Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Great British Bake Off, Episode 8



Danny's ras el hanout spiced almond crackers.

Episode 8 saw the bakers battle it out with biscuits to secure a place in the semi-finals. The signature bake required 48 crackers from each contestant in two hours. No mean feat, by any means. The crackers could be leavened or unleavened, but they had to be thin and crack when snapped in two,  "a little bit like Nicole Kidman" added Mel, as a helpful guide. 

If you're anything like me, you've doubtless found yourself shouting at the telly, asking "why on earth don't you make back-up bakes (bake-ups?)". If the bakers have to make 48 identical crackers, why not bake double and pick out their best ones?

Sweet James cleared this up for everyone on Twitter, when he explained that if they are asked for 48, then 48 is all they are allowed to make. No more, and hopefully no less, but given some of the struggles with counting, who knows. Did Mary and Hollywood really count each individual cracker? 

Hollywood explained this week's challenge, "it's all about the bake on this". Which made us all scratch our heads, trying to remember a time when it wasn't. "I will be testing the snap on all of them", he said, with a disconcerting glint in his eye. This was a "gruelling test of consistency", especially as the tent was so hot that James and John were forced to get their shorts out. 

Brendan continued his compulsive habit of mentioning buffets at every available opportunity, 
"It's not often you make crackers, unless they're for a gathering or a buffet or something"
He certainly loves his buffets. And his measuring tapes. Which he got out again this week for his multi-seed and aniseed crackers. He also likes to oil things. It was his arms for strudel week and he oiled the table this week for his crackers. "I think the challenge is getting them off there" said Hollywood, unconvinced. But much to our relief, Brendan's perfect diamond-shaped crackers didn't get stuck to his work bench and the judges loved them. "They certainly look the part" said Hollywood, refusing to commit before he'd done his snap test, but Brendan was confident in his bakes and was right to be so. He got an effusive "nice bake" from Hollywood and a "really scrummy" from Mary.

Brendan's multi-seed crackers

James made smoky cayenne, cumin and chipotle crackers and promised to "make it extra thin for you, Paul". James was the maverick in this challenge, deciding to cook his crackers in one batch, all at the same time, on different shelves. This resulted in a plate of crackers in a variety of hues and one that looked, according to James, "like a little mouse", or, according to me, like the skull of a giant rat. His rogue ratty cracker didn't put the judges off, even after Hollywood had had a good root about. He passed the snap test and Mary said they were, "wafer thin and full of flavour".

James' crackers
John made "Asian spiced crackers" flavoured with cumin, coriander and fennel. John was conscious of the judges' comments about the blandness of his bakes over the last couple of weeks, but was sure his "really good nibbly crackers, packed full of flavour" would do the job. He pricked his crackers with a fork to the rhythm of his Woody Woodpecker impression. He explained that the pricking would prevent the crackers from puffing up, though his Woody Woodpecker impression wasn't essential to the process, but merely an added bonus:
"I'm expecting a few little bubbles here and there, but I don't want it to be like a big flying saucer, for example".
The judges enjoyed John's crackers, which were "lovely and crisp" with a "hint of curry" according to Mary, but Hollywood said, "I'd like to see them a bit bigger". Mary, sympathising with his sizeable appetite, helpfully suggested that he "could always have twice as many". John was thrilled with the judges comments, "I think I've found my confidence again", he said.

Danny made ras el hanout spiced almond crackers with yoghurt and Parmesan, which sounded delicious,
"I've taken a leaf out of Brendan's book, because we're back to the '70's with desiccated cheese"
she said, as Brendan's ears pricked up on hearing his name. Hollywood remained unconvinced by Danny's use of this sick-smelling abomination in a shaky tub. "It's your choice" he said, as if issuing a threat. Luckily, her crackers had "a good consistency" but Hollywood thought they were "very salty", while Mary seemed to enjoy their "fiery flavour".

Cathryn's cheese and pickle crackers
Cathryn opted for cheese and pickle crackers, declaring that "if they're thin enough, they will snap". Mary didn't appreciate her laissez-faire attitude and issued her a firm warning, "Cathryn, they've got to be". Unfortunately for Cathryn, it wasn't only their thinness that was a problem,
"I'm really sorry, I'm so embarrassed. They're disastrous. I'm really sorry"
she said, before admitting that she had only managed to make 46: two below the target number. Mary looked on in horror, but both judges agreed that her crackers had a "great flavour". Sadly, Cathryn's poor execution and non-compliance with the rules of the challenge outweighed any positives. "They're thick and thin. Irregular colours" said a disappointed Hollywood, shaking his head.

