Bake Off: The Professionals, Series 5, The Final: Cremeux Lasso

[Frenchness intensifies]

No horses were harmed in the making of this episode. Several pastry chefs were.

Window Shopping

For their final Miniature Challenge the teams were essentially being set a Showpiece warm-up lap as they were asked to create a pastry shop window display consisting of 40 finger tarts in 4 different flavours and in order to make the whole process doubly difficult, the display pieces the teams were having to use were 4 tiers high and Jojo and Jemima were at a distinct vertical disadvantage

I am simply a woman, standing before Love Productions, begging them to invest in some stepping stools.

And if you want to know what a finger tart is, Benoit is here to explain the precise dimensions

I think we all know which Everything Everywhere All At Once universe Benoit Blin fell out of then

aren’t you glad I went with that joke rather than talking about Benoit’s pe[ARIADNE DON’T YOU DARE, NOT EVEN FOR THE CLICKS.]

And the teams weren’t being given *complete* free reign with their finger tarts as they had four very specific criteria to fill: Fruit, Chocolate, Vegan and a Team’s Choice

It was an absurd amount of work to be making the teams do in only a matter of hours and with only 1 (one) oven to use (because of course) so it was no wonder that I Shan was running around like one of The Avengers going into battle against whichever bloodless CGI monstrosity Marvel thought up this time

I Shan and Jojo immediately leapt on theming their tarts around the 4 seasons with Chocolate being Winter, Fruit being Autumn, Team’s Choice being Summer and Vegan being Spring because we all know that veganism only exists for one month at the beginning of the year.
Benoit and Cherish had a few issues with the fact their Autumnal Tart was being made with raspberries and apricots which aren’t in season then and are generally more summery, but I think they were banking a little more on the fact the colours were quite autumnal

it’s also not the most *obviously* fruity looking, especially when you contrast it against the likes of Nathan and Kevin who basically just piled any and every berry they could onto their finger tart like it was Carmen Miranda

but their autumnal misfire wasn’t their only issue as they did have a bit of a disaster with their pastry collapsing and needing to make an emergency second batch, which they just didn’t have enough time to cook properly.
The clear highlight of the bunch was their summery wild card which they had flavoured like a Key Lime Pie which is mostly a surprise because I would have bet my entire life on them doing a pina colada for a summer themed dessert, in fact there was rather a lack of ANYTHING cocktail themed with the only chaste use of booze coming from I Shan and Jojo’s mulled wine poached pears that were in their winter finger tarts

which Benoit really liked but overall it wasn’t a great round for the two of them and Jojo was already spiralling before Nathan and Kevin entered the arena

I do wonder if it felt like a closer competition between everyone while they were competing because, as a viewer, it was pretty blatant that Nathan and Kevin were going to win – one of Enrico and Antoine’s Not-comets would have had to careen through that ceiling to stop them, I mean they did win all but 1 episode they took part in, and even then, they probably placed at least third in the ones they weren’t there for.

And it continued to be a very strong competition for Nathan and Kevin because even despite the show dedicating a significant amount of time to Nathan deriding Kevin’s pastry rolling abilities, Benoit had nothing but praise for their finger tarts, and by the time he had lavished praise on their third tart, I Shan was actively having to restrain Jojo

what can you say? She comes from an emotional family

I am entirely obsessed with Jojo’s hypeman brother – what a sweet baby angel.

But the highest praise for Nathan and Kevin came from Cherish upon tasting their Chocolate Miso Tart, who claimed they had “stolen her heart” which Nathan claimed had made him happier than the first time he had told his wife he loved her – and all Kevin could do as his teammate doused his relationship in gasoline was give a perfect side-eye

meanwhile Jojo had well and truly entered her Villain Origin Story phase

her weapon of choice is a cremeux lasso

this is *my* Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

But Nathan and Kevin’s euphoric high was rather short-lived as Benoit then deemed Jemima and Zack’s vegan Rhubarb and Hibiscus tart his favourite tart of the day and Kevin very promptly died inside while Nathan carved “N+C 4eva” on the desk with an icing spatula

but don’t worry Kevin, your chocolate tart was still the more aesthetically pleasing of them because the vegan tart in question did look a bit like someone had made a lakeside jetty out of ham

and it’s rather impressive that they were as well finished as they were because by the end of the challenge the nerves were at an all time high and every time Stacey gave a time-call she triggered a rhubarb avalanche

