The semi-finals saw the tension rise like the soufflés in the Technical Challenge and a collapsed showstopper as well as the wrong baker eliminated for me! But we have our three finalists, Nadiya, Tamal and Ian!
The Signature was a Chocolate Tart. Sounds simple enough except the pressure was on and none of the bakers could afford to mess up the first challenge. Ian, who has used daring but effective flavour combinations many times already, continued that theme by pairing chocolate with bayleaf but it’s fair to say that the judges weren’t the biggest fans of the flavours! Flora decided to go with passion fruit, a tropical flavour that works really well with chocolate, except she split the custard layer and Paul wasn’t a great fan of her macarons which were overbaked! Tamal was inspired by New York for his tart, with a rich salted chocolate filling, a pecan praline and a raspberry coulis. The judges liked Tamal’s tart and like through much of the competition, Tamal was solidly doing well. Nadiya used that classic peanut and chocolate combination and added salted caramel! They loved it so much that Nadiya received the third Hollywood Handshake of the series! Go Nadiya!
Come Technical Challenge and only Flora was left in the tent as the bakers had staggered starts like back in Series 1! It’s Chocolate Souffle time! It seems like the pressure got to Ian as he forgot how to make a crème pat and ended up in 3rd place. But Nadiya was at a loss again as she came last! Tamal had another solid challenge but Flora managed to make up for her split custard finishing first!
Showstopper time and it’s a Chocolate Centrepiece. I’m just going to say that there wasn’t really much baking in this challenge except a few biscuits scattered on the side (I’m looking at you Nadiya and Ian!). Whilst I understand that it’s a centrepiece, I thought that Flora and Tamal hit the brief perfectly as Tamal used biscuits to construct his Chocolate Bell Tower, which the judges thought was a bit messy and rushed, and Flora had a chocolate sponge, shortbread and chocolate horses on her Cocoa Carousel. I felt that Flora was not credited on the work that she did in the 4 hours compared to Ian’s Chocolate Well which whilst showstopping didn’t demonstrate as much skill. For this reason I do believe that the judges were being particularly harsh on Flora and a bit of favouritism was seen. For once, Flora’s style didn’t pay off in her favour and during judging, this happened!
But Nadiya impressed with the work she did on her Peacock in Nan’s Door making many feathers all by hand and sculpting a peacock out of puffed rice and modelling chocolate. She was the only baker to completely go unscathed from the judging and despite coming last in the Technical, managed to clinch Star Baker this week!
But it was decided that Flora had to go making Bake Off history as the first ever baker who finished first in the Technical to be eliminated. I don’t think Flora was the weakest baker this week, I do think Ian should have gone simply for the amount of work Flora put into her showstopper yet she still came out with something that looked good!
It’s the Final next week and for the first time this series, the bakers tackle enriched dough with Signature Filled Iced Buns and Showstopping Classic British Cakes although nothing has been released about the Technical apart from “being something the bakers have all struggled with”. I want to know who you are supporting for the final, Nadiya, Tamal or Ian? Vote below: