The Great British Baking Show (2010–…): Season 3, Episode 9 - Patisserie - full transcript

OK, so, what do you get if you cross four remaining bakers,

three devilishly difficult challenges,

two very demanding judges, and one large white tent.

- Big holes all over Australia!
- No, Sue.

It's the semifinals of The Great British Bake Off.

- Of course it is. I told you that.
- Knock knock.
- Who's there?

- Paul Hollywood.
- Hello.

Last week...

Oh, I'm not ready! was a biscuit-based quarter-final.

John rediscovered his early promise.

I think it's a magnificent construction.

- Brendan...
- The male will have a cockscomb.

..did what he does best.

It's a bit much for me, to be honest.

- Danny...
- Ah!
- ..clung on.

- You stay there.
- And, for the first time...

- That caramel's just rubbish.
- ' of James's ambitious experiments...'

- Oh, Sue.
- What have you done darling?

'..didn't go to plan.'

This is a total disaster.

But, it was Cathryn...

Honestly, I've completely lost it.

..whose bake off had to end.

I am not surprised. A little bit heart-broken.


Semi-final, mate.

'..the remaining four head across the Channel...'

- Bonjour, hello.
- Bonjour.
- Bonjour. reach miniature signature bake perfection...

The flavour's there, the texture's there, but the look is terrible.

..achieve flawless technical brilliance...

That's a nice cake, that, Mary.

My creme pat's has got cellulite, at the moment.

..and create show-stopping...

Oh, my God!

..choux pastry gateau.

Go right through how you're constructing this.

I don't know.

- But whose prayers will be answered?
- Come on!

And whose bake off...

I think, another 30 seconds.

..won't go the distance.

The person who will not be joining us next week

for The Great British Bake Off final is...

I don't know what the hell I can do, then, cos it's just not working.

Of course, Sue, it is French week.

- So, so why are you doing Hungarian accent?
- I don't know.

I don't know, either!

- Zut alors!
- I don't care.

- This is going to be quite a stressful day,

but, it's the stepping stone towards the final,

and that's what I've wanted, right from the start.

- To think that the final is just one step away,

I feel absolutely sick with nerves.

I've got butterflies in my stomach, and I'm choked, up here.

- It's been awfully stressful, at times.

It's been emotionally all over the place.

- The atmosphere is a little different.

The atmosphere's a little bit more tense.

Everyone's a little bit more withdrawn.

Welcome, boulanger et boulangere.

Today, what we'd like you to do, is to prepare the classic

after-dinner French treat, petits fours.

You can do meringues, choux pastry, biscuit.

Anything you like, but three types, and we need 12 of each.

- On your marks.
- Get set.
- And good luck, and bake.

Petits four literally means small oven, and gets its name

from the coal-fired brick ovens of 18th century France.

Expensive to run, no heat was wasted,

so very high temperatures,

le grand four, was used to bake large cakes.

And, as the ovens cooled, the lower heat,

le petits fours, was used to cook

delicate after-dinner cakes, tarts,

macaroons, meringues and patisserie.

Petits fours are tricky to make.

First of all, you're wanting something really rather small.

A true petit four is one mouthful.

Don't forget, a petit four is eaten after your meal.

This is at the time when you're sitting there, going...

and you've got your coffee, and you look down,

and they deliver another plate of delights.

It has to be small, they have to be exquisite, and at this level,

they have to be perfect.

All the bakers must demonstrate a different baking

discipline on each of their three varieties of petits fours.

- What I'm striving for, in order to qualify for a final place,

which has been my ambition from the start, is absolute uniformity,

great flavours and contrasts,

and really exciting to the eyes.

So, I suppose that suggests I've got

some perfectionist tendencies, and I do.

It can make me a bit difficult to live with,

because I won't compromise, in that sense.

Brendan's making coffee meringues filled with hazelnut cream,

miniature apricots and pistachio sponge cakes, known as friands,

and choux pastry cygnets.

Hang on, hang on. By cygnet, do you mean a small swan?

- As in a small swan.
- So, you make a little swan? Wow!

And I just thought, to give it some kick,

I would put in some freshly made lime curd,

before the Chantilly goes on.

Will they be sitting on a blue buttercream sea?

With fish bobbing up, marzipan fish!

Well, they'll provides a great contrast, I think, to the friands,

and the meringues.

It all sounds very technical, to me,

but you're totally able to cope with that.

- Thank you, Mary.
- And I bet you they'll all match in size.

Three bakers have chosen to make macaroons,

by gently folding sugar and ground almonds into stiff egg white.

But, one of them is taking this French classic

down a less traditional path.

Just making some chilli sugar.

I've got a whole chilli in here,

not sure how wise that was.

James is making fresh lemon and rhubarb tarts,

hazelnut biscuit and chocolate brownie towers,

and his chilli sugar will top his lime and raspberry macaroons.

Just think, the chilli, lime, in a macaroon.

- Have you had that flavour combination before, Paul?
- No.

- Have you not?
- No.

- You surprise me.
- Was it new to you?

It was, when I discovered it.

Paul is silent, that's a worry.