At the end of the round, sweet James was pleased not to have received too much of a bashing, "everyone relies on a little bit of luck. Me, I think, more than anyone" he said, despite wowing the judges with his punchy flavours. Brendan, on the other hand, showed no such modesty:
"The competition is variable in the remaining five. There are certainly two or three that I'm keeping an eye on, but may the best man win. It's now all about knowledge and technique and I've been round the track a bit longer than most of them"
he said with a knowing smirk, clearly believing himself to be the "best man". Come on, Brendan, this is supposed to be the great BRITISH bake off. It's practically illegal not to pick holes in your abilities and downgrade your talents here. We only accept that kind of self-congratulation from the Americans. They're allowed, it's in their culture to applaud success, even if it is their own. We like to see people admit their faults and failings, even if they're exaggerated beyond all reasonable necessity. You can't pat yourself on the back here, love! You'll only create suspicion and distrust, no matter how good your crackers and cakes might be. I would have thought Brendan would have known this, having "been round the track" a few times. I'm not sure anything will save his reputation, beyond melting our hearts by dropping something on the floor, preferably that he has spent hours perfecting, and then possibly falling over and landing face first in its crumby remains.

Tunnock's  Chocolate teacakes
After a short interlude about scallop-shaped Aberffraw biscuits from Anglesea, it was time for the technical challenge. Sue sent Mary and Hollywood to the pub, before setting the bakers to work to make "chocolate teacakes", or Tunnock's Teacakes, as they are known to everyone else: a homemade digestive biscuit topped with meringue in a dome of chocolate. Temperatures were scorching in the Bake Off tent, so Mary warned Hollywood that "on this occasion, you'll have to be really kind".

All the bakers struggled with their chocolate. "We don't have a room temperature here" said James, unsure whether or not to bung his tempered chocolate in the fridge to set. All the bakers, except Cathryn, risked the shine on their chocolate for the sake of finishing the challenge on time. They stumbled through Hollywood's recipe for digestive biscuits too. The dough was extremely dry and difficult to bring together. "I'm just going to torture it a bit, until I get it to bind together" said Brendan, revealing a previously hidden side to his character. John was "dripping in sweat" struggling with the demands of the day. "This is hell on a plate" he said, before looking mournfully over to Brendan's tidy and organised work station. "Brendan's just a machine, look at him go!" he said.

Cathryn's teacakes

Cathryn was having "a bit of a 'mare of a day" according to Danny, and seemed to suffer disaster after disaster. Her chocolate wouldn't set, and her teacakes fell to pieces when she tried to unmould them. "They're pooper scoopers! They're disastrous!" she said, in a flap about what to do. "Fridge and pray. Fridge and pray" suggested Sue, but it wasn't enough to save her teacakes. Although Cathryn had made "a lovely crisp biscuit and very good marshmallow", it was her presentation again which let her down and left her in last position.

Danny came fourth. She had had an issue with tempering her chocolate and her marshmallow was "more like whipped cream". John's meringues were "a little bit runny" which left him in third place.

It was Brendan's "first encounter with marshmallow", which is probably why so much of it ended up on his face. Although his chocolate had the best shine, his overly thick biscuits made his teacakes rock, and left him in 2nd position.

Chocolate teacakes

James came first with excellent efforts all round. I hoped he would win the Tunnock's challenge, being the only Scot in the group, and Mary described his teacakes as, "quite an impressive achievement on such a day". James received no congratulations from Brendan for his placing:
"The only thing that differentiated me from number one was the thickness of a biscuit"
he said, which I thought was rather a number two-y thing for him to say. Brendan's confidence, though un-British in its directness, is clearly justified. He knows his stuff and Mary said he was "certainly leading the pack".

On day two it was time for the final challenge, but not before Sue wished James a happy birthday, by detailing the perks of turning 21:
"You can become an MEP or go to adult prison. The choice is your's".
For the show stopper round, the bakers were given four hours to bake and build a gingerbread structure, which is really not very long at all and would go by in a flash. Hollywood was clearly excited by the possibilities of this challenge. He was looking for a bit of "architectural genius" and refused to walk away disappointed,
"If you make me a house, I'll smash it down. I'll blow your doors in"
 he said, drawing on the spirit of the big bad wolf.

