Baking

“The Great British Baking Show” Recap: Season 13, Episode 2 “Biscuit Week”

This week on The great British pastry fair, the remaining 11 bakers have to deal with “Biscuit Week”. They will need to complete three cookie-themed challenges to compete for the Star Baker title and avoid being eliminated from the competition. Grab a cookie and a cup of tea, and let’s dive into Episode 3.

Signature Challenge

For this week’s signature challenge, bakers were asked to make a batch of 18 identical decorative illusion macarons in two hours. The bakers could use any flavor they wanted to put their own spin on this classic, but the judges wanted the macaroons to look like something other than a macaroon.

This challenge saw Hollywood’s coveted first two handshakes of the season. These handshakes are only given by Judge Paul Hollywood when he thinks a pastry is spectacular. The first went to Dawn. She made yoyo-shaped macarons filled with freeze-dried strawberry mascarpone cream. They had a very original design with fondant string wrapped around her macarons. The judges thought they looked perfect with the smart design and were very light and delicious.

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The second handshake went to Maxy. She made daisy-shaped macaroons dedicated to her daughters, featuring their favorite flavors. They were topped with salted caramel and raspberry mascarpone cream. The judges thought they looked neat and delicate. Its flavors were well balanced, light and summery.

The great British pastry fair

Syabira also stood out this week for taking a risk with her Signature challenge. She decided to make savory macaroons. They were shaped like peanuts and were filled with ginger and tofu satay sauce. The judges thought they looked great and had a surprising flavor. However, Paul didn’t like that you ended up with the sweet flavors rather than the savory ones. The judges thought they were very original and tasted delicious.

The cooking didn’t go so well for Maisam. She made carrot-shaped macaroons filled with orange blossom, cinnamon and walnut mascarpone cream. She had to start filling again after overmixing her first batch, which separated. This meant that she lost some of the time she wanted to spend on decorating. The judges found its textures amazing, but its orange blossom flavor was too strong and the carrots lacked decoration because there was no piping.

The Rebs also struggled to rise to the challenge. She made chocolate macaroons in the shape of her cat. They were filled with a chocolate ganache and a raspberry coulis. She was delayed at the start of the challenge when she realized she hadn’t mixed her batter enough. She had to put it back in the bowl and mix it some more. This meant that as many bakers were removing their macaroons from the oven, Rebs had just walked in. This caused her to rush at the end, with Carole and Janusz rushing to help her finish in time. The judges liked the design and thought the cat’s piping was excellent, but it was obvious assembly had been rushed as the interior was a mess. They liked the flavor of her macaroons, though.

Technical challenge

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For the Technical Challenge, bakers must follow a refined recipe that they have never seen before. This week they were asked to bake 12 garibaldi cookies, also known as squished fly cookies. They had an hour and 45 minutes to make the cookies which consist of two thin layers of cookie sandwiching a layer of currants. They were also asked to decorate the cookies with feathered chocolate. The judges then judged the pastries from worst to best in a blind judging, not knowing which cookies belonged to which baker.

Abdul came in last place this week. Her cookies were a mess. They were undercooked and very soft. This meant that he had trouble dipping them in the chocolate, with some breakage, which led to him pouring the chocolate over the cookies. The judges pointed out that there was more chocolate on the plate than the cookies. He also didn’t understand what it meant to put the chocolate in feathers. He made nibs of raw white chocolate which he placed on the cookies.

Syabira also made the same mistake; however, she succeeded at a higher level. Her white chocolate nibs were exquisite but not what the judges were looking for. Her cookies were nice and thin but were still a bit soft. This brought her to tenth place. Then, in order came: Dawn, Kevin, Maisam, Janusz, Maxy, Carole, Sandro and James.

The great British pastry fair

Rebs surprised herself by coming first in this challenge. Her cookies were lovely and thin and had a cute feathered chocolate on top. Despite her cookies being a little too soft and her chocolate a little too thick, her cookies were delicious.

Showstopper Challenge

For the Showstopper Challenge, bakers were asked to make a 3D cookie mask. They had four hours for this challenge and could use any style of cookie they wanted. However, their baking had to look and taste fantastic and be able to stand on its own by the end of the challenge.

This challenge was both amazing and nerve-wracking to watch. The