I'm just thinking, the time they've got,

it's quite tricky to come up with a decent macaroon.

Good luck to you, James.

All the petits fours must look identical.

And, with no case or tin to contain them,

the macaroons have to be piped with total accuracy.

- I feel under a lot of time pressure today, so it's hard to tell

if that's because I'm feeling more competitive, or what.

Tapping removes any air bubbles which could balloon in the oven,

and ruin the macaroons' appearance.

For a shiny top, the batter needs to rest,

so a smooth skin forms.

You've just got to leave them in the air, so that,

when you just very gently put your finger on them,

they feel touch dry.

You can't, sort of, stick your finger in,

cos that will ruin the structure of them.

Along with her blackberry and peppermint macaroons,

Danny's making miniature raspberry financiers,

and langues de chat.

What is a langues de chat?

Literally, langues de chat is cat's tongue,

supposed to be a cat's tongue, licking a bowl of milk.

Whether they do or not, when they're done, we'll see!

Langues de chat.

I like them, but the kind you get in biscuits at Christmas,

are usually a bit hard, and disappointing.

So, that's why I'm dipping these in chocolate.

- You're looking very French, Danny, with the stripy T-shirt.
- Yeah.

Like myself.

- It's very good.
- Trying.
- Channel your French, channel your French.

- Absolutely. Channel my inner French.
- Yeah.

Bakers, if this was the Tour de France, you'd be in the, oh,

I'd say, the Dordogne area.

You're halfway through. You've got one-and-a-half hours to go.

It's all about time management, this. They've got to finish on time.

If you're creating a pastry tart, you've got to chill that down,

making a macaroon, you've got to rest that for at least an hour.

Whichever direction they choose to go, it takes time,

and they will have to multitask, probably for the first time,

on several different things.

- I made a wee list,

of the time allotments for each thing that I'm doing.

And that's totally gone out the window.

I've got pastry cracking here, it's not going well.

- What I've done is I've actually chosen three things where

I know I can cook them all at the same temperature.

When it comes to sponge-based petits fours,

only one baker is attempting

France's famous shell-shaped classic.

I'm just doing the Madeleines in this tin,

just for the original shape.

But, what I'll do, is I'll drizzle a sticky lemon syrup on top of them,

and then roll them in caster sugar, so they look bejewelled.

- Bejewelled.
- Bejewelled.
- I love that.

They're quite difficult, it's the Genoese sponge method.

It's the foaming method. So, it's in the flavour, though, isn't it?

John's lemon Madeleines will be accompanied by

white chocolate and raspberry tartlets,

and dark chocolate and cherry macaroons.

- Anything could go wrong with this bake.

I mean, every single element is tricky.

I want this to be my life, you know what I mean?

I just want to be able to bake. It's important for me to do well.

Especially with patisserie, because I want to go to Cordon Bleu,

and I want to learn, do the Grand Diplome in patisserie.

So, it's important that I do well, because, otherwise,

I'll never have a cat in hell's chance of getting there.

Fab four, you've got an hour to go. An hour left on this.

Come on! This is taking too long.

- Bonjour! Allo!
- Bonjour.
- Bonjour. How are you? Ca va.

- Oui, ca va tres bien, Madame.
- Good.

You've gone for some sort of ornithological patisserie, here.

- So, you've got a swan with forewings and neck.
- Would you like to do one?

I'd love to do one.

- There you go.
- This is...
- You just put in the elongated bit just about... No.

- You're like all the teachers. "Do that, do that. But no! Like that!"

- Let me demonstrate. Look, if you hold it here, it'll be firmer.
- Yes.

- And go in like so.
- And gouge into the actual choux?

- Into the choux, and there you go.
- Right. Right, OK.

Just tuck it in. There you go, perfect!

That was deeply therapeutic. I feel calm. That was lovely!

With a place in the final at stake, one baker is about to commit

a potentially disastrous patisserie faux pas.

Never ever do this.

Normally any water, if it gets into chocolate,

will cause it to separate and, coagulate and go all horrible.

You'll see the magic happening in a minute.

To create a filling for his hazelnut biscuit and chocolate brownie towers,

James's latest experiment is to melt chocolate in water

and cool it rapidly over ice while whisking.

This makes the water droplets smaller,

forming a smooth emulsion with the chocolate,

creating a pure chocolate mousse without the need to add cream or egg white.


Bakers, you've got 30 minutes left on the petits fours challenge.

- 30 minutes left.
- Where am I? Right.

- It's not very many minutes to go.

- Oh, no!

I think another 30 seconds.

- Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! A lot of shaking. You all right?
- Yeah, yeah.

I'm always like this.

It's rustic!

- Hang on, I've lost a Madeleine.

I left it in the tin, and it's deflated in the tin.

But I'll hide that, and no one will tell Paul and Mary about that, will they?

OK, semifinalists,

you have five minutes left on your French creations.

This red mucus...

Bakers, come on in, your time is up.

Step away from your goods. Thank you.

What we do like is originality.

And I have never heard of that.

They look so pretty with their little chilli topping.

Macaroons are chewy.

The chilli is there, but it's not overpowering at all.