John's gingerbread coliseum

Danny used pomegranate molasses in her gingerbread and had decided to construct a two feet tall Big Ben. Hollywood was astonished, that's "nearly as big as Mel" he said. John had an impressive folder of printed plans for his gingerbread coliseum with peanut praline gravel. John's partner, a graphic designer who works for an architect, helped John with his plans which took a week to design,
"This competition means the world to me, you know. To win would be amazing. Everything I want to do in my life is bake, so that's why I'm taking the care now, cos I can't afford to make anymore stupid mistakes".
Cathryn decided to go regal and build Buckingham Palace out of controversial chocolate and orange gingerbread with curly wurly chocolate bar decorations. James decided to make a barn with the inclusion of ginger cake as well as gingerbread, which received this unreadable response from Hollywood,
"Good luck James. Have a nice relaxing day"
Next we were given a little introduction to gingerbread and its origins in Grassmere, Cumbria. Gingerbread was originally "a love token usually given by knights to fair maidens before jousting competitions". I'm extremely partial to a spot of gingerbread and would be absolutely thrilled to receive it as a love token, jousting competition or no jousting competition.

Brendan's bird house with disastrous shredded wheat roof
Brendan's show stopper was a "Fantasy Gingerbread Bird House":
"You know your life has taken a strange twist and turn when you find yourself asking questions about what's a good edible material that would make a good patch roof on a gingerbread house"
he giggled, before explaining to Hollywood his intention to create a "cute, Disney-type setting". A bemused Hollywood didn't know what to say, so he settled on, "Fantastic. Well, it'll give us a piece of your little mind then, when we look at your construction later". 

Brendan created blue sugarpaste bluebirds for his fantasy bird house:
"The male will have a cockscomb and the female doesn't, so I thought I would give her some mascara. You know I've spent years creating a certain image which is now going to be blown apart. I don't believe my life! I really don't!"
Cathryn was so pushed for time that she decided to downscale "Buck House". "I don't think the Queen will like this very much. I think she'd be a bit naffed off with me after seeing this" she said. James' caramel looked in danger of ruining his birthday. "It's quite fun when things go your way, but this is horrible. It's a horrible situation" he said, feeling the pressure. After his barn had "gone from looking rather lovely to absolute disaster", James decided to change route and turn his design into a derelict barn, complete with spun sugar cobwebs. "I think I should get marks for ambition" he said. And he did.

Judgement time came for John first and Mary and Hollywood were impressed. His coliseum was by far one of the best gingerbread structures of the day. Mary said it was "a magnificent construction", while Hollywood applauded John for his "spectacular" achievement. "You've really lifted your game" he said.

Brendan's bird house didn't fare so well, despite the fact that he'd covered it with all the cuteness Walt Disney could spew. "It's a bit... much for me to be honest" said Hollywood and, for once, I agree with him. Brendan's gingerbread house managed to be both over the top and underwhelming concurrently. The design was mimsy, but it was the lack of ambition in the structure and the shredded wheat bite sized roof tiles that pushed it to bottom place in my eyes. Mary shared my dismay for his shredded wheat roof. "I'm somewhat disappointed that we have a breakfast cereal as the tiles" she scolded.

Danny didn't do too badly with her slightly leaning Big Ben, but she failed to really wow the judges with her design or her flavours. Cathryn's Buckingham Palace was declared "stunning at the front" by Mary (it didn't have a back) but her additions of chocolate and orange in her gingerbread divided the judges. Her flavour combinations were enjoyed by Mary, but Hollywood felt they were too busy. "It needs to choose one and run with it" he said, as Cathryn scowled on.

James' derelict barn
It was birthday boy James who stole the show, with his incredibly and unexpectedly beautiful derelict barn. "That looks amazing! There are even cobwebs" said Mary and her enthusiasm was shared by Hollywood,
"If that's the look you were going for: top marks. If it isn't, I'd still give you good marks because the structure that you built is very tricky to do"
They were equally wowed by James' flavours,
"This is absolutely delicious. You'd be able to eat it till the last crumb. I wonder how many of the others we would endure eating till the last part" 
said Mary, sweeping her pointing finger in the direction of the other disgruntled contestants. The barn helped win James the crown of biscuit week's star baker and on his 21st birthday too. What a delightful outcome and he was, as always, touchingly sweet and modest about his talent, questioning whether Mary and Hollywood had only given him star baker because it was his birthday. No, James! It's because you made a cracking barn and everything you baked tasted delicious.

