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Great British Bake Off episode five review: biscuit chandeliers, a spicy technical challenge and Paul gingerly judging alone

PUBLISHED: 12:34 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 27 September 2018

Episode 5, Technical Bake; Karen checking oven (C) Love Productions

Episode 5, Technical Bake; Karen checking oven (C) Love Productions

(Channel 4 images must not be altered or manipulated in any way) CHANNEL 4 PICTURE PUBLICITY 124 HORSEFERRY ROAD LONDON SW1P 2TX

It’s week five and spice week - as Scary, Baby, Sporty, Ginger and Saffron (posh Spice) said, time for two to become one. And that was just the judges. In the case of the contestants, nine became seven. Confused? Not half as much as the contestants during this week’s technical challenge were.

Episode 5, Showstopper Bake; Sandi, Noel & Paul royal tour with Rahul (C) Love ProductionsEpisode 5, Showstopper Bake; Sandi, Noel & Paul royal tour with Rahul (C) Love Productions

It all started sedately enough, with ginger cake being the theme. I love ginger cake in all its forms, indeed, I love ginger in all its forms: nuts, stem, crystallised, beer, root, powder, thins, nobs, I love it all.

Paul claimed that cooking with ginger was ‘difficult’. Who knew? Certainly not this week’s bakers who all made a decent fist of it.

Rahul and Karen opted for a bonfire theme, on what appeared to be another scorcher of a summer’s day and Dan produced, initially, a hot mess and confined the original to the bin but pulled his second attempt out of the (black bin) bag to make something edible.

Jon used some complicated techniques using olive oil, lemon, water and an agar solution to make glitter lemon balls. I warned him about this nonsense in last week’s review.

Episode 5, Showstopper Bake; Paul royal tour with Rahul (C) Love ProductionsEpisode 5, Showstopper Bake; Paul royal tour with Rahul (C) Love Productions

The fanfare that greeted Terry’s return turned into a weak ‘parp’ as we were instantly reminded of his talents as he stuck his two hot cakes together with icing. What did he think was going to happen?

Once again, Rahul was acclaimed, this time as a genius. He got a proper handshake this time. He even apologised to Paul for being so good. Kim-Joy, who is fast becoming my favourite, topped her cake with a cute little gingerbread house, handshake number two, and Manon made it a hat-trick of hands with shake number three. Truth be told I could have eaten them all.

This week’s technical challenge was a weird one: Ma’amoul. I’m still confused as to what they were making and I’ve watched it twice and made copious notes. Some sort of Eastern biscuit which featured dates walnuts, cardamom, blossom water and who knows what else - I think.

Noel came out with the line of the series so far as he described the Arabian biscuit: “Never before have I known less about what I’m talking about.”

Episode 5, Showstopper Bake; Dan decorating (C) Love ProductionsEpisode 5, Showstopper Bake; Dan decorating (C) Love Productions

Noel and Sandi are the stars of this series. Warm, charming, funny: they are my favorite cookery double act ever. I’m sure most of you have forgotten the pair who went before them. Sandi and Noel are the Vic and Bob of the cake world, and I love Vic and Bob.

Ruby was victorious, Terry was eighth out of a possible nine which to be fair, was a triumph.

Next on the menu were biscuit chandeliers, which sounds like a disparaging euphemism, along the chocolate tea pot lines.

Paul, whose specialty seems to be stating the bleeding obvious, pointed out this was a highly unusual challenge. You don’t say. A light fitting made out of cookie dough? Unusual? You should come and live in NR2. They are as common as cats: we’ve got three in our downstairs loo.

Episode 5, Showstopper Bake; Manon baking (C) Love ProductionsEpisode 5, Showstopper Bake; Manon baking (C) Love Productions

The biscuit chandelier broke Prue who, like Terry last week, called in sick. What sort of example are they all setting? Not to worry, Paul doesn’t take a blind bit of notice of her anyway.

Manon made a stunning art deco masterpiece, Bryony made a turmeric latte psychedelic creation, Dan made beautiful butterflies and Rahul went for an understated 150 stained glass biscuits of such colour that they didn’t need any bulbs to light up the room.

Kim-Joy produced a masterpiece of an icy snow scene, in a marquee, in the middle of summer. She used something called isomalt, a sugar substitute. (I’m not a luddite, I used it relentlessly over the past three weeks producing the dessert for the Theatre Royal’s production of Gastronomic)

Terry made something that my grandson Bennett, aged three, would have been proud to bring home from playgroup. He attempted the twelve days of Christmas and instead made about a day-and-a-half of roadkill on an countryside B-Road.

Episode 5, Technical Bake; Sandi with Ruby baking (C) Love ProductionsEpisode 5, Technical Bake; Sandi with Ruby baking (C) Love Productions

In the end, the judges had the easiest of calls to make in this, my favourite show of the series so far. Kim-Joy was triumphant, and Terry and Karen went home. Entirely the right result, though the closing goodbyes were most unexpected, emotional and even moved this chef’s heart of stone. Just for a few seconds.