Let's have the tartlets.

The pastry is a very, very thin layer. All very crispy.

The interior's lovely, the flavours are good, the pastry tastes good.

For me, they are too big. Half size, petits fours.

That's afternoon tea.

This is a hazelnut biscuit, a chocolate mousse, topped with a brownie.

The brownie is excellent, the biscuit is good, and the mousse is excellent. It's quite sharp.

You're very, very good on your flavours.

- I like the size of these two. These could be a bit big.
- Right.

I do like the blackberry.

I think the peppermint is hot, it's got a bit of heat to it,

which I don't necessarily agree works with the blackberry.

It's a shame.

- Nice, even bake.
- Basil works well.
- Yeah.
- I like the look of that.

It looks tempting.

Mmm! Beautifully crisp.

- Full of flavour. The chocolate goes well.
- I don't like the foot.
- Yeah.

You need to have more of a clean edge when you're putting your chocolate on.

The sizes of these are probably a bit too big.

And also, it somehow or other should have a better appearance.

It's just a slab on the plate.

- The flavour's there.
- Flavour's great.
- Texture's there.

But the look is terrible.

Not much of a shine on the top.

I think I would have liked a lighter chocolate in the middle.

That's exactly what I was going to say.

It's like having a piece of great chocolate cake, but you can only have a little bite.

- Yeah.
- Which is why, if you'd made that even smaller,

and just popped it in with a lighter chocolate, would have been perfect.

OK, let's carry on now with the raspberry tartlets.

I like the sharpness of the raspberry.

I like the white chocolate.

But it doesn't really excite me when I eat it.

That texture between the raspberry and the chocolate... Oh, dear.

- It just doesn't...
- That mucus? Yeah.
- You hit this sharpness, and then you get this...

Oh, the textures are all wrong.

They look so tempting and so beautiful,

I feel as though I'm in Paris.

Good, consistent size. They look very pretty.

They are beautifully baked,

and you get the real flavour of the nuts coming through,

and the pistachio is soft and squidgy. It is a sheer joy to eat.

- Thank you.
- Wow!

- Aren't they pretty?
- The flavour of the lime comes through beautifully, as well,

that little bit of sharpness to marry up with the sweet.

The actual core size of it is proper petit four case size,

- and what you done is made them very elaborate.
- Embellished.
- Yes.

This is the coffee meringue with the hazelnut cream.

The flavour is absolutely lovely.

- Just the right amount of coffee, just the right amount of nut.
- Very Parisian.

- Petits fours? You've come the closest to the size.
- Thank you.

What I'm really, really pleased about was to hear the compliment around how Parisian they looked.

I couldn't have imagined it going better, really.

It was never going to be completely perfect,

but you can't get a tray of petits fours completely perfect,

even for patissiers, they are quite hard to do.

I don't think I did too well at all, there, to be honest.

But you've done now, there's nothing I can do to change that.

If I let that deter me from doing well in the next two rounds, you know, I'm out of here.

So, bakers, you know what comes next - the afeared Technical Challenge.

As per usual, this one is judged blind,

so, Mary, Paul, would you like to hoof off to the marquee d'amour!

Bakers, I can now reveal to you that we are going to be asking you, please,

to bake the famous celebration cake,

which is of course French, and it's called a fraisier.

"Frasier," in British.

Now, this has got to be visually stunning, OK?

It's all about the layers of sponge, strawberry and creme patissiere.

It's the semifinal,

so Mary and Paul will be requiring nothing short of perfection.

- So, on your marks...
- Get set...

BOTH: Bake!

The bakers have the same ingredients, the same recipe

and the same problem.

Bare. The instructions are bare, this week. Really bare.

"Make a Genoese sponge." That's all it says on how to make a cake.

"Make the creme pat."

I know what one should look like, but I don't actually know

if I can do it, so let's see.

Mary, the fraisier cake, I think it's a fantastic technical challenge.

Can you tell us a little bit about it?

First of all, you've got to meet a Genoese sponge.

Now, a Genoese is tricky, as we all know.

You must have the butter just at the right temperature.

Too hot, and you lose all the volume. The filling is creme patissiere.

It's got to hold its shape. If it's too warm, it will just ooze out.

The whole result is beautiful.

- It looks great, it really does.
- Well, isn't that absolutely scrummy?

That's a nice cake, that, Mary.

Well, it starts with make a Genoese sponge

and I think I know how to make up a Genoese sponge.

Genoese sponge is the little black dress of the patisserie world -

a simple, elegant cake that gets its panache

from the accessories of flavourings, fillings and toppings which adorn it.

There is no leavening agent.

Instead, whole eggs are whisked with sugar over warm water

to produce light, airy texture.

Done correctly, they will expand four times the original volume.

- Start again with this. I had it too hot and it's cooked the eggs.

I am flustered. It's just to know that I am in the worst position

to start this round off with. It's just a bit gutting.

I'm trying not to let that get to me but it's difficult.

- You want to try and do the minimum amount of mixing with a Genoese.

Because once you've gone to all the trouble of putting the air in,

the last thing you want to do is ruin it by knocking all the air out.

