If you have done any baking in your life, or watched baking shows such as the Great British Baking Show more than once, you are well aware of how fickle caramel can be. It’s just sugar and water brought to a boil but it is easily one of the most temperamental substances a baker has to deal with.
So of course, the Great British Baking Show decided to dedicate an entire weekend to the stuff, much to the dismay of the six remaining home bakers. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Caramel Week.
For the Signature Challenge, the bakers had to make a caramel tart with an emphasis on decoration. The style and flavors were up to them but caramel had to be the star of the tart. Much like during Pastry Week and the terrine pie, the key here was making sure you left yourself enough time to cool the tart so you could decorate it.
Lizzie, Jurgen and George all decided to add a baked element to their tarts and it proved their downfall. None of them had enough time to let it cool and the result were messy tarts with decorations that lacked definition.
Of the three George’s tart was by far the worst. His caramel never set and leaked out the sides while his salted caramel custard curdled, making for a tart that neither looked nor tasted very good. On the other hand Crystelle got great feedback on her tart which included pecan crunch and miso caramel apple pieces.
Who went home during Caramel Week on the Great British Baking Show?
The Technical Challenge seemed like a breeze by comparison with the bakers asked to make 10 caramel biscuit bars, which are basically a Twix candy bar. The judges wanted the bars to be perfect and gave the bakers very little instruction.
No one really hit this Technical out of the park as everyone had issues. George’s bars were a disaster with rock hard caramel and messy chocolate. Unsurprisingly he came in last followed by Lizzie, Crystelle, Chigs and Jurgen. Giuseppe ended up winning even though his biscuit was under baked. Paul Hollywood even commented his were the least worst of the bunch.
Which brings us to the Showstopper Challenge. The bakers had to create a caramel flavored dessert that had to include a clear dome made of sugar or isomalt. It had to include a baked element as well as two caramel elements.
Lizzie, who had long been told to up her finesse, decided to go for broke and turned the dome upside down, placing her dessert of an apple cake and pecan brittle inside. However, while the dessert was visually stunning, the flavors were a confusing mess and her cake was way too heavy.
Jurgen also went all in on the challenge, making a cake that needed 107 steps to complete. It included (deep breath) a shortcrust pastry base, caramel, hazelnut praline, caramel bavarois, passionfruit and mango bavarois, chocolate genoise, passion fruit glaze, ladyfingers along the border and a mango flower. The dessert was a massive hit and Jurgen was the only baker to get his dome completely clear.
Everyone managed to make a decent Showstopper which made the task of picking Star Baker very difficult. No one really shined or stood out during Caramel Week and so Jurgen ended up with the win thanks to his consistency during the weekend and his amazing Showstopper. George, despite a decent showing during the final challenge, couldn’t overcome his errors of the previous day and was sent home.
With Caramel Week over Jurgen returns to the top of our Great British Baking Show Leaderboard followed by last week’s Star Baker Crystelle.
Next week is the quarter finals and things are getting tight. The judging has gone up a notch and Paul and Prue are expecting amazing bakes. Can Chigs break from the middle of the pack? Can Lizzie return to form? Will someone other than Jurgen or Giuseppe win the title? We’ll get some answers this Friday on Netflix.