The final is anything but a picnic for the final three bakers as they face off for the last time in the Bake Off tent.
Entering the tent for the Great British Baking Show series ten finale is a winner. Sandro, known for his towering pastries and stunning decor, upped the ante this season as the first Star Baker winner. And while he may have been the first, Abdul was Star Baker’s last winner, taking the title in the semi-finals last week. Syabira is no slouch, the show’s queen of flavors and the only baker this season to have won three Star Baker titles.
First, the signature challenge. Paul and Prue task the bakers with creating a summer picnic using seasonal British ingredients. The bakers have three hours to make six mini-cakes, six vegetable pies and six sandwiches from white bread. It’s one of the most intimidating signings in GBBO story, testing bakers on many techniques (dessert, pastry and bread) while simultaneously celebrating sustainable and local ingredients.
Syabira goes with “no pork pies” that feature eggplant in place of pork, cilantro and salsa verde sandwiches, and a Swiss roll with rosemary cream. Abdul creates Yorkshire cheese pies with fettle cheese, beet and cheese sandwiches, and tarragon and cherry Swiss rolls. Sandro chooses to make cauliflower and cheese pies, egg and watercress sandwiches, lemon cakes and adds additional pies to his signature. At this point, we’re all Paul and Prue, knowing that nothing can stop Sandro as he begins to add additional elements to the challenge.
It’s a mad dash to the finish line, but the bakers manage to get it all out in time. Paul and Prue make their rounds, starting with Abdul. His picnic looks nice, even though his sandwiches are irregular in size. The herb content of the pie, along with the fettle cheese, is a nice combination. His Swiss roll doesn’t have the strongest tarragon flavor, but that works in his favor because Paul and Prue enjoy the cherry filling. Next comes Sandro, whose picnic is a cornucopia of treats. Her egg and watercress sandwiches are delicious. Her pie crust is undercooked, but the filling is delicious. Her lemon cakes and pies work really well. He leaves the judges with glasses of champagne, which is dangerous because it puts Prue in a good mood for Syabira. Paul’s comment to Syabira is that his picnic products look like a hotel display – a good thing, as that means they’re all identical in shape and size. They enjoy her cilantro and salsa verde sandwiches and pork-free pies, but find the rosemary cream to be overpowering in her Swiss roll.
When it comes to technique, it seems like all bakers are on the same page. Since no one had a signature disaster, technique could make or break bakers. Paul defines the technique and advises bakers that “you only have one shot.” With that, they have two hours to create a summer pudding bombshell with a filling of elderflower and berry jelly and meringue chunks with cream, all topped with raspberry-soaked bread. This pudding is a quintessential British dish (I mean, where else would fruit-soaked bread be stuffed with jelly and cream?), and not all of our bakers know about pudding.
The technique is delightfully disastrous. Bakers work vegetable gelatin to make their jelly. While standard gelatin only requires hot water to bloom, vegetable gelatin requires boiling to harden. Syabira and Abdul boil their gelatin, but Sandro opts for hot water, leaving him with a watery jelly. Then there is the raspberry syrup to coat the slices of bread. Sandro and Syabira give their slices big dips, running out of syrup for their slices. Abdul comes in for light dips on his bread. Sandro also decides to cut his bread into circles, which seems like a bold choice given the instructions that say to cut into rectangles.
At the end of the technique, everyone has problems with setting their bombs. They plate them all, but they all look like balls of bread, cream and jelly. While this challenge wasn’t as disastrous as the technical brownie in 2020, it was certainly messy. The baker whose dessert looks the most like a bomb is Abdul, who is ranked first. Syabira is placed second, because her bomb burst, but her jelly took. And Sandro is ranked third, because his bombshell was truly an unsettled gloopy mess. But he gets points for his pretty fruit frosting!