You add the flour and then you add in the melted butter.

It gives you a different texture.

Once the butter is added, the cake must be baked

immediately before the foamy batter starts to deflate.

As our final few bakers pop their creations into the oven,

they take for granted the fact that technology

can bring their creations to life.

It seems beautifully apt that this week, on French week,

we are celebrating Alexis Soyer who allowed us

to bring the art of fine baking into the home.

Alexis Soyer was born in France in 1810

and displayed culinary prowess from a young age,

becoming chief cook aged just 16.

A flamboyant and ambitious character, he travelled

to London, becoming head chef at the exclusive Reform Club

where he set about attracting Victorian cooking methods

into the future.

Soyer was given carte blanche, here at the Reform Club,

to create the most modern, technically sophisticated kitchens

in the entire world

and he took full advantage of this.

Pall Mall was the first street in Britain to have

a regular supply of gas and so he harnessed this

to install an entire row of gas stoves.

Ever the showman, Soyer opened his Reform Club kitchens

to an astonished public, previously suspicious of gas cooking.

It became the second biggest tourist attraction in London

after Madame Tussaud's and, buoyed by the success,

Soyer organised a spectacular new gastronomic exhibition -

the Universal Symposium Of All Nations.

Soyer used to the symposium to promote the use of gas.

Every day he roasted an entire ox by gas

so everybody could watch this and he had rows of gas stoves that people

could see the 600 roasts a day that the symposium had to produce

being roasted in front of their eyes.

Before this time, people had been really quite frightened of gas

and he wanted the domestic user

to understand that gas wasn't dangerous.

In fact, quite the opposite. It was the most amazing boon

and could really benefit them in their home environment.

Soyer's variable temperature gas stove proved to be

a revelation for the domestic baker and allowed people to experiment

and become more ambitious with their home bakes.

Soyer is really the grandfather of the oven in your house.

The old coal-fired ranges were blunt instruments but Soyer's

gas temperature controlled ovens were precision tools.

They had a pilot light on them so you didn't need to open

the door to check the temperature so your cakes were safe from sinking.

The gas oven transforms home baking

because, instead of just sticking something in at a temperature

that wouldn't change and then pulling it out again,

you can change the temperature, you can cook things

at a very low heat, you can make elaborate pastries and meringues.

Things that would really have been beyond the repertoire of any

domestic cook in the days when you had to cook on coal.

Soyer's oven's were too expensive for working-class Victorians

but he didn't forget those less fortunate,

publishing cookery books for the poor and setting up

soup kitchens to help those starving in the Irish potato famine.

Soyer's longest-lasting legacy, though, is what he did for the Army.

During the Crimean War, he invented a kind of stove -

essentially a camping stove -

and that meant that two men could cook for 600 people.

An army marches on its stomach.

He made sure that they could march in that way.

And those reforms in the Army stayed in place until the 1980s.

Since his death in 1858,

the memory of Soyer's groundbreaking achievements has faded over time.

But the legacy this dandy Frenchman leaves us

still stands in our kitchens today.

OK, bakers, you've got one hour on your fraisier.

One hour to go on your fraisier.

Yeah, seems an OK size for the size of the cake.

It's maybe a wee bit short.

To create the top and bottom of their finished cake,

the delicate sponge must be perfectly cut in two.

Unequal layers will ruin the fraisier's appearance.

And should the sponge break, the top won't be flat

and the creme patissiere could seep out through the bottom

before it's fully set.

The creme patissiere filling in a fraisier requires

an unfamiliar addition

to ensure it's thick enough to support the structure of the cake.

I've never worked with cornflour in a creme pat before

so I don't really know how it should be

other than it's quite lumpy and it doesn't appear to be thickening up.

Which is slightly worrying me.

Cornflour only cooks and thickens around boiling point

and the margin for error is tiny.

Not cooked enough and it will be runny, causing the cake to collapse.

Overcooked, it loses its vital silky cream texture.

- Never used such a thick creme pat before, ever.

My creme pat's got cellulite at the moment. It's just...

It'll be all right.

Adding the butter is going to make it homogenise and then when it sets

and cools it will become much more pipeable and therefore cutable.

If you don't want a skin to form on creme pat, the trick is

to chuck on a little bit of icing sugar.

If the wind doesn't blow it away then that'll stop the skin forming.

While the creme patissiere sets in the fridge,

the bakers start to assemble the cake.

First, the tin is lined with acetate.

This is the first sponge we've asked people to bake

that actually has its own built-in rain mac.

We need to do this to make it look pretty somehow.

If it isn't flush with the edge of the tin,

the edge of the fraisier won't be smooth.

- Goodness. I've got no idea how to do this.
- How's Danny doing?

Danny's on good form. Is she?

She'll have a good morning and she'll be fine. She'll do this properly.

I can't do it.

I think John's a bit stressed.

How is that rain mac coming on? All right?

- I can't do it.
- You'll be all right.

I hate this feeling of, "I may as well give up now."

But I'm not going to because, you know,

every bake is another chance to turn it all around, isn't it?

- He's been in the drop a few times.
- I know.

