The Great British Bake Off/Baking Show – Week 9 – Patisserie Week

Is it me or was the fastest nine weeks in the history of weeks? The semi-finals are here meaning one more episode next week after the final four battle it out with patisserie.

Signature: 6 identical mini charlottes with a set filling (mousse or bavarois) and a sponge of the baker’s choice in 2 1/2 hours.

As GBBO isn’t sharing many recipes this season, I have shared a beautiful mini charlotte below (and links to online charlotte recipes above) that we have indexed.

Janusz stated that patisserie was his biggest weakness which was a harbinger of the day’s results.

Syabira, a three time star baker, set out to make a cheesecake charlotte with peanut butter and berries. I was having a hard time understanding why Paul and Prue kept saying peanut butter and fruit – not a great combination. Hello, peanut butter and jelly – one of the most classic sandwiches and so delicious. When it came to judging Syabira was praised for elegant presentation, her sponge was delicious and the flavors really work – hello?? She was dinged on her filling not being completely set.

Sandro, “I always do too much”, was questioned about the number of eggs he was using (24!). Sandro made his mom’s banana cake as one of his sponges with a peanut butter mousse and praline crumble. Comments went from “looks chunky” “looks beautiful” “absolutely delicious but a lot going on” “a bit gluey” and lastly – Prue thought his banana sponge was amazing.

Janusz made a charlotte that reminded him of his favorite treat as a child – plum in chocolate with a hazelnut custard and chocolate mousse. Janusz received mixed comments – Prue said it was sweet and pretty – Paul, of course, the Prince of all things baking, said it was “untidy”. His plum filling was set and flavours were lovely but his joconde was tough. During the baking — Janusz admitted to putting a jinx on Maxy by stating that she was for sure going to the finals – and of course Maxy went home last week. Then Janusz turned around and teasingly told Syabira “Syabira you are going all the way to the finals.”

Abdul made a simple tiramisu inspired charlotte with pistachios. His baked good was deemed messy but the textures and flavors were lovely – just not decorated enough.

Darcie’s $0.02: After watching this challenge, I was worried for Abdul who struggled for time even after paring down his recipe to a few simple components. I thought his pistachio mascarpone cream looked amazing – I wish they had included more recipes this season as I would definitely like to try that one. I agree with Jenny – peanut butter and fruit is not an unusual combination, at least here in the States. And hello, Sandro had peanut butter and banana, and last time I checked that was a fruit – yet the judges didn’t say that was unusual. Which brings us back to the question: unusual to whom? I thought Syabira’s charlottes looked the most like they belonged in a patisserie window.

Technical: Set by Prue – Chocolate, hazelnut & raspberry vertical tarts in 2 hours.

I absolutely love the look of these tarts and thought the bakers did well considering. Some had issues with understanding how the mousse was to be placed and the jelly was difficult to maneuver. Sandro came in 4th, followed by Janusz, Abdul was 2nd and Syabira 1st.

Darcie’s $0.02: This was a diabolical challenge but perfect for showcasing the baker’s knowledge. I can sympathize with Sandro – I sometimes have problems visualizing how something is supposed to look based on written descriptions. He lost a lot of valuable time with making them incorrectly, and between that and adding too much liquid to his jelly, his results were sloppy. Syabira proved her technical prowess by knowing how to properly use the acetate and the rice that was provided to the bakers (to keep the dough from collapsing), but she did overmix her mousse, turning it into a ganache. Nevertheless she landed the top spot.

Showstopper: a Nordic Krokan with almond biscuits, marzipan and sugar work in 4 hours which I believe are similar to Kransekake (a towering Swedish/Danish celebration cake) – at least the cookie part.

Syabira made an impressive DNA helix. Abdul made a rocket to the stars. Janusz was inspired by Brighton pride and Sandro made a huge “but all over the place” ode to Africa and the UK creation that had beautiful texture and good flavour. For photos of their showstoppers, you may refer to this article.

Darcie’s $0.02: Abdul overcame his usual time crunch problems in this challenge that featured krokan, which (according to my limited research) is very close to kransekake as Jenny alluded to above. I’ve made a kransekake tower before and that was hard enough without trying to make a crazy detailed structure. Sandro attempted too much and his burnt caramel made the project look a mess, but he had good flavors and textures in his krokan. My heart broke for Janusz, who foreshadowed his bad week by saying that patisserie was his weakness. Both he and Syabira had textural issues with their bakes. After a shaky start, Abdul pulled it together for an amazing finish – did anyone else notice that Janusz was looking at Syabira when they were announcing star baker, expecting her to receive it? After this challenge, can we hold off on the towering structural bakes for a couple of seasons? They are getting tiresome.

The star baker was Abdul and Janusz was sent packing.

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  • Foodycat  on  November 12, 2022

    I couldn’t believe that Syabira was the only one who thought to blind bake her pastry rings! And when Janusz put the rice into the raw pastry on his second attempt… good grief.

    The “peanut and fruit, how weird” thing got me too. PB&J may not be as common in the UK as in America, but it’s definitely a thing. And just generally, nuts and fruit work, whether it’s a linzertorte or Bakewell tart.

  • gamulholland  on  November 13, 2022

    Abdul has been a dark horse this entire time. There were days when they didn’t even mention him at the end when the judges were deciding. He’s just mellow and pleasant and steady. I was glad to see him make the finals. Re: Janusz, it wouldn’t surprise me, if he and Sandro were tied as they seemed to be, if they took into account how he squeaked past Kevin a couple of weeks ago, probably based on past performance. I don’t think Sandro has had any recent close calls like that. As far as who is going to win— I’d put my money (OK, we don’t bet money, but we do bet a candy bar) 🙂 on Syabira next week.

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