In the words of host Matt, it all comes down to the showstopper. Bakers have four and a half hours to create a large edible sculpture with a large cake base that also shows off three additional baking skills. With the theme being ‘our planet’, Paul and Prue are looking for sculptures that celebrate the world. As Prue says, God may have had seven days, but bakers only have a few hours to create a world of cakes. The pressure is on Syabira, Sandro and Abdul to create their own worldly pastries.
In the end, all the bakers get their showtopper out in time, but they’re all a bit messy.
Sandro’s cake features levels celebrating the world from different angles – one for the ocean, one for the sky, and one for the stars and planets. Paul and Prue wonder if he bit off more than he can chew, but big risks helped Sandro earn his place in the final. Abdul’s cake will celebrate bees, with layers of honey cake, bee macaroons and raspberry profiteroles. Syabira makes an orangutan cake which will contain a forest layer of pies. She also admits that she hasn’t practiced doing her showstopper, which is a red flag for Paul.
As the cooking continues, Abdul seems in control, showing his timeline. Sandro trusts his instincts to bake his sponge cake, just aiming to know when to take it out of the oven when it turns golden. Syabira may not have Abdul’s timeline, but she sets a timer to make sure she doesn’t overcook.
There is an increased level of excitement around the showstopper. After two years of strict Covid restrictions, friends and family can attend the final ceremony. A picnic is organized on the grounds of the estate. The contestants from previous episodes introduce themselves, each expressing their thoughts as to who will win.
As the show draws to a close, Sandro has a little trouble with his sponge cake. He takes it out of the oven when he detects a slight smell of burning. The sponges look good and will have to do the trick, because it’s too late to start over and anneal. Abdul also has trouble with his cabbage decor and macaroons, as both fall flat. Syabira’s problems seem more decorative, as her orangutan face is messy at best.
In the end, all the bakers get their showtopper out in time, but they’re all a bit messy. Sandro is the first to judge. His bread is soft and his lemon plum cake has lots of flavor but is overcooked for Paul’s taste. Sandro’s raspberry and cream profiteroles were nice, even though they were hidden under a layer of lumpy chocolate. And her cookie decorations were also overcooked.
The next step is Syabira. His orangutan is smart, even if the face is messy. His black pepper sponge with blackberry jam and hazelnut buttercream was that classic Syabira flavor, but Paul and Prue are split on the buttercream/sponge ratio. In short, its flavors were superb.
The last is Abdul. Paul loves the colors, the bright yellows balanced by the creamy white icing. The cake, on closer inspection, is messy. Paul and Prue love the honey sponge, even though the honey is a bit too sweet. And although the macaroons don’t have the classic macaron dome, they are better than his choux, which are a real miss. Abdul’s cookie topping was a triumph, but it might not be enough to be crowned the winner.
In the end, Syabira wins the title of The great British pastry fair. Abdul and Sandro are proud of their accomplishments and are happy that Syabira was victorious. Syabira herself is thrilled, saying it’s been a while since there has been a female winner, so this victory is for the girls.
- Really happy that Syabira won The great British pastry fair! She was always a joy in the kitchen, and I love that she never compromised on her flavors, despite constant “unique” feedback from Paul and Prue.
- I also liked seeing Abdul cook in the tent! He seemed to have a natural talent for baking, even when confused by certain challenges. It will be exciting to see where he goes after the show.
- Sandro, my dear Sandro, I have a feeling he is going to be a pastry star for sure. I could see him following the path of Crystelle from last season – she was successful on social media and made guest appearances on TV shows. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. By the way, how cute is Sandro’s mom called Sandra?!
- Although there were good times (everyone was laughing at the disaster bombs in this episode) and bad times (the Mexican week episode) in the tent, The great British pastry fair overall remains a charming sight that celebrates home bakers. Seeing the last three bakers become emotional at the end (Sandro crying because he got to live his dream? PASS ME ALL THE HANDKERCHIEFS!) was a heartwarming scene. Time will tell if the next attempt at an American version – The Great American Pastry Show – will have the same charm.