Hm. Semi-final, mate.

30 minutes, bakers. 30 minutes left.

You could hear a penny drop.

Each cake needs to be topped with a layer of marzipan before adding

the final piped chocolate decoration.

Don't know the best way of doing it, actually.

This is, I think, the most technically difficult

technical so far.

I've read through the recipe

and I can't quite visualise it which isn't really a good sign.

It seems to be heavily based on presentation which makes me fear.

The chocolate is just setting on me already.

I should have put it in a bit sooner.

I was cooling it down to get it to the right temp

but I think I might have over-cooled it.

Which is just sod's law, isn't it, you know?

Oh, hello. That looks really professional.


OK, bakers, just five minutes

before we go and get Paul and Mary from their dungeon.

Just five minutes.

The moment of truth. Oh!

Oh, Brendan.

Might have to go back in the fridge.

That looks good. It looks amazing.

This is the unveiling of the century.

Oh, it's beautiful. Isn't it, Sue?

Tres bon.

Looks blooming scrum-diddly-umptious.

Oh, God above. Just look at that.

It looks hideous.

It's just not setting.

It's just not setting. It's just a disaster.

OK, bakers.











Boulange c'est fini.

That was a tough challenge, wasn't it?

One or two of them look pretty good. We'll start with this one, Mary?

- If we have a look down the middle of this.
- It looks a good Genoese.

Even distribution of the strawberries,

the creme patissiere looks firm.

- Holding well.
- Yes.

The Genoese looks beautifully even.

- It's quite a nice one, that one.
- Very nice presentation.

That ticks the boxes, as they say.

Now, this one's had some issues with the creme pat.

Just take a slice out of here.

And the volume from the Genoese isn't as good as it should be.

No, it's dense, isn't it?

Oh dear.

Do we need a spoon with this rather than a slice?

This has got serious problems with the creme pat.

Serious problems with the creme pat.

- The sponge looks light though, doesn't it?
- Sponge looks beautiful.

Very lemony.

- Good Genoese that.
- But the creme patissiere is not thick enough.

- That's a shame because it actually tastes OK.
- Tastes beautiful.

Finally, this looks pretty good.

A nice layer of Genoese,

well arranged strawberries,

creme patissiere pushed right in with the strawberries.

That's good.

You've got a bit of zing from the lemon.

Creme pat is good, sponge is good and you've managed to come up

with something that certainly resembles a fraisier cake.

But whose fraisier has failed and whose will get full marks?

That one and that one.

OK, we've made our decision

and the person in fourth place is this one.

Danny, there was a problem with the creme pat, which I think you already knew.

So, on to the person that is third.

Little bit soft, just lost its shape, pushed the strawberries out.

Otherwise, lovely flavour.

And in second place is this one. It's not bad at all.

But you look at the two, we have to sort of pick between the two of them

and that one had more of a rise in the sponge. But it was a good cake. Well done.

- And there we have number one, James.
- Well done, James.

Well done.

Well done. It was a very, very difficult challenge.

That was a really, really tough two-and-a-half hours.

It was a killer technical. But I did it. They liked it.

Just the sponge wasn't just as good as James. That wily minx!

Actually that cake is brilliant. I would totally make that cake again.

One of the few technicals I really enjoyed actually.

I think I feel frustrated, more than anything.

Not angry, not upset, just kind of like, "Oh, you stupid girl!"

Erm... You make mistakes. You make mistakes. I've made two here.

It's frustrating, it's annoying, but I just have to put that

out of my head now and concentrate on tomorrow.

Just the Showstopper Challenge remains.

The last chance for the bakers to prove they have what it takes to be in the final.

Brendan's done rather well.

His petit fours were outstanding, really.

You looked at it and you thought, "He's arrived."

And James has done quite well.

Who do you think the rain cloud of rejection is hanging over this week?

At the moment, I think you're looking at John and Danny.

Danny, yesterday afternoon, had a bit of a disaster

because her cake sort of fell apart.

This is a real dangerous time to do that.

If it happened two weeks ago, fair enough, but you don't do it in the semi-final.

Having said that, I thought John's petit fours were poor.

This is the last challenge which stands between you

and a place in the Great British Bake Off Final.

What we need you to create is a perfect choux pastry gateau.

- I wish you all the very best of luck. On your marks...
- Get set...
- Bake.

Choux pastry forms the basis of many French classics,

including profiteroles and eclairs.

It's a cross between a batter and a dough and it's cooked twice.

First over a low heat on the hob, then in the oven.

It's that magic that happens when you put it in the oven,

you go from a very hot mix into as piping bag, onto a tray

and into an oven and that heat that's transferred into the oven,

that blast of heat, pumps the air in and explodes the egg.

That's how you get those irregular shape balls in a great choux pastry.

They can do exactly what they like,

but it's got to be mainly choux pastry.

This is the last chance to get into the final.

It's got to be something really spectacular

and all the flavours have to complement each other.

Danni, Brendan and John are opting to make the Gateau St Honore,

a puff pastry base with a top ring of choux pastry,

garnished with cream puffs and filled with a Chiboust cream.