Cathryn
The joy of James' win soon faded to sadness as "on it like a car bonnet" Cathryn became the eighth contestant to leave the Bake Off. She will certainly be missed and the show just won't be the same without her alliterative reviews of each challenge. Despite being sorry to see her go, the judges' decision was fair. She just isn't quite up to the standard of the others:
"I am not surprised. Little bit heartbroken, but it's been the best thing ever"

Next time, it's French pâtisserie for the semi-finals. Who goes? Paul and Mary decide.










Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Great British Bake Off, Episode 7



Episode 7 had seven remaining contestants. After John cut his finger off and had to go home before the strudel round in episode 6, the judges were left in a flap over what to do. The final ruling was that sending anyone home just wouldn't be fair and so all were given a second chance to shine. Although the drama was high, as seven were to become five, Hollywood was on unusually and unnervingly chipper form. 

Week 7 was all about sweet dough. Hot buns, sweet buns, iced buns and "Mary Berry's hot and firm buns" (thank you, Sue). The first challenge was the signature bake, where the contestants had to make 24 buns made from enriched dough. The dough "must be soft, bordering on the wet" said Hollywood, with his steely blues staring straight into the camera.

Brendan used fresh yeast for added flavour and extra "springiness" for his bunskis: a Polish twist on Chelsea buns using a lemon and poppyseed filling. Mel wasn't convinced that Brendan had done as well as he could have in the naming and proffered "bunkowiec" as an alternative. Makowiec is a poppyseed filled rolled bread and Brendan humoured her by agreeing to the name change, but the producers clearly weren't on board, as Chelsea "bunskis" they remained. When Brendan poured his poppyseed mixture out to cool, I think we could all be forgiven for mistaking it for a tray of steaming cow pats. The smell was apparently intoxicating, in a good way, and the judges were certainly enamoured with Brendan's buns. Mary thought they were "totally original" and  "really unusual and delicious" while Hollywood, in his characteristically effusive manner, nodded while grunting "good bake" through a mouthful of poppyseeds.


Danny made Bakewell buns, inspired again by Chelsea's finest, but flavoured her's with sour cherries and almonds. Mary excitedly declared them to be "for good appetites" while Hollywood was impressed by their enormity. "They look great" he said. Danny's face lit up with pride when her Derbyshire offerings were described as "sheer heaven to eat" by Mary. "Great buns, Danny" said Sue as the judges left to inspect the next contestant's efforts.


James made Easter Chelsea buns, which he described as "hot cross buns, Chelsea-fied". I wonder what Spencer and Caggie will think?  

"There's no technique to this at all, I don't know what I'm doing basically" said James, with refreshing honesty, as he rolled up his raisins. But the panic had clearly set in. Admonishing himself, he snapped, "Stop fiddling with them, or they'll never get done".  Hollywood was concerned with his use of wheat flour and for good reason, as James' buns literally came unstuck. "It's interesting and it's daring to use wholemeal" said Hollywood, as he pulled James' bun apart like an unravelled Cumberland sausage. The "consistency in the bake isn't particularly good" he sighed, while kind Mary, always eager to please, said she thought they had a "lovely flavour".

John, "rocking the Dr Strangelove glove" (Sue), due to last week's injury, made cherry, almond and saffron Chelsea buns. "Good luck little buns, good luck. You're going to need it" he said, ominously, while peering into the oven door. Fearing the worst after fingering his baked buns, John expected some harsh criticism from the judges, so decided to get in there first, "I think they may be under-proved to be honest". But under-proving wasn't the problem. The "structure looks alright" said Hollywood. "I could do with a little bit more flavour in there," said Mary, diplomatically, before Hollywood cut to the chase with a simple "bit bland". Hollywood likes a streamlined approach to criticism, preferring not to waste time by including a subject in his sentences. 
"I think I won't be here much longer than 48 hours"
said John, the voice of doom.


Cathryn made Lady Arandel Manchet buns this week, as a regional nod to her home county of Sussex. "The Lady Arundel Manchet goes back to the 1500s", said Hollywood, disappointing poor Cathryn who had been eager to share her carefully researched knowledge. She decided to fill her buns with cream and jam which left Hollywood bemused. "It's a great idea, because what you've done is blend several different ideas to come up with a new one," he said, attempting humour. "He's creeping round you," said Mary, showing worried Cathryn some camaraderie. 

