The Great British Bake Off/Baking Show – The Final – Recap

It’s the end already! Let’s take a look at the finale and the results.

Darcie: Another season is in the books, and I think this year the show returned to its roots. I read somewhere that this season was too boring, but I disagree. The manufactured drama, strange challenges, and cultural missteps were removed and, for the most part, the bakers were given challenges that more accurately reflected their baking prowess rather than their engineering skills or other criteria. We got to know the contestants’ personalities better, which made it easier to root for them all. I didn’t want the season to end.

Signature bake: Eight eclairs with two different fillings/flavors in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Darcie: Choux pastry is a great baking challenge as precision is needed to get perfectly crispy, airy puffs. The bakers were well matched here – all had good height to their eclairs, and they all filled them well. Josh excelled with his textures, flavors, and designs; Matty’s eclairs were well filled but lacked a flavor punch; and Dan struggled, presenting soggy eclairs that had too much cream and decorations on top. The rainy weather sure didn’t help keep the pastries crisp.

The EYB Library contains 177 online recipes for eclairs, and 140 recipes for choux pastry.

Technical challenge: Lardy cake set by Paul Hollywood in 3 hours.

This was a throwback to a bygone era featuring a layered risen dough studded with macerated fruit. The two younger contestants had never even heard of this relic, and while Dan may have known what it was, he hadn’t made one before.

Darcie: It’s devilishly difficult to make something that you have never seen nor tasted, especially when the instructions are cryptic. It looked warm in the tent, which complicated matters. No one excelled in this challenge, and again Dan struggled the most, overbaking his cakes.

We have 13 online recipes for Lardy cake in our Library.

Showstopper: A tiered cake based on the contestants’ first bakes in 4 1/2 hours

Darcie: I liked the idea of this challenge but was disappointed with the level of finesse exhibited by the bakers. It looked like Josh held back from his usual high level of detail, probably because he was concerned about being able to do everything in time. I felt like both he and Dan let their nerves get the better of them, which was a shame. It was a little heart-wrenching to watch the judging because you know Josh and Dan knew these weren’t their best efforts – both had two star bakers and had made some fantastic looking showstoppers. Matty on the other hand rose to the challenge, creating nearly perfect cakes whose only downfall was a little wonkiness with the top layer slumping to one side. Matty tried to put a positive spin on it, calling it “dramatic effect”.

I may have said this before, but having each week stand on its own can lead to some seemingly inequitable outcomes. I felt that Josh was a better baker overall, but Matty put forth his best effort for the final so he walked away with the trophy. Perhaps it was fitting; it was lovely to see him be recognized for the progress he has made since the beginning of the show, as he always doubted himself and said he felt imposter syndrome. Congrats to Matty and to all of the bakers – just making on the program is an honor.

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  • Fyretigger  on  December 3, 2023

    Keeping in mind that we as viewers can’t sample the results, and have only the judges words and the visuals to go on, I felt like Matty edged out Josh on personality and charisma points. It’s a bit cynical to say but The Great British Bake-off is ultimately a brand and a business, with many winners going on to at least part time media careers, and Matty is probably a better brand representative by virtue of having the more gregarious personality in a Jamie Oliver sort of mold.

  • anya_sf  on  December 4, 2023

    Loved the season overall. The final showstopper was rather disappointing – like you said, not much finesse – certainly not on par with final showstoppers from other seasons, and even with some of the showstoppers from earlier weeks in the current season. I was a little sad that Josh’s cakes weren’t better, as I also thought he was a stronger baker overall. But congrats to Matty!

  • pitterpat4  on  December 5, 2023

    I was glad the show has returned to its roots. I think it may be boring for viewers because we can’t taste the results, we can only go on visuals. I also really enjoy Alison as a co-host. Her and Noel seem to really get along well.

    I was rooting for Josh. I hope he will still get a book deal and other opportunities from this. Congratulations to Matty. He sure did improve a lot over the season.

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