Danny's adding rosewater, raspberry and lychees to hers.

Lychees, very difficult to achieve a flavour.

- Your raspberry will come through, I would imagine.
- Yeah. It's more to support the rose really.

I think it kind of lightens it up a bit and adds to the flavour.

Seems to me it's got an original twist and that's what we like.

- I think it's going to work. Let's hope so.
- OK. Thank you.

I think everyone's going to feel the pressure,

but I think me personally, obviously, I'm in a precarious position.

So I need to tread carefully today.

John's chance of staying in the competition now rests

on creating a perfect Gateau St Honore.

He's using his favourite fruit

to create a distinctive flavour for the filling.

I'm interested in your passion fruit curd.

- Has it got lemons in as well as passion fruit?
- No.

Pure passion fruit. Do you keep the seeds in it?

No, I blitz it completely in the processor and then sieve it

really well and just use the pulp, which has been liquidized.

No seeds. Obviously, that would just be too gritty. I wouldn't want that.

- You feeling the pressure today?
- Yeah!

I'm actually really scared today.

But it's important to me, so I'm going to calmly do what I can.

- Very best of luck, John.
- Good luck.
- I need it. Thank you.

Less is more is my new motto. I've kept the flavouring to a minimum.

I think it's one of the great established classics

of the French patisserie and in my view, it doesn't need any help.

But to personalise it, I'm adding a little kirsch to the French custard.

And just a little bit of chocolate on the edge.

But I'm not going to do anything more than that

because I think it stands alone and I think it's an impertinence

to tinker with something that's so well established.

Perfecting a choux is a true baker's art.

There's no set recipe for the amount of egg to add.

The slightest difference in the size of eggs used can dramatically

alter its texture.

I've added two eggs, I need to add four.

It still feels a little bit wet.

The bakers need to watch for the exact moment

they create a mixture that will pipe and hold its shape.

A fraction too much egg and their choux will become sloppy

and won't rise in the oven.

I'll use this recipe and I'll add five eggs

and that won't be enough, I'll need to add a sixth,

but you can easily go overboard with that sixth egg.

I don't know what the hell I can do cos it's just not working.

Typically, James is making something a little bit different.

A Paris-Brest, traditionally a circular gateau

filled with a praline cream.

Everyone else has gone for a Gateau St Honore.

And it's a much more ambitious thing, a much more testing thing, theirs,

so hopefully they don't mark me down for being a bit too simple.

The Paris-Brest was created in 1891 to commemorate

the 1,200km cycle race.

Although the gateau is usually in the shape of bike wheel,

James is planning to go further.

Go right through how you're constructing this.

I don't know.

This is a semi-final, James, of the Great British Bake Off.

I don't quite get the hang of this.

Turn it upside down, put some wheels on it.

This is just a concept, so far.

I may just have a traditional Paris-Brest.

I like the Tour de France idea, I think it's cool.

- It's going to be a showstopper, if you pull this off.

Or, if it fails, just say it's a unicycle.

- Yes!
- And where are the fillings going?

Again, I'm not quite sure.

If I do it as a traditional one...


I love it...

Now you're just getting cheeky!

This is bare-faced cheek!

You know your basics of what you'll do,

- you're just not quite sure...

- ..How the parts...
- Yes!
- ..Will come together.
- Exactly.

I'd like to see a bike.

I would like to see the whole thing.

The impact of it would be pretty good.

I hope you do it all right,

- and I hope you do it some justice, as well.
- Thank you, Paul.

It's interesting that three of them have chosen Gateau Saint Honore.

An absolute classic.

But all but Brendan are doing variations of that.

And the Paris-Brest? We'll just have to see.

My problem is...

when you look at James saying, "I don't really know, I'll just wing it"...

if that is the case, and he puts up

a mess in front of us,

I'm not going to be best pleased.

Your bicycle has created

a frisson of excitement. What the hell is that?!

That's a handlebar.

Oh, OK. It's like a ram's horn.

Check it out in the oven. Look how big it's got.

Surprise, surprise(!)

Oh, my God! The beast...

- The flavours will be awesome, though.

I don't think you should worry.

If it looks a bit gacky, just don't do it.

If the worst comes to the worst, you have a couple of perfect breasts.


Ca c'est OK.

For Brendan, Danny and John, small choux buns form the centrepiece of their showstopper bakes.

Any peaks in the paste will burn before the choux is fully cooked,

so should be flattened down with a damp finger.

The choux is first cooked at a high temperature,

forcing the water into steam to make the pastry expand,

and then, on a lower heat, to allow it to crisp.

It will be an anxious half hour before the bakers know if they've judged the consistency right.

Now, three out of four of our bakers

are producing their own versions of the Saint Honore cake...

which was inspired by the patron saint of baking.

A Frenchman with a penchant for baking miracles.

You sort of gaze at these beautiful pastry works of art.

It seems inconceivable you'd need a baking miracle to create them.

But, if you were in need of divine intervention,

simply send up a prayer to Saint Honore,

the patron saint of bakers.

- Merci.
- Au revoir.

Saint Honore's holy association with baking began when he was made

bishop of the French town of Amiens in the sixth century.

