The Great British Bake Off/Baking Show – Week 8 – Party Theme – Recap

It is quarterfinals week in the baking tent. This week’s theme was party food!

Signature Bake: 12 sausage rolls in two hours.

The bakers presented great flavor combinations with their interpretation of the classic sausage roll. Matty’s sausage, apple, sage and onion rolls with a hint of chili flakes warranted a Paul Hollywood handshake. Dan’s dim sum inspired rolls left the judges unimpressed. I think that Paul and Prue, but especially Paul, don’t like when the bakers go too far off in their flavor combinations. Dan’s prawn and pork rolls with ginger, water chestnuts and garlic were deemed by Paul – “not a sausage roll”.

There are 281 online recipes for sausage rolls in our Library. If you wish to try one of Paul Hollywood’s recipes, I have added two to our Library: Sausage rolls with onion chutney and Ultimate sausage roll (photo above).

Darcie: I have never eaten a sausage roll and feel that I should rectify that soon. All of the bakers went with rough puff pastry – I thought maybe one would go rogue with something else, but maybe that would be sacrilege. Josh remarked that he liked to make them individually so they are more consistent in size, but that backfired because the sausage shrunk at the edges when it baked, leaving gaps that Paul pointed out. I felt that Paul was too hard on Dan’s flavor interpretation – it was a sausage, and it was in a pastry, so why not have some intriguing flavors?

Jane’s translation service: the hosts’ introduction mentioned various children’s party games. One may be unknown in the USA (the kids at my children’s parties never knew the game) – Pass the Parcel. A gift wrapped in many layers gets passed around the circle. When the music stops, a layer is unwrapped (often with a sweet/candy falling out). Eventually the last layer reveals the gift that is kept by that child.

Technical: Caterpillar cake set by Paul Hollywood in 2 1/2 hours. This recipe is online at the link provided and is also included in the The Great British Bake Off – Kitchen Classics: Signature Bakes from the Heart of the Home cookbook.

The bakers did reasonably well in this challenge except for Dan who cut his ridges incorrectly. The judging had Dan coming in last and Tasha taking first with her caterpillar cake with a Noel inspired face.

Darcie: Cristy also cut her ridges the wrong way but instead of making a smaller caterpillar like Dan, she scrambled to remake her sponge and was rewarded with second place while Dan sank to the bottom. When there are fewer bakers there is less room for error so every mistake cuts harder. I wish caterpillar cakes were popular in the US – they are adorable! My favorite childhood party cake was a coconut cake that was shaped like a bunny, with licorice rope whiskers and pink buttercream ears. It goes to show how foods can make an indelible impression. I made a few elaborate cakes for my neighbor’s girls when they were little, and nearly 20 years later they still mention them. It’s one of the reasons I love to bake.

Showstopper: a “non-beige” buffet with both sweet and savoury elements in 4 1/2 hours.

As usual, Dan tried to do too much making six elements in his dinosaur inspired buffet which looked messy, as did Cristy’s Willy Wonka display. Josh did very well with his Christmas-themed selection as he concentrated on making three offerings and doing them well Christmas pudding choux buns, macarons and savoury couronne wreaths. Paul was impressed with Josh’s couronne wreaths and had to eat crow as he had predicted a failure. (Just for fun here is a link to Paul’s apricot couronne.) Tasha had a few negative remarks and Matty’s sports-inspired buffet looked and tasted great.

Darcie: This challenge illustrated how difficult it is to make non-beige baked goods. Even with a directive to make things colorful, Dan made plain biscuits/cookies that were decidedly beige. Cristy had some plain-looking items as well. I thought Matty’s sports ball theme was genius because they are all round, making them easy to shape and decorate. Josh’s items looked perfect and tasted great, proving that less can indeed be more.

When the competition gets this far along, it becomes more painful to see the bakers leave the tent, especially this season when the challenges are generally reasonable but still entertaining. The editing seems a notch better as well. I am definitely enjoying this season more than the last two.

Jane’s translation service: “anything but beige” is a drive to brighten up interior decor, clothing, and here food. To be colorful, rather than boring.

After judging, Matty was named star baker and Cristy was sent home.

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  • sanfrannative  on  November 19, 2023

    I’d never heard of a caterpillar cake before this episode!!! Looks as delicious as it is adorable.

  • Fyretigger  on  November 19, 2023

    I felt the “it’s beige” criticisms were given unevenly.

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