Karen, I don’t know if you’re reading this, I don’t know your personal situation but please, go home with Terry and live happily ever after.

* Read Richard’s review of Great British Bake Off episode four, here.

Episode 5, Signature Bake; Jon, Manon & Briony baking (C) C4Episode 5, Signature Bake; Jon, Manon & Briony baking (C) C4

KAREN:

Episode 5, Signature Bake; Noel with Terry baking (C) Love ProductionsEpisode 5, Signature Bake; Noel with Terry baking (C) Love Productions

Q: Who encouraged you to fill out the application form to be on The Great British Bake Off?

A: I dared myself to start the application process as my first challenge to celebrate my 60th birthday year. My daughters forwarded me the application form, they encouraged me and also helped by proof reading for me and putting in some punctuation and full sentences as I get carried away writing at speed - as I do baking at speed and doing more than one thing at a time!

Q: What age or time in your life did you start baking and who has inspired you?

Episode 5, Signature Bake; Sandi, Prue & Paul royal tour with JonEpisode 5, Signature Bake; Sandi, Prue & Paul royal tour with Jon

A:As a child of maybe eight or nine my Mam started training me to be a housewife (she failed) so she taught me the very basics - how to fold in flour in cakes and how to keep pastry tender - that type of thing. Then it was a big gap of many years before I tried some less typical everyday stuff. We had a holiday home in France and I became fascinated by the patisseries and breads, but only in the last year or so having scaled back work commitments did I try to make some, and they turned out surprisingly well. I also taught myself how to ice and decorate celebration cakes, as again I was always a bit mesmerised by seeing these works of art, I scoured books and the internet to help me.

Q: What is your signature bake that the family or friends love or expect for a special occasion?

A: I would say a bright and glossy tarte au citron or a fat juicy quiche.

Q: How did you find it in the Tent, walking in on that first morning?

A: Seeing and entering the tent was like I was in somebody else’s world, totally wonderful and exciting.

Q: Which Judge did you want to impress the most and did you find Sandi and Noel a boost to get you through?

A: I think Paul as he is a bit of a tough nut to crack and I wanted the challenge of trying to. Prue was lovely and Sandi and Noel were both hilarious and I had a great time with them, that helped such a lot.

Q: Sweet or savoury – what is your preference and why?

A: Always been savoury, well I do love both but savoury, who knows why?? I don’t!

Q: Favourite bake to make… and what would be your Desert Island Dish?

Favourite bake (at the time being, it does change) my Beef Bourgogne Pie, Desert Island would have to be one of my Rich Fruit Christmas cakes, a massive one maybe several tiers so it would keep us going and not go off while we wait to be rescued

Q: Was it easier to leave GBBO as part of a double elimination?

A: It really helped me to leave with Terry, it was bitter sweet of course, and I had no doubt that I was going, I knew I couldn’t pull it back this time. But to go with a baker that I had grown a bond with was so much easier. We sat together holding hands when they said the verdict.

Terry: Q: Who encouraged you to fill out the application form to be on The Great British Bake Off?

My youngest daughter did the application for me, filled it in and sent it in. And then of course I had to do it. I was very pleased that she did it, and totally amazed when I heard back that I was in. It was a shock, but a nice shock.

Q: What age or time in your life did you start baking and who has inspired you?

A: I have always baked as long as I can remember. I spent a lot of time in my nan’s kitchen who made fresh bread and cakes every day. My mum and my dad baked, so everyone I have known has baked. It’s been a constant in my life. We make bread and cakes and don’t buy them!

Q: What is your signature bake that the family or friends love or expect for a special occasion?

A: I make a double chocolate and cherry gateaux with amaretti and that’s a firm family favourite.

Q: How did you find it in the Tent, walking in on that first morning?

A: The whole experience of that first walk in was it for me. It was a totally surreal and enjoyable experience. That first memory will stick with me the most.

Q: Which Judge did you want to impress the most and did you find Sandi and Noel a boost to get you through?

A: I have used Paul’s recipes for so long and have always admired him. Paul has always been up there for me as a baker, so I did probably want to impress him the most, and of course Prue is brilliant at what she does. Sandi is such a lovely person, and Noel is so funny, but above all they are very caring and compassionate.

Q: Sweet or savoury – what is your preference and why?

A: I do like both the same to make, but to eat then sweet is my favourite.

Q: Favourite bake to make… and what would be your Desert Island Dish?

A: My favourite bake to make is a rich Game Pie made from pheasant, duck or venison as a winter warmer pie. If I was stuck on a Desert Island I would want something to cheer me up like Tipsy Tart which would have lots of brandy so it would keep it preserved and keep me going.

A: You have said that GBBO helped fill a void after the sad death of your wife?

A: There wasn’t anything that filled that void for a very long time so it did give me a focus. It’s been a big help.

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