Why he's connected to bakers is a really interesting issue.

His old nanny was breaking bread,

and she was told,

"Honore is to become bishop,"

and she said, "Nonsense". No way would he agree,

She took the peel she was using

to put the breads into the oven,

and she said, "I'll believe it,

"if this peel sprouts flowers."

Which, of course, it miraculously does.

Flowers, and indeed, blackberry fruits, as well.

Over the centuries, Saint Honore became a much-worshipped figure.

His bones prayed to in times of drought to encourage a good harvest,

and, in 1202, a rich baker built a chapel to honour him

on a street in Paris that became known as Rue Saint Honore.

Bakers did very well in that period, because Paris is the capital.

With not only the royal palace, but all the aristocrats

who come to be in court and spend time in Paris.

There's tremendous demand, not only for bread,

but, of course, for fine cakes and patisserie, as well.

So that street become the hub - the area where shop after shop

of bakers and fine cake makers find their home.

One such patissier with a shop on Rue Saint Honore in the 1840s

was the enigmatic chef, Chiboust,

and when it came to naming a cake after Saint Honore,

he chose one decadent and complex enough to truly show off the baker's artistry.

This mouth-watering tribute,

this offering to the patron saint of pastry

is still available in all good patisseries.

Mr Chiboust sounds like

a Gallic superhero. What's the difference he brought to this cake?

He wanted to make a new cream,

something very different from what they were doing at the time.

Finished the big, eccentric French patisserie - you know,

the tall, long, uneatable cake.

So he created this Cream Chiboust,

same like the name - like his name...

with egg white and sugar.

An Italian meringue, as we call it.

He mixed it with the creme patissier

to make something very fluffy, something very light.

Something you could eat all the way through the cake.

Is there anything particular in the way it's decorated

that makes this a Saint Honore?

- Definitely. Piping is one of them.
- Right.

You need that special nozzle. The V-shaped nozzle.

Basically, it gives a kind of a flowery effect.

A leafy effect.

- Right.
- Very traditional for Saint Honore.

- It must be that shape.
- That's the Chiboust classic, right.

Watch me make a right pig's ear of that.

I need to pray to the patron saint of steady hands.

Saint Judder.

- Shall I start here?
- Yes.

Remember, the tip of the nozzle must be always right.

A little bit sideways.

That's right. You must face that little point.

Oh, dear! I've made a right mess of that.

It takes time and discipline.

I've brought shame on your country.

That's OK. I will finish it off.

- Thank you. Now you're just showing off, Eric.
- A little bit.

Yeah, a little bit.

For Anglo-French relationships, it's good I let him take over.

- Entente Cordiale.
- Oui!

Chiboust's traditional Saint Honore would simply have been flavoured with rose water or violet,

but a modern flourish is to garnish the cake with fresh fruits and berries.

So, the Honore - a rich, indulgent delight

that's worthy of the patron saint of baking, after whom it's named.

If your croquembouche is staring to sag,

why not send up a prayer for divine intervention?

maybe a baking miracle could be yours.

That is lovely!

Bakers, you're halfway through. One-and-a-half hours to go.

The choux should have tripled in size to form perfectly puffy, rounded buns.

Happy with those?

They should have risen more in a round, rather than a flat.

You all right, James?

- Breathe.
- Don't be nice - I'll start crying.

It's all right. Has something actually...gone...wrong?

Yeah, the choux buns aren't as they should be.

They haven't risen.

There's nothing I can do.

Everything's gone to pot.

Which just...

They shouldn't look so...deformed.

This is semi-finalitis, mate.

- Just calm down a bit. Yeah?
- Yeah.

- It's all right, you'll be fine.
- Thanks for that, Mel.

It's not collapsed, which is good.

It's a nice, dark colour, which is good.


As their choux cools, the bakers need to move on their fillings.

None of them are making the traditional Saint Honore Chiboust cream.

I'm making creme patisserie, which is like revisiting the scene of a crime, after yesterday!


I want to get it right, and that's important to me,

because I know I can make this, and I can make this really well.

James is planning a decadent inner tube -

an Italian meringue with a rich coffee buttercream,

but he's decided to make a topping for his filling.

This is ground-up, caramelised hazelnuts,

with a shot of espresso in it.

They are the most adorned wheels in history.

Bespoke spokes.


- Have you tried to put on the frame yet?
- No.
- Right.

- I'm not going to touch that.
- Yes, you better not touch those.

I sense that would not be a good idea.

'Once the choux buns for the Saint Honore are filled,

'they're caramelised and bound to the pastry.'

It's like a Scud missile going off, isn't it?

Bakers! Time for a hot choux shuffle,

cos you've just got ten minutes left.

That's it - that's this bake over and done with.

Step away. James, get off the bicycle. Off!


For one of these bakers, it will be the last time they face the judges.

OK, Brendan - you're up to the offering to Saint Honore.

It certainly looks different. It looks striking,

with the chocolate on top. Quite unusual.

You have a good rise in the pastry there.

Done an exceptional job on the display of it.

I think it looks really good.

