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Great British Bake Off – Chocolate Week

semi-finalTamal, Flora, Nadiya and Ian are all hoping to stay calm in this weeks semi-final bake off. They are now baking for their lives as they all want a place in next weeks’ final. In this semi-final episode the bakers are required to create amazing things with chocolate – my favourite! Not easy to watch whilst on a diet however…

Signature Challenge – A chocolate tart using any kind of pastry as long as it is chocolate. It has to be filled with a chocolate filling and guess what… decorated with chocolate! This all sounds very simple but they have to be immaculate with a good flavour. Tamal opted for one filling and simple decoration using peanut brittle. Flora has gone for a triple layered tart decorated with macarons….has she not learnt her lesson by now?! Ian chose a new taste sensation for his tart – bay infused caramel. Hmm. Paul didn’t sound too sure about that! Nadiya is going for a layer of salted caramel and peanut in her tart. Onto the judging. Tamal got a good review on first impressions. Paul wasn’t sure whether he liked it….but then decided he did. A good effort. Ian’s very simple tart with shiny chocolate didn’t go down awfully well. Neither judge could taste the bay leaf. Nadiya’s tart looked very attractive. Paul was worried about the thickness of the pastry. Mary liked it although she’s not a peanut fan. Paul shook Nadiya’s hand and called her tart fantastic. She was over the moon bless her! Flora’s tart was stunning to look at. However, the ganache wasn’t shiny. Good layers however. Her passion fruit base had split but the judges seemed to like the taste. The macaron’s were dry and not good according to Paul. Whoops.

Technical Challenge – Something rather special from Mary today. It’s a quick challenge and so the start times were staggered. The bakers were perplexed! Chocolate soufflé was the order of the day. Flora started first and seemed a bit worried. Ian entered the tent next to start his and went a bit blank on how to make the various components of the soufflé. Will his memory return? Nadiya was up next and had never made a soufflé so was a bit apprehensive. She found a couple of paper clips though with her instructions which was quite amusing! Tamal started last and had also never made a soufflé. To be honest none of the bakers were very sure of themselves during this challenge. Whose soufflé will rise to the challenge? Flora’s was first to be judged – well baked, nice flavour. Not mixed enough but generally a good rise and a good job. Ian’s next – not much rise, good consistency, lovely flavour and texture but over folded which lost some volume. Nadiya – not mixed enough, tastes fine. Tamal – good rise, badly split and flecks of meringue. Good flavour and good texture. First place for the technical challenge goes to Flora.

Show Stopper – A 3D chocolate centrepiece including a biscuit element which must include white chocolate. The bakers have to use their own moulds and stencils so should be interesting. Tamal’s making a bell tower using short bread. Flora’s centrepiece is a cocoa carousel using shortbread with a puffed rice and chocolate roof. Nadiya’s amazing creation is a chocolate peacock sitting on a log with cinder biscuits. Ian has gone for a complicated chocolate well with a bucket on a rope and a circle of shortbread biscuits. Speed is of the essence for  all the bakers for this challenge. It’s a bit touch and go as to whether they will all finish on time. I think my heart race increased just watching them finishing their creations! Onto the judges’ comments. Tamal – very impressive from afar, not so much the nearer you get to it. Paul thought the tempered chocolate was very good and the shortbread was very good. Well baked. Could have been neater. Ian – very contemporary. Full marks for originality. The bucket collecting the white chocolate went down very well. Bit more tricky to get it back up! Biscuits lovely and flavoursome. Could have had a bit more skilful piping and chocolate work. Flora – bit wonky. No shine on the chocolate. Very good shortbread. Could taste the raising agent. Very crumbly. Impressive to look at but doesn’t taste as good as it looks. Nadiya – Overall effect beautiful. Great piece of art. Tastes good. Biscuits taste good. Very effective.

 Star baker this week goes to Nadiya. Well done to her. Leaving the tent so close to the final is Flora.

Next week is the FINAL!

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