Great British Bake Off recap: Patisserie week ushers last baker from tent before final

The pressure was on for bakers during semi-final week in The Great British Bake Off tent.
The Great British Bake Off semi-finalists. Image: Channel 4The Great British Bake Off semi-finalists. Image: Channel 4
The Great British Bake Off semi-finalists. Image: Channel 4

It was patisserie week in the Bake Off tent, with the final baker set to leave the competition before the final.

Being asked to create delicate French patisserie, Paul and Prue were challenging the remaining four bakers to refine their creations in order to go through to the finals.

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The tent was eerily quiet, especially with the absence of Alison due to illness, with just Tasha, Dan, Matty and Josh remaining.

Signature Bake: Financiers

Tasked with creating twelve financiers, small sponge cakes which typically are made with ground almonds with a crisp eggshell exterior and a moist interior, with two different flavour combinations.

Prue warned that the judges would be looking for unusual financiers which were highly decorative, but warned that they should remain elegant as well as full of flavour.

Dan was up first to explain his creation to the judges – and Paul was less than pleased. For his first set, Dan was once more taking inspiration from elsewhere with his pistachio and matcha financiers, which would be flavoured with a tonka bean mousse. His other sponges would be flavoured with vanilla and orange, though Dan was quite readily informed by Paul that he didn’t like matcha.

Josh stuck with classic flavours, making bakewell tart inspired financiers alongside sponges flavoured with chocolate, hazelnut and orange. He was looking to even the score and was gunning for perfection as the only remaining contestant not to have won star baker twice.

Matty’s financiers were also inspired by another dessert, this time tiramisu with a chocolate ganache, also making mango, lime and coconut financiers.

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Tasha was the last baker to reveal her signature bakes; firstly raspberry and pistachio sponges with a raspberry swiss meringue buttercream followed by her hazelnut and coffee financiers which would feature a chocolate coffee ganache.

The bakers were allowed to play with their choice of sponges, as well as their choice of shapes with Josh and Matty leaning toward slightly larger moulds than usual.

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Noel and Matty, halfway through proceedings, began joking as last week the presenter had promised to turn off ovens on Matty’s behalf. The pair discussed what the bakers’ reactions would be, deciding that Josh would undoubtedly notice his oven being off, as would Tasha, while Dan wouldn’t realise until it was too late.

Onto the judging and Matty was first up.

He was complimented for the uniform and neat appearance of his sponges and his good flavours, though – despite his fears that they were underbaked – his financiers were overbaked and slightly too large.

Tasha was next, with Prue commenting how lovely her financers looked at first glance but that with a keener eye they were slightly messy. However, their appearance didn’t stop the judges from praising the melt in the mouth texture, wonderful flavour and the luxurious ganache of her chocolate sponges. Her pistachio and raspberry financiers were slightly overbaked but, again, overall, very good.

Josh’s bakewell financiers came under scrutiny next. His sponges featured slightly too much almond essence, to their detriment, however they had a nice chew and moistness to them. Meanwhile, his hazelnut, chocolate and orange sponges were delicious but slightly dry, which was once again due to their size.

Dan, who had plenty to fear from Paul’s matcha dislike, was last to be judged. His financiers were very neat, but the proof was in the pudding. Paul really enjoyed his Japanese-inspired financiers despite the matcha, and after the judges taste his peach, orange and raspberry spongers Dan was awarded a Hollywood Handshake – the fifth of the series.

Technical Challenge: Tarte au Pomme

A technical set by Prue, this week bakers were asked to create her favourite dessert: Tarte au Pomme. The apple tarts were to be made with a short buttery pastry, with a frangipane and apple puree filling with apple slices delicately arranged on top.

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She warned bakers that it was hard to go wrong with flavour, but instead they should prioritise “exquisite” presentation.

However, it wouldn’t be straightforward for bakers to get right. The tart must be baked three times: a blind initial bake, then back in the oven for the frangipane layer and then once more when the apple puree and slices are placed.