Cathryn peppered her panic with "oh pants" when she dropped her baked buns on the open oven door. Luckily Cathryn's buns were "robust" enough to survive. Hollywood remarked that they were all different colours and her bottom was quite tight due to being "under-proved", but Mary loved Cathryn's buns, but said she could have done with a little extra jam and cream. 

There was an interlude about the west country classic, Cornish saffron buns and the ritual of the Cornish tea treat, all explained by an amazingly enthusiastic northern vicar. Vicar's wife, Sarah-Jane, coincidentally, had also decided to make Cornish saffron buns, with added nutmeg and orange. "I don't want to get too stressed," she said, only moments before getting too stressed. In the end, she was pleased with her buns, even if the judges weren't. They felt they were a little bit dry and lacking in flavour and a little under-proved. "Thats a bit of a shame" said Hollywood. But Sarah-Jane managed to keep her chin up, in the face of adversity:
"They didn't really like them. A bit of a flop really. As Mary said, there are two more challenges to go, so don't count yourself out yet, love"
 she said, with a nervous giggle, masking inner hysteria.

A panicked Ryan made sultana and raisin lardy cakes. "I'm psyching myself up" he said, punching the air and rolling his shoulders, Rocky-style. He wasn't sure he was going to finish in time, but Sue rolled up her sleeves and helped out by slapping his next piece of dough on the table, ready to fill. "I should have done Chelsea buns" said Ryan, swallowing a hysterical laugh. He needn't have worried. In this round at least. The judges raved about his "excellent" texture and the delicious taste. "I can't argue with the bake on that," barked Hollywood, before standing silently with eyes focused on Ryan's terrified face. "The silverback is silent," said Sue, in an effort to defuse the tension, before Hollywood leaned forward. Ryan wasn't quite sure what was coming next, and neither were we, but we couldn't have been more relieved when Hollywood firmly shook his hand. 

What on earth is going on? I feel troubled and confused. I don't know how to react to this new calm and reasonable behaviour. Is it the calm before the storm or is Hollywood showing a softer side?

Next up was the technical challenge, where the contestants had to make ten jam doughnuts in two and a half hours.

Ryan admitted to being a very experienced eater of doughnuts, but neither he nor any of the contestants except James, had actually made doughnuts before.
"You've got to make sure that inside that doughnut is cooked properly" 
said Hollywood, as if explaining nuclear fission.

Sarah-Jane, despite her earlier attempts to remain calm and clear-headed, said she was "feeling a little bit stressed to be honest, a little bit frightened". All the contestants seemed perturbed by their doughnut dough. "It's just like kneading a big ball of chewing gum" said Cathryn, while experienced doughnut handler, James, was more enthusiastic."Wow, interesting dough" he said, enjoying this new discovery.

After a short interlude about doughnuts in American service clubs during World War II, James shared what gets him most excited:
"It's the most satisfying thing in the world, and that is no exaggeration, the most satisfying thing in the world is putting a bit of bread dough on the scales and it being exactly the weight you want it to be. YES!"
Cathryn looked nervous about taking the "oily plunge" before everyone else, but her doughnuts were "first in the fryer". And Danny was next in, "I think this is big enough. I can't cope with them any bigger. They're like big beasts, aren't they?" she said. Sarah-Jane decided to rely on instincts over, well, everything else:
"I'm not going on times, I'm just going on the colour that they are. The kind of colour I imagine doughnuts to be".
Sweet James had other things on his mind, "I must be seriously below the standard of the rest of the bakers if I don't do well at this challenge, because I've done it so many times before" but Mel soothed his fears by complimenting his "neat syringe". On the other side of the tent, Cathryn's were "haemorrhaging slightly, but they need to be jammy don't they. They're doughnuts!" she said, hopefully. Her love of baking comes second only to her fondness for alliteration and she summed up the "frantic fry time" of the challenge perfectly,
 "Doom is what's going through my mind. Doughnut doom."
It certainly proved to be a troublesome round for the bakers. Ryan's were over-proved, having risen up and then sunk back down again, "they were crêpes when they went in" said Hollywood. Cathryn's were underdone, Brendan's were under-proved, John's were overdone and Sarah-Jane's were raw, which left her in last place. Hollywood described Danny's as "not bad that at all", which Mary kindly interpreted for us. "That means they are very nice", she said, to a beaming Danny. James won the technical round, 
"I actually feel a bit bad, I feel like i've almost cheated the bakers" 
he said, rather sweetly.

The final round was the Show Stopper Bake and week 7 called for a celebratory enriched dough loaf. The bakers started the process at the end of the first day.

James and John decided to make a sponge starter for a greater depth of flavour, probably in John's case, not to suffer a repeat of Hollywood's cutting comments about the blandness of his sponge puddings. Sadly, it didn't work out for poor old John. He had to bin his starter and start again with a newly imagined loaf. "I'm not going to back down and play it safe cos that's not what it's all about" he told Mel, while stuffing a sheet of marzipan with cherries and chocolate drops. Sadly, his stollen was a flop. "I find that a little on the stodgy side" said Mary, while Hollywood, in a rare moment of self-awareness, jumped in with, "it's beginning to weld my mouth together, which is probably not a bad thing".



Danny made a European Christmas Wreath with an orange curd filling for her show stopper. She usually leaves her dough in her outer hall to prove overnight, but unfortunately the tent doesn't have one, so she tucked her dough into a drawer overnight and hoped for the best. Which proved a good strategy as the judges thought her flavours were "excellent".

Hollywood stopped at Brendan's bench to ask,
"Is it a '70's delight today or is it something more in the '80's ?"
Brendan raised his eyebrows at Hollywood, who was too busy being pleased with his joke to notice,
"Um it's going to be a Black Forest Christmas stollen, so I see it as a sort of centepiece for a Christmas buffet table which will allow for some additonal decoration"
Once the judges had moved on, he said, "I think I'm a great bridge between the '70's and today" before peering in Hollywood's direction and saying, "I hope he heard that". He probably didn't. But he did very much like Brendan's bake.

Ryan was the only baker to go savoury and made a char siu bao. Sadly, his dough was raw and by all accounts, a bit of a dog's dinner. "It's a shame. I was looking forward to that one" said meat-loving Hollywood.



James made a kugelhopf brioche baba with controversial whisky jelly. Which was only controversial because of Hollywood's horror of hard liquor.  "It's like an enormous cornea" said Sue, while James was slicing into his jelly. We didn't hear a peep out of Hollywood over James' whisky, but Mary thought it was "a little bit over the top". 

Cathryn made a bonfire tear and share with cream cheese frosting, complete with sparklers. Hollywood insisted she show him her dough and, after reluctantly producing it from behind her back, Hollywood put the wind up her by asking, "is it a choc brioche?". Cathryn made a face like she'd been told off for talking in assembly when it was actually the boy behind her, before informing Hollywood her brioche was cinnamon-flavoured. "Lots of cinnamon to make it go that dark!" he said, with inappropriate flirtiness, "OK. Good luck Cathryn [you're going to need it]".

Luckily, Hollywood was wrong about the cinnamon, but he wasn't convinced by the colour of her bonfire loaf, "looking at the colour of it, it looks like it might have been too late, it's been on the fire" he said, as Cathryn scowled. Mary thought her loaf was too "cakey" but it had a "lovely flavour and icing".


Sarah-Jane went for another plait - this time a six string marzipan, chocolate and cherry plait. "It's a nice colour", she said, peering into the oven at her alarmingly dark mahogany loaf, but she knew she was treading on shaky ground,

"I just don't feel that my loaf is spectacular enough to bring it back"
And she was right. "It's what's on the inside that counts" she said, hopefully, but unfortunately her insides were raw in the middle and were given a big thumbs down from the judges. 

"I love baking in that tent, I love the kitchen, I love the stuff, I love everybody else. You know its just been so much fun and I am sad to be going but I'm also, you know, week 7: amazing!"
Sadly it was time to say goodbye to both Sarah-Jane and Ryan this week, while Danny was finally crowned star baker, denying Brendan a hat trick.

I was so sad to see Sarah-Jane and Ryan go, but the decision was fair. What was most touching was to see the close bond between Sarah-Jane and Cathryn which has blossomed over the Bake Off,
"You have to win now, seriously"
said a sobbing Sarah-Jane while hugging her new bezza. 

Next time, biscuits! Will Hollywood keep up this new found pleasantness, or will old habits die hard?