Their vegan tart wasn’t the only one they were using hibiscus in, as they were also pairing it with blueberries for their fruity tart, which Benoit was a little sceptical about as to whether the blueberries would be the star of the show, although Zack insisted the hibiscus wouldn’t overshadow the compote filling, which Benoit and Cherish did not even slightly believe

and sure enough Cherish’s first critique was that she wanted more blueberries, but that was pretty much their only negative critique except for the combination of miso caramel and chocolate mousse in their capsized Chocolate Tarts being a little bit too rich

but considering the only thing Benoit could do after tasting their Brown Sugar ones was just [laugh in French] – I think we can call it a pretty successful end of the competition for these two BECAUSE NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED AND JEMIMA JUST WENT HOME TO HER HOT BOYFRIEND AND WAS HAPPY AND ZACK GOT A NICE HAT. NO HORSES WERE INVOLVED, LOOK, DO YOU SEE A HORSE IN THIS FIELD?

Didn’t think so.
Meanwhile, I Shan and Jojo got to sit in a very aesthetically pleasing meadow of sunshine and spring flowers while the camera operator lived out all of their cinematographic dreams

I would 100% watch this cheerful and stylistic drama about a pair of pastry chefs, I’m just saying.

Horses Of Courses

For the final furlong of the competition the teams were having to throw a banquet featuring an edible showpiece and 2 different miniature desserts with the theme of the challenge being “At The Races” – horses or otherwise, apparently.

After the first round, I Shan and Jojo very much had the most ground to make up, a fact everyone seemed to remind them of every single time they spoke to them. They were being quite ambitious because they weren’t making just one edible centrepiece, they were making 4 centrepieces AND doing a bit of equine improv for flare

and as central as their 4 Mango and Lime Entremets were, it was their abstract horse head that truly stole the show

it’s really impressively put together and stylised and I think in terms of style and polish, their overall design was the most interesting and well executed. Their miniature desserts blended in with the whole theme very well, with their Strawberry and Vanilla desserts being behatted ladies and their Chocolate Stout Cake and Apple desserts being mustachioed gentlemen, because you know… gender

Cherish was very taken with their Ladies desserts and while the judges did like the chocolate elements of the Gentlemen desserts, Benoit described the apple compote insert as a fart noise, so I assume he was not a fan, and we know exactly who to blame because Jojo was shoving I Shan under every single bus she possibly could

I love a late surge for villainy, but truly she’s the Starscream to Jemima’s Megatron but we’ll get Jemima’s journey in a minute.

Nathan and Kevin were also going for a horse racing theme (as I think the producers clearly thought everyone would considering the amount of horse puns Liam dropped, paying absolute DUST to *checks notes* Hoo Farm’s World Famous Sheep Steeplechase). They were looking for a little bit of redemption (as a treat) with their centrepiece being a Croquembouche, which they had made earlier in the competition, but you know a redemption arc rings a little hollow WHEN YOU STILL WON THE EPISODE EVEN WITH A COMPLETELY COLLAPSED BASKETBALL MEZZANINE

that episode was wild and I’d like to give it a BAFTA.

In their benefit, their choux tower didn’t collapse in on itself this time but it still wasn’t quite the resplendent finalé that I think they wanted because it was a little rough in places

but 4 tiers of unsupported choux pastry and caramel is pretty damn impressive and I think they should be very pleased with themselves.

As for their desserts, much like their Finger Tarts the judges lavished praise on them, I did think they could have probably chosen looks for them that maybe read a little better with their banquet display, there’s only so much that putting a generic chocolate horsehead on a rectangular cake can do

but Benoit was obsessed with their Hazelnut and Fig Financier, which did look very pretty – in a show where mirror glazes tend to be the scourge of the earth, theirs worked phenomenally well when it needed to most

I would have liked just a little more ~fun~ from them perhaps, but applause to them for converting Cherish to The Light by finally making her like figs which are a God Tier fruit and I will not have their name sullied EVER AGAIN.