Quite a tough crunch through the top of the bun.

But the flavours go well together.

It's a beautiful thing. Brendan, you've done it again.

Your theme-ing and decoration has always been one of your strong points.

You've got a lovely crust on the bottom - you have beautiful colour.

But, overall...

you've done well.

- Well done.
- Well done, Brendan.

Danny, if you'd like to bring your choux gateau up, thank you.

I think it looks quite effective. It's decorated well.

I thought you were brave picking rose...


..cos it can overwhelm.

Pop that back on there.

It's very full of rose water.

You've got it in the cream and in the custard.

Rose water just sweeps over the whole thing.

The actual bake of it is good. It has a great base.

But that flavour...

- Mm.
- ..Has let you down.
- OK.


James, do you want to pedal on over here?


I think it's really unusual.

And, certainly, you've been inventive.

- Let's have a look.
- It's about to sustain a puncture.


That is absolutely lovely.

You've got the toffee, the creme patissiere, nuts, caramel...

It's absolutely delicious, isn't it?

- All the way through.
- Lovely.
- You get a little bit of everything.

- I think you could have got a lot more volume...
- OK.

..from your choux pastry. You can see where it's starting.

It hasn't gone to its full explosion,

which is a shame, but the flavours are good.

The idea is excellent,

- but I was expecting more balloon...
- OK.

- ..from the choux pastry.
- Thank you.

- It's the nicest bike I've ever eaten.
- Thank you, Sue.
- Thank you.

John, if you'd like to bring up your French delight...

I think it looks the part.

It looks special. I like the way you've given it

the height with the hearts.

Tricky to get off the paper.

It looks very neat, very professional.

The fruit round the outside and the piping inside looks good.

I must say, that is a lovely flavour.

The passion fruit works really well,

and you have a nice crisp to that base.

It's a good choux pastry.

It's thin, it's crispy. It's full.

- I think you've done well.
- That means a lot, thank you.

I'm really pleased at how well that went.

Don't necessarily know if it's saved me.

I think it's still very, very dangerous.

I've had a few very poor weeks.

It's a shame they picked up on flavours,

cos that's generally what I've tended to do... well.

But, erm...

it really is just one of those things.

For me, this is probably it now.

I feel certainly I've done enough to go through to the final,

which has been my ambition and aim, right from the very start.

The whole winging-it strategy...

paid off this time.



I didn't expect it.

Paul and Mary must now decide who will go to the final as Star Baker,

and who won't be going at all.

So who might be in line for Star Baker this week, then?

I put James up there.

Obviously came first in the Technical Challenge,

and some of his petits fours were pretty tasty.

Again, Brendan seems to pull the stops out each day.

The unstoppable Brendanator.

Going into this, John and Danny were both in trouble...

The bake from Danny was all right. I think it was slightly overdone.

That rose water was the killer in that.

Lychee was going to lose every single time

against the rose water, because it is so strong.

Didn't John raise his game, and come up?

I think he had such a lovely finish.

Tricky to do, those hearts in caramel. Lovely flavours, too.

I agree with Mary. The taste of that was the best one, for me, of the day.

But he hasn't been on top form.

His petits fours weren't good.


So, you've still two people in contention for the drop?

Yeah, I think there's still two.

Well, Paul and Mary, as always...

the task falls on you to decide. Good luck.


Bakers, long, tough weekend

but you have surpassed yourselves. The standard gets higher and higher.

This week, we are awarding Star Baker...

and we are awarding it to someone who's shown they can produce

spicy macaroons, very, very perky fraisier,

but more importantly than all of this,

the world's most delicious handlebar.

Congratulations, James.


Now, all four of you know how the Bake Off works.

This is the semi-final.

We can only take three of you with us into next week's final.

I'm afraid the person who will not be joining us next week

for the Great British Bake Off Final is...


- Sorry to see you go, Danny.
- It's absolutely fine. I knew it.

- How sad it was that Danny left.

She did some excellent baking en route, but on this day,

the semi-final, it didn't quite work out for her.

This has pushed me

as far as anything can push me and it's been a good experience.

One of the nicest things about Bake Off for me is the number

of people around me who have really taken pleasure from my success.

I now know how much the people around me value me

and I think that's pretty cool.

I'm proud of the fact that I managed to steer my ship through this

very strange environment to get to the final.

I don't know how I feel right now. But it seems that went rather well.

- 'Hello.'
- Hiya, Mum. It's only me.
- 'Hi, darling.'

- You've got a little big boy who's in the final!
- 'Oh, my God!'

Next time, it's the final.

- They've got this one chance.
- Every aspect of baking will be tested...

- Nerves are going to play a huge part in this.
- This might be one step...

- a little bit too far.
- ..with signature pastry perfection.

You've got a bit of a soggy bottom.

The most intricate technical challenge ever devised.

The rest won't be as messy.

- And the showstopper...
- It goes down to the last challenge.

This is so tense! ' for a British summer fete.'

It's rich, it's absolutely lovely.

But after two final days of baking...

Sorry about this.

..only one will be crowned the winner...

He let us down.

'..of the Great British Bake Off.' The winner is...

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