The infamous annual Soggy Bottom episode of The Great British Bake Off was crammed full of buttery creations and unashamedly bad innuendos. Other than that, it was a rather dull episode, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I had to watch it twice after losing my notes (such dedication). This week, amongst the chaos of an army of vol-au-vents, Alvin flaked out of the competition and Mat finally triumphed in a dramatic turn of events.
Although the mere mention of Pastry Week usually stirs up all kinds of passions in this carb-loving girl, I must admit to being slightly bored during this week’s episode. Yes, Bake Off is always laidback, and I understand that’s part of the charm, but there was a distinct lack of dramatic delicious creations this week. Vol-au-vents are tasty, but hardly eye-catching. However, the rise and triumph of Mat, who stated in a BBC interview that his greatest ambition in life is to own a dishwasher, made watching worthwhile.
First of all, I’d like to express my love for this week’s Star Baker. It seems my heart, along with the heart of the nation, has been won by the easy going London fire fighter. There’s no doubt that part of his charm is that he seems to display the perfect level of confidence; not even close to the smug confidence of some of his competitors, but not so terrifyingly nervous as previous Bakers (Ruby, I’m looking at you).
This week kicked off with the Signature Bake challenge: Frangipane tart. I did gloat a little when it was revealed that Ian’s bland sounding raspberry and pear tart had a soggy bottom, but disliking Ian and his previous success has become slightly tedious; especially as he seems to be making more mistakes.
Both Tamal and Paul went for festive themes and received brilliant reviews, as did Mat, for his ‘Pina Colada’ infused tart (which is what they call me on a Friday night).
Mat’s golden streak continued into the technical challenge, as he created “near perfect” flaounes. Flora, who seems to be always the bridesmaid and never the bride scored another second, while poor Alvin’s doomed flight path continued to head downwards as his flaounes came last. What are flaounes I here you say? I still don’t know, but they looked cheesy and delicious, and I doubt you can buy them in Greggs.
Continuing with the dull theme, this week’s Showstopper Challenge was to create 48 vol-au-vents in two different flavours. Mel’s peculiar accent when announcing the “ten minutes to go” alarm was possibly the most entertaining moment in the Showstopper, as there was a distinct lack of orange serpents and edible flower pots this week.
Yet, true to form, Nadiya attempted to make the least satisfying puff pastry treat ever a little exciting, proposing to make Bengali Korma and clementine with cod vol-au-vents; you would be forgiven for making a small hurling noise while thinking of cod and clementine vol-au-vents.
As this week’s Gogglebox confirmed, Nadiya’s desperate tears as she ran out of time in the challenge drew pitying gasps from our living rooms. However, against all the odds, Nadiya’s flavours were still “spot on”, according to Her Majesty Queen Mary, and ensured her a place in next week’s Victorian themed episode.
Although this week’s episode was easily overshadowed by my wine glass, Mat’s long awaited win was worth waiting for. Alvin, and his slightly alarming emotional investment in his baking, will be sorely missed. This is mostly because his teary eyes reminded us all why we care so much about floury bits of dough.
Hopefully next week will inject some much needed drama into this series, which still seems to be flagging slightly in terms of energy. My money is on a showdown between Mat and Ian; I just hope that Mat’s endearing bewilderment wins over Mary and Paul.
(For anyone who might be interested, it turns out he is married. Not that I looked or anything…)