And lastly we of course have Jemima and Zack

they had chosen to divert from the expectations of horse racing by of course going for the aforementioned acclaimed Sheep Steeplechase, which SOMEHOW isn’t called Sheeplechase????? And I laud them for their creativity, if there’s one thing Zack and Jemima have done best of all this series it’s always bring uniqueness and fun to the Showpiece Challenges, even if it did result in Choux Pastry Winston Churchill that one time… But this time we were getting Queen Elizasheep II

her name was actually Daisy, named after Jemima’s friend Daisy, which did then make the way everyone talked about this sheep sound really quite rude

Thanks Jemima, also special mention to Jemima’s cardboard sheep template which was giving me some Sheep In The Big City vibes

and it is my mission to remind everyone that that cartoon definitely existed.

But this Showpiece Challenge, perhaps rather fittingly, did have a few hurdles with the cracks literally beginning to show when Zack’s sponge started cracking as he rolled it, which upon noticing Jemima, in a display of her “small control issues” ordered him to make a whole new batch of sponge

and then they had a minor tiff about the whole thing, with the show seemingly portraying Jemima as The Bad Guy™ but to be fair to Jemima, the whole thing could have been avoided had Zack told her that he had some back-up sponges instead of you know, refusing to talk to her for a few minutes. Either way, by the end of everything they were on good terms again.
The woes didn’t stop there though as with about half an hour to go, Jemima cut herself pretty severely and we know it was bad because we were treated to a rapidfire montage of everyone’s really quite disgusted looks of concern as Jemima bled all over the countertop

and she was very promptly taken hostage by On-Set-Medic, Tony the MVP of the episode

and honestly I think we should give him a knighthood just for making it out alive because it did look like Jemima wouldn’t be the only one leaving this set with an injury

SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN, TONY.

As it was obviously quite a serious injury and did take a considerable amount of time to sort out, Zack and Jemima were granted an extra 15 minutes at the end – remember when John Whaite filled an entire surgical glove with blood and had to be forcibly removed from the Bake Off tent in the middle of a strudel technical? So I think they were only so generous because the show didn’t want the sheep that looked alarmingly like the Queen to look a bit naked

and I think considering everything, their display actually didn’t look half bad from a distance

there were finishing issues with their miniature desserts – their Hay and Cider Sheep didn’t quite look like sheep so much as they did the cloud from Nope (2022)

and their troublesome swiss roll pigs just looked a bit like that Question Time Gammons meme

the idea was really cute though and the judges did appreciate that about them but that’s kind of where the compliments stopped, although Cherish loved the Hay Mousse, which was confusing because A.) it’s hay mousse and B.) that’s exactly how Delia Smith pronounces hummus. The pigs however were gaining them NO friends as Cherish really didn’t enjoy them at all, sliding back into her anti-fig malarky after only mere minutes in the Light.

It was a bit of a nightmare round for Zack and Jemima, but well done to them for rolling with the punches as they experienced what is known as The Game of Thrones Progression

and Jemima did a fantastic job at playing the role of Beleaguered Emilia Clarke at the final table read

the absolute bravery of those showrunners to allow them to film the table reading for that finale – they REALLY thought they had done something with it. I, of course, here with a very up-to-date bit of media commentary.

And that was it! The judges now had to deliberate on their very obvious decision because having pretty much smashed both challenges and every challenge before them, it was no real surprise that Nathan and Kevin were indeed crowned this year’s winners

and congratulations to them, I’m not sure we’ve had such a consistently good team ever appear on the show, made all the more impressive by the fact Kevin wasn’t Nathan original choice of teammate, joining him only weeks before the competition started.

And I think it’s fair to say that I Shan & Jojo and Jemima & Zack finished on a very even runner-up position, and while this episode might not have been their best showings, they’ve had some really phenomenal highs in the competition prior to this. And if you’ve enjoyed these recaps of this series of Bake Off: The Professionals and would like to support the blog, you can drop a small tip over on my Ko-fi account HERE – as ever, I hugely appreciate the support and anyone who reads the blogs.

And so, congratulations to our Bake Off: The Professionals Champions of 2022, Nathan and Kevin

If you’ve enjoyed this recap of Bake Off: The Professionals’s 2022 final and would like to support the blog you can donate to my Ko-fi account HERE!

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