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While the bakers begin making the puree and getting their pastry together, Noel is wandering around having quiet chats with the bakers. He goes from joking about both his and Dan’s large noses to coaxing Josh into revealing that he has a titanium mesh plate in his skull from a rugby accident.

Moving on from their brief chats, the bakers ready their pastry for the first bake which is key to avoiding soggy bottoms. The frangipane is up next with each baker taking a different guess at how much brandy to include.

As the pastry comes out of the oven, Tasha worries about how long her first bake was but elects not to pop it back in. At one point, Matty declares he has “absolutely no idea what I’m looking for” and following a second bake with the frangipane the bakers begin their final assembly.

Josh and Matty both seem to nail the look of the tart, while Dan and Tasha’s are far less neat.

However, it soon came time for the tarts to come out of the oven.

Just Tasha faced an issue with getting her pastry out of the tin, with Matty swooping in to help her.

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It’s then time for judging, and Dan is up first. His Tarte au Pomme is described as clumsy, with a less than strong frangipane.

Matty is up next, and while the judges agee the pastry could have been baked for longer it’s still crisp on the bottom and pretty overall.

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Tasha’s tart was the messiest of the batch, and while her flavours were okay the underbaked pastry let it down.

Last but not least, Josh. His pastry was described as “melt in the mouth” and while the cracks in his tart were highlighted it was with good humour.

Tasha came fourth, Dan was in third, Matty second with Josh coming first.

Showstopper: Millefoglie

For the showstopper, bakers had four hours to create highly decorated Millefoglie; a layered pastry with buttery, flaky layers.

Unlike earlier weeks, bakers must create a “proper” puff pastry, with layers of lamination. Josh told the camera that typically when he made puff pastry he would do it over a number of days – not the mere hours they were allocated.

Timing would be key, as bakers would have to continue laminating and refrigerating their pastry to ensure layers formed.

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Dan’s millefoglie was tiramisu-inspired, with layers of coffee, chocolate and an amaretto mousse, in the shape of an electric guitar in honour of the Sam Fender concert he missed competing in Bake Off.

Tasha was making a “mango mojito” showstopper and unlike the other bakers she decided to make an inverse puff pastry, something which concerned Prue due to its difficulty level. Her timing would have to be exact in order to pull off her millefoglie.

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Matty’s Italian-inspired showstopper would feature three different types of alcohol in his millefoglie, with layers of limoncello and plum, marsala and peach, and amaretto and lemon.

Josh remained close to home with his lemon, blackberry and blackcurrant millefoglie showstopper again paying homage to his nan.

However, disaster seemingly struck for Tasha – who was already behind the other bakers – when she cut into her pastry and there were no layers.

The judges, sitting to the side and observing, were full of concerns over the bakes from the alcohol content of Matty’s to Tasha’s timing.

Josh – after an unfortunate bit of foreshadowing earlier in the episode – forgot to turn on his oven, and the showstopper felt frantic. Dan had to assist Tasha toward the end as she rushed to the finish line with pastry which did have layers, though it didn’t have neatness.

But when it came to judging who was able to impress?

Josh’s showstopper was “a thing of beauty” with “exceptional” lamination. Paul and Prue had a rare disagreement over the bake on Josh’s pastry though his use of gelatine was praised.

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Dan had realised during assembly that he should have added his chocolate layer to the bottom in order to avoid squeezing his millefoglie, which was one of the first things picked up by judges. He had good lamination and flavours, however the mirror glaze he created was too rubbery.

Matty followed Dan, though his showstopper wasn’t quite as well received. Paul disliked his puff pastry, though his flavours were deemed delicious.

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Finally, Tasha – being judged on her birthday – was up. Her lamination was “incredible”, however other elements such as the finish and the texture of her mango curd weren’t quite right.

Discussing their views before we find out who's the star baker and who’s leaving, Paul and Prue had to try each showstopper again.

Who was star baker?

Josh, meeting his goal from the beginning of the episode, became star baker for the second time.

Who left Bake Off?

However, it was Tasha who left the tent at the last hurdle after a poor week in the tent. That leaves Dan, Josh and Matty as finalists in the 2023 Great British Bake Off.



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