Bake Off: The Professionals, Series 5, Episode 9: The Ankylosaur That Was Promised

There’s a thin line between Dilophosaurus and Shocked Mime when playing Charades.

Quite a few dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this episode.

Berrying Secrets

For the semi-final the teams were being tasked with a bit of a different challenge and instead of creating a veritable army of miniature cakes, they were instead having to make just 2 identical plated desserts – however, they weren’t coming into the challenge with a prepared recipe as their designated ingredients lay beneath a tablecloth and would have to be dramatically revealed in the style of a Britain’s Got Talent magician doing the most obviously discernible magic trick

David might need a little more practice.

As well as everything having to be improvised, the dessert had to be a celebration of berries and Katy Perry’s 2008 hit “Hot N Cold” as Benoit demanded that the dessert include a hot and cold, a yes and not, an up and down, a black and white and a we fight and we make up element. In order to allow for their cold elements to be served as desired, the teams were doing staggered starts – DO YOU SEE THIS MASTERCHEF? Do you want to take notes? Or does Gregg Wallace just really love drinking room temperature ice cream through a straw?

Kicking off the proceedings were Jemima and Zack who immediately decided on doing a pistachio sponge with a berry mousse and a strawberry sorbet; noticeably lacking the all important hot element and Benoit, the King of Dessert Gatekeeping, immediately swooped in to tell them that it is absolutely crucial for a dessert to have something hot on the plate and demanded they explain themselves – and Jemima was in a fighting mood

5 weeks of the competition was clearly getting to Jemima and she promptly started talking only in angsty teenage Facebook status updates

but she and Zack did begrudgingly add a hot element to the plate in the form of some dehydrated blueberries, although I did appreciate them calling them “crystalised blueberries” because after the last few days the word “dehydrated” is a little triggering

it’s a very pretty dessert and I would say the most restaurant-y looking of the bunch, which is mostly because it’s all shoved over to one side of the plate – it’s very MasterChef: The Professionals. And the judges seemed pretty taken with the whole concept and Benoit didn’t throw it across the room while declaring it an affront to dessertkind – what more could you hope for?

It was a tough act for David and Cydrick to follow and they were playing it somewhat risky by deciding to do a trio of desserts – although I’m not sure I am willing to call a singular scoop of ice cream “a dessert” and I prefer to think of it as a side dish. For their other two elements they were making a Religieuse and the ever risky pistachio soufflé (I once ordered one in a restaurant and the chef had to make it three times – I have honestly never felt more guilty in my entire life)

Cherish and Benoit weren’t particularly happy with the plate, weirdly not because it all looks a bit like a collection of rare fungi and entirely because trios are very dated, and I was going to write “very 70s” because Benoit said he was doing them “30 years ago” and I have once again had to come to the crushing realisation that the 90s were 30 years ago. I hate it here.
Their Strawberry and Basil ice cream did garner them some praise from the judges, however their bigger pieces weren’t quite so well received with their Religieuse being too dry and their soufflé looking a bit like they had invented a Cup-a-Pancakes

but you do have to somewhat admire the bravery to make an improvised souffle for Benoit and Cherish.

Next up were Kevin and Nathan who seemed to be having a great time for the most part – they planned their pavlova dessert quickly, the judges were happy that they were ticking all of the challenge boxes, their plates weren’t soaked with dirty spoon water… And then Kevin got a little frenetic with his spoon cleaning and their plates were doused in dirty spoon water right before they were meant to be taking them up to be judged

they did rather generously seem to give them enough time to take up a pair of fully plated desserts though rather than making them sheepishly drag a pair of slightly damp pavlovas over like a binned Baked Alaska – although it’s hard to discern how much of it is their murder scene coulis platter or potentially dirty spoon water?

