Warning: This recap for episode 6 of The Great British Baking Show contains spoilers.
Dessert Week brings back an old favorite — the roulade — known for its tricky technical aspects, as well as a bevy of tiny treats and a French pastry that few of the contestants have even heard of. A first-timer takes Star Baker, a two-time Star gets sent home, and Mel changes her hair as we head into the quarterfinals.
Though his roulade is a little flat, Andrew comes in first in the technical challenge and Paul calls his show stopper “divine” — all of which is enough to give him the Star Baker crown for the week. Tom breaks the streak of Bread Week winners always making it to the finals. While his overthinking has often led to masterpieces, this time Paul says of his show stopper, “I think your idea’s fantastic on another challenge,” and he is sent home.
The Great British Baking Show is the ultimate comfort show; nothing else comes close. With its pastel tones, calm voices, lack of churlish competitors, lambs in meadows and — most of all — unwillingness to change, it’s a port in everybody’s stormy life. So what business does Mel have getting bangs? It’s the adult version of a 2-year-old seeing her father without his beard for the first time: It’s frightening. It’s upsetting. Does her new ‘do look nice? Of course it does. The bangs frame her face and accentuate the impishness that’s often overshadowed by Sue. Nevertheless, it’s chaos bleeding into the otherwise bucolic perfection of this show. Have you no decency, Mel?
Again, as one of the chief allures of the show is that there is none of the preening and bombast that defines nearly every other reality series on television. There are, however, brief glimpses of a little healthy attitude, and it usually comes from Selasi. When Benjamina gives him the thumbs up after sweetening his lemon curd, he puts a little swagger into his step and snarls at the camera, which basically makes him the Floyd Mayweather of British baking.
Booze Isn’t a Problem, It’s a Solution
Sometimes it seems like Mary Berry belongs on Bar Rescue, not Great British Baking Show. For Paul, Jane’s heavy hand with the hazelnut liqueur almost ruins the dish, but Mary loves it. “Perhaps” it’s the little bit of tipple, she says, but Jane’s smile says she knows it’s definitely the little bit of tipple that makes the roulade for her.
Words, Words, Words
The wickedly obscure dish this week is a “marjolaine”, made up of layers of meringue sandwiched with buttercream and covered in ganache. It’s a variant of a “dacquoise”, which is usually round and — here’s what tripped up Tom — the meringue is piped rather than layered. Other words for the glossary include “Viennetta” — a brand of rectangular ice cream cake similar in shape to the marjolaine – and “roulade.” Typically roulades are made with meat in the U.S., and what they made this week, we often think of as a “swiss roll.”
Best British Term
Derived from an old 16th century meaning of the word meaning “swollen with fat”, “chuffed” is one of Andrew’s favorite turns of phrase. “Really, really chuffed” is how he describes his mood after pulling out the win in the technical challenge then, “Super chuffed! Super, super chuffed,” after taking Star Baker.
Tom’s inventiveness has always skirted the edge of disaster. Often it pays off — after all, he’s twice been Star Baker. But this week, he embraced the dark side and slid into what he openly acknowledged was a hipster influence — even going so far as to add horn-rimmed glasses and a mustache to the decor. “Taking something really classic and simple and making it ludicrously complicated, which is the hipster way.” The offense was compounded by the technical error of making a dense mousse, leading to his dismissal.
Selasi’s mini-mousses ended up being maxi-mooses (“For me, that’s an entire cake,” marvels Sue). Andrew loses a cake off his wobbly ferris wheel (though manages to recover it). And two people have loose mousses. Mary says Candice’s dessert is more crème than mousse, but the real disaster is Benjamina’s. Her coffee-flavored cakes look like cappuccino – which isn’t a good thing since, as Paul says, “It’s pouring all over the top.” The judges dive in for fear that they’ll melt altogether though, and the judges are almost surprised by how good Benjamina’s flavors turn out to be.
The Great British Baking Show airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on PBS.
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