Chocolate Challenges

The Great British Baking Show | Netflix | W4: Chocolate Week

This week the bakers are tasked with handling all things chocolate. If this season is like seasons past, they’ll quickly learn how difficult working with chocolate can be while making sure they have exceptional flavors to impress Paul and Prue.

Signature Challenge

First up this week is a favorite chocolate treat: brownies. The bakers must make a batch of 18 brownies for the judges, and Prue warns that the bakers may not want to ice their brownies, or they’ll be sickly sweet. I agree – brownies and icing rarely mix well.

Most bakers use various nuts, but Peter puts figs at the bottom of his pan and pours his batter over them so that the figs will top his brownies – an interesting approach! Lottie gives herself a whole lot of work with her double-baked chocolate and pecan brownie topped with raspberry cheesecake. Sounds amazing, but also extremely stressful. There are even a few s’mores (which is “quite an American term, but it basically means melted marshmallow, I think” according to Laura) -inspired brownies. Incorrect s’mores assessment aside, s’mores brownies sound incredible.

The bakers stress over their brownies, and some are in fact raw in the middle; but here’s how they turned out!

Peter’s fig brownies are “ok” according to Paul; Laura’s are far too sweet according to Paul and under baked according to Prue. Sura doesn’t fare much better as Paul doesn’t like her flavors, and Prue again says the bake is wrong. Overall, only Mark got mostly positive comments. Matt in a voice over mentions before the Technical Challenge that the bakers could practice their brownies, so this was even more disappointing that no one did a decent job.

Technical Challenge

A batter babka than one she had in New York, according to Prue #sus

Paul’s challenge for the bakers is to make a chocolate babka, a traditional Jewish loaf cake, in 2 1/2 hours. It seems like none of the bakers have made or tasted a babka before so this should be interesting.

The bakers follow the instructions, which say to “Cut through the middle of the dough into two long pieces. Then lift the right half over the left half, followed by the left half over the right half, repeating the process to make a two-stranded plait.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Tangent time: I put this part in because I’m mildly obsessed with with the word “plait,” as this is what we Americans refer to as a “braid.” Checking the Google, the British use the word plait, which comes from the Old French “pleit”, which means “a fold.” We Americans use the Old English word “breġdan/braiden,” which means “to weave.” The more you know!

The bakers seem to fare better in this challenge than the brownie challenge; here’s how some turned out:

More than I could do! But Paul and Prue are tough judges.

Paul and Prue rank the bakers, and have varied comments. Overall the bakers seemed to do pretty well.

In last place is Lottie, who struggled in the challenge more than most. Mark comes in third, Laura in second, and Linda comes in first place! Paul asks her if she’s ever made a babka before, and she says she hasn’t – impressive!

Showstopper Challenge

It’s a white chocolate celebration cake for the Showstopper this week, and it must be made for a specific occasion. It must have a minimum of two layers and be baked in 4 hours.

White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate – it has no cocoa solids in it, a generally accepted requirement for calling something chocolate – and Prue says working with it can be a nightmare. She tells Lottie to remember she “only has to be not the worst,” which Paul jokes is a great mantra.

As usual the designs are impressive, but the bakers have some difficulties. Check ’em out!

The judges say Sura’s cake is inedible because it’s raw in the middle; they also criticize Linda’s piping work on her English Rose Cake. Peter’s cake is successful and gets complimented by the judges, as does Laura’s.

The judges deliberate, and Noel has the nice job of announcing this week’s Star Baker: it is Marc! Matt has the not so nice job of announcing the baker who’s leaving the competition: it is Sura, who Matt says just had a bad week.

This week’s challenges seemed really difficult for the bakers, and some rose to the challenge but others struggled. I think it was the right call to eliminate Sura, since she didn’t do well in either the Signature or the Technical (though neither did Lottie, but Lottie’s showstopper may saved her from elimination). With only 8 bakers in the tent, I can’t wait to see what confectionery concoctions they task the bakers with creating next week! M

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