Cherish and Benoit really liked the presentation but that dome on top of the pavlova looks a bit like a memorial vase for a dead clown

the purpose of the dome was to be melted by their hot chocolate sauce which was a clever use of their hot element and the other teams could probably have done with making their desserts a little more ~theatrical~ but I do have to question the combination of blueberry ice cream and chocolate sauce, it just strikes me as a little odd but the judges didn’t have the same reservation as they promptly mixed everything together into a child’s finger-painting of a melange

and Benoit’s only issue was that their meringue was like eating a piece of sugar – wait until he finds out what meringues are made out of!

Lastly we have I Shan and Jojo who immediately ran into problems as Benoit pointed out that their dessert was more of a petit gateau, and as loathe as I am to agree with dessert gatekeeping – CAKE IS NOT A DESSERT. However, he was a big fan of I Shan’s continued pun work

I fear my job here is being rendered redundant.

They also had a bit of trouble finding a place for their hot element, sending Jojo into a bit of a temperature-based existential crisis

to be fair, I spent the entirety of Tuesday afternoon screaming the same thing at the sun.

I did think their final dessert was really cute though, it did however seem just a little bit insignificant, and a smaller plate might have solved a lot of their presentation issues

However, it was a bit of an oversight not to include more sauce, especially when they had a whole dam wall of crumble on the side of the plate ready and waiting to chip someone’s tooth, but the judges appreciated that they had tried to add more textures, even if it was lacking in a “celebration of berries” as Cherish described their mixed berry compote as “sad” – I think we’re all a bit of a sad mixed berry compote right about now to be honest.

A Plated Dessert Ranking

  1. Jemima and Zack Begrudgingly Meeting The Brief
  2. Kevin and Nathan’s Edible Gravemarker
  3. I Shan and Jojo’s Sauceless Dessert
  4. David and Cydrick’s Dated Trio

Baking With Dinosaurs

For their final bid in the final, the teams were tasked with creating an entirely edible and interactive table scene that told the story of The Land of the Dinosaurs which had to include 5 edible items as well as a Tiered Macaron Cake that had to be hidden from view and then revealed at the end. The hardest part of the whole thing would of course be trying to formulate a dinosaur-based story without infringing on the rights of either Jurassic Park or all 14 of the Land Before Time movies which is why we got such iconic characters as Stanco The Caffeine Addicted Diplodocus, Betsy the Doomed Stegosaurus and Nathan’s T-rex With an Identity Crisis

how dare you promise me an ankylosaur and then not give me my reptilian pangolin friend

the judges however were much more forgiving of the accuracy of dinosaur biology because they really just let the fact Jemima had mixed up dinosaurs and dragons slide by unchecked

Dinosaur fact checking aside, Jemima was very much back in her element with the storytelling element of the challenge as she does frequently moonlight as Dr. Frankenstein

She has a whole collection of reanimated corspes in her attic!

She and Zack really did do a great job of creating an interactive table scene and story – although I did feel a little bit sorry that while Jemima told her Oscar-baiting Shakespearean dinosaur odyssey, Zack had to just stand there, slowly fogging up in his inflatable t-rex costume, coming increasingly close to just passing out

and his escape from within his polyester cocoon was much more dramatic than the revealing of their Tiramisu Macaron Cake

there had been quite a few issues with Jemima’s macarons and she had had to remake them, but still hadn’t managed to get the rise out of them, so the textures were ever so slightly off, and both Benoit and Cherish thought it was somewhat lacking in terms of a coffee flavour – but they had liked the display over all, which came across to me as the most thought through.

David and Cydrick were once again having to follow quite a tough act, and after Jemima’s whimsical tale of a dinosaur’s desperate plight for a cup of coffee roughly 161.2 million years before coffee was a thing, we were being brought back to reality with quite the literal crash with David’s The Godfathersaurus

I did really love the design of their dinosaur which they had for some reason called “Betsy” like it was a beloved dairy cow who did look a bit like the low-poly Dagannoths from Runescape

it also looks like a pokemon that would be called Cactusaur – you can have that one for free GameFreak, but only if you include the fact it has dog-like paws instead of dinosaur claws

and because Benoit smashing Betsy to pieces with a ladle wasn’t enough, we had to also involve the mass extinction event

