AND that we were being visited by The Kraken again

having been previously realised as a googly eyed doofus by David and Cydrick

Ben and Dinesh were going in a very different direction with an all too realistic tentacle that was made using a washing machine pipe

they needed a bulky tentacle (the amount of times I read that just to make sure I absolutely, definitely, assuredly wrote “tentacle” is innumerable and I’m still not convinced) because they were focusing on the brute force of the Kraken, with their showpiece showing it destroying a lighthouse – and as it turns out Ben was the Kraken all along

but I did love the drama of their showpiece, it has a real energy to it, even if is a little rough in certain places

and Ben got very carried away with the drama and storytelling of the piece because he bigged up their cannon explosion quite a bit and then it… well, failed to excite

don’t worry Ben, it happens to everyone.

It was a really cool idea though and I think Dinesh and Ben need a lot of applause for how good they are conceptualising pieces – and their flavours were interesting enough – they had checked off the Miso Caramel box and then their moulded bar was flavoured with calamansi which I would have scrapped the moment that Benoit sampled it and looked as though he was about to cross over to the spirit realm

but Ben stuck to his guns and Benoit was converted to the concept.

Ben and Dinesh’s cannon may have been a slight misfire but they didn’t have quite the upset that I Shan and Jojo had as they ran out of time to make their rotating jellyfish and sadly didn’t have a stick of dynamite on hand to call “a moving part”

but they could have just coated Jojo in chocolate and stood her on the table, nobody would’ve been able to tell, she does a very good jellyfish impression

but they couldn’t ding them too much for the lack of a moving part because the showpiece still looked very impressive and well crafted. As for their Chocolate Bars – one was an absolutely cursed sounding “Passion Fruit, Banana Bread and Macadamia Bar” and the other was a take on a Millionaire’s Shortbread as I Shan and Jojo gave us a crash course on Shortbread Capitalism – regular caramel indicates a Millionaire, Salted Caramel is a Billionaire and the newly defined Trillionaire is Seaweed Caramel – imaginably because it has a… Muskier flavour. All I know is that when the revolution starts we eat them all first. And from there it’s anyone’s game but I have dibs on guillotining the croissants.

What the judges particularly liked about I Shan and Jojo’s bars was how well they were incorporated into their actual showpiece with the seaweed flavoured capitalists being disguised as, well, seaweed

and their gold painted moulded bars being displayed in the treasure chest like pirate’s treasure

which did make the fact Enrico and Antoine had also done gold and silver bars but just left it at “pirates like precious metals”, stacked them into piles and then done jazz hands to try and distract from the lack of style a little glaring

there’s not a great deal of wow factor to the showpiece, except for how generous their freeform bars were

that is a whole handful of Twix! And despite the fact they looked like polished tur-[ARIADNE DON’T BE RUDE TO ANTOINE, HE’S A PERFECT BABY ANGEL] the finishing on them was… well, nobody wants a chocolate bar that can be described “leaking”

Mum, the Snickers soiled itself again!

And lastly we have Jemima and Zack who were sadly not continuing to immortalise British war heroes in chocolate by carving the bust of Horatio Nelson out of Dairy Milk (cowards) and were instead going with a piece of British folklore with their showpiece being themed around The Mousehole Cat. And if you go to Mousehole and pronounce it as “mouse hole” the villagers are legally allowed to kill you and feed you to the local cats. Continuing their Cornish theme, Jemima had made Cornish Pasty shaped bars filled with strawberry jam and clotted cream, although because they weren’t made in Cornwall we probably have to just call them pasties. I’m not entirely sure how much they look like pasties – I’m getting quite a bit of road safety hedgehog from them

and now I have that song stuck in my head, so THANKS FOR THAT JEMIMA. And then their moulded bars were… cobblestone?

SURE! I’ll accept that. At the end of the day the real star of the show was their moving part which featured fish tails flopping about in a Stargazy Pie

all of which was watched over by the decapitated head of the Mousehole Cat which was giving me more than a little bit of Badly Taxidermied Fox

so I can’t blame Jemima for trying to ward off the evil by crossing her fingers like she was Simon Cowell watching a magic act that involved some middle aged man from Bermondsey wearing a black cloak

I’m sure it also kept Cherish’s fangs at bay – she’s doesn’t *not* give off 500 year old Vampire Empress energy.

A Tales of the High Seas Showpiece Ranking

  1. Jemima and Zack’s Cornish Cornucopia
  2. I Shan and Jojo’s Completely Stationary Showpiece
  3. Dinesh and Ben’s Damp Squidb

Jemima and Zack were pretty much the runaway winners of the episode – they completely nailed both challenges and thoroughly deserved the win

I Shan and Jojo were spared the ordeal of being in the bottom two as the judges came down to making a decision between Enrico & Antoine or Dinesh & Ben with the eventual result being… Nobody. Nobody went home, which was only really because of Jeffery and Venus dropped out due to illness, or else I’m sure it would have been curtains for Enrico & Antoine this week – so, no update to the Elimination Wall this week.

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