Liam Charles has been consigned to history on The Great British Bake Off 2017 in an unexpected end to its ‘forgotten bakes’ week – while Stacey Hart was finally named Star Baker.
Tonight the Channel 4 cookery competition reached its quarter-final with five contestants remaining – Kate, Liam, Sophie, Stacey and Steven.
It was all about historic bakes that are often “overlooked”, beginning with a Bedfordshire clanger Signature challenge.
A “bit like” a Cornish pasty, the 19th century dish is made of suet pastry, with a savoury filling at one end and a sweet filling at the other.
Each baker had to make four clangers, but Kate had a bit of a mishap when one of hers fell to the floor. “I’ve literally dropped a clanger,” she laughed.
Steven was complimented for his “absolutely delicious” Mediterranean pastries, while Prue Leith again raved about Liam’s flavours.
It was Stacey who got top marks, after her risky experiment with wet fillings earned one of Paul Hollywood’s trademark handshakes.
For the Technical round, each baker had to make a Cumberland Rum Nicky. The large, shortcrust pastry tarts are filled with rum-soaked fruit and served with rum butter.
Liam had a disaster, with Paul and Prue ranking him fifth due to his “raw” pastry. Sophie came fourth, Stacey was third, and Kate was second, with the judges saying she’d made the best rum butter.
That left last week’s Star Baker, Steven, in first place. “Nice gaps between the lattice,” said Paul. “The balance is perfect.”
For their Showstoppers, the contestants had to create Savoy cakes: Victorian-era sponges baked in an elaborated mould with a hard sugar coating.
Their end products had to be “absolutely exquisite” – a tricky task given that Savoy cakes are seen as “rather inedible”.
There was a dramatic moment when Stacey managed to break the door off her oven, forcing her to hold it on manually for a few minutes.
Paul said she’d gone “OTT with the decoration” on her cake, but praised its “great texture” and “nice flavours”.
Steven’s chestnut rum savoy cake was disappointingly small. “It makes me question what you’ve spent the last few hours making,” remarked Paul.
However, Liam came out worst after he failed at what he does best: taste. “It’s quite dense, almost like you’ve overmixed it,” Paul noted. “I’m not catching any flavours at all.”
Meanwhile, Sophie clawed herself back from the prospect of elimination with a spectacular citrus and apple croquembouche creation. Prue called it “spectacular to look at” and said its texture was “very pleasant”.
After a few weeks of middling results, Stacey finally managed to claim the Star Baker title.
“Stacey has wanted Star Baker so badly,” Prue commented. “The last few week’s she’s got closer and closer, and this week, bingo.”
But there was a devastating conclusion when the judges decided to say goodbye to Liam, who had emerged as a fan favourite.
“Onwards and upwards,” the student commented. “It’s not the end of me, it’s just the beginning. I’m coming for Paul’s job in a couple of years’ time!”
The Bake Off semi-final airs next Tuesday at 8.00pm on C4, when the final four will face Patisserie week.