I am genuinely surprised that Benoit let them get away with calling it a comet given that only a few weeks ago he was taking the time to meticulously explain to Enrico and Antoine why they’re comet dessert was not a comet and was instead a meteor.
Cherish took a great amount of glee smashing the world to pieces (who could blame her) which was of course to reveal their macaron cake in a delightfully dramatic foggy fashion like that of an alien emerging from a crash-landed spaceship in a B-movie from the 70s

they had also gone for coffee as their main flavour, pairing it with hazelnut and chestnut which Benoit and Cherish thought was playing it a little safe, and they weren’t scraping many marks back on the technical front as it was just slightly undercooked.

While the other teams revelled in making chocolate dinosaurs, I Shan and Jojo took the “Land” part of the “Land of the Dinosaurs” as the more important element and, as Liam observed, basically created a prehistoric Eastenders opening titles

and I wouldn’t completely write off “the entirety of the East End of London teleports to the Jurassic period” once the soap writers get a little bored of having their annual specials be big calamitous transport accidents, as much as I enjoy the drama of a derailing tram, the thought of Rose Ayling-Ellis potentially having to outrun a velociraptor would be a BAFTA event.

While I Shan and Jojo didn’t have any dinosaurs to show, there were “traces of dinosaurs” in some footprints, a few bones and piles of dino crap, that I Shan did have to clarify were made of ganache lest Benoit actually think they had robbed the Natural History Museum of its prized collection of fossilised poop

the fact everyone kept having to say “dino doo-doo” wasn’t what was upsetting Benoit though, it was instead the fact Jojo had laced them with near lethal amounts of cayenne pepper – which was evident when she began loudly declaring this without any context

and the spicy shits were not the only thing that were practically inedible as Benoit refused to eat their mint jelly lake because it had pretty much set rock hard so it was basically a tart case full of Glacier Mints that you left in your cubbyhole during the hottest day of the year…

and so their hopes lay firmly in the hands of their macaron cake which was hiding in a very Flintstones-esque bungalow

they had decided to try something a little different with their macaron and swapped out the almond flour for sesame powder, which has a much higher oil content and seemed to throw off their baking times quite a lot which meant their cake was too undercooked for Cherish and Benoit.

Despite not delivering on The Ankylosaur That Was Promised, Kevin and Nathan were on hand to deliver the obligatory Black Forest Gateau of the episode AND it was being disguised as a tree trunk

which does mean everyone now has to down their drinks as per the Bake Off Drinking Game.

Their Black Forest Tree Trunk was probably the best received part of their showpiece, because the judges weren’t wild about their macaron cake, which just looked a little squat

they did like the strawberry and rhubarb flavour profile though, but it was quite obvious that the macarons hadn’t baked quite as well as Nathan would have liked them too.
But their showpiece as a whole was very strong and probably the most vibrant of the lot

everyone else went a little more Jurassic Park when clearly they should have been doing a little more Land Before Time.

A Land Of The Dinosaurs Showpiece Ranking

  1. Jemima’s Oscar Winning Dinosaur Epic
  2. Nathan and Kevin’s Ankylosaurless Story of an Ankylosaur
  4. I Shan and Jojo’s Mostly Inedible Landscape

I personally thought Jemima and Zack should have taken top spot for this episode, however the judges were of a differing opinion, mostly because they got to enact some dinosaur based violence

the plot of Jurassic World 2: The Film Everyone Chooses To Forget wasn’t exactly *not* for wealthy people to purchase weirdly affordable dinosaurs to use as punching bags…

I really thought that I Shan and Jojo were going to go home because it did feel a little bit like they misunderstood the assignment for both challenges, however things eventually caught up to David and Cydrick and sadly it was they who were eliminated

I’ve really enjoyed them on the series and would very much like to see more of them on the television – road trip through the villages of France anyone? And if that doesn’t work out there’s certainly a spot for both of them in Jurassic World 4: The Inevitable Dino-musical!

£50 we get Lin Manuel Miranda speak-rapping as an archeopteryx.

And so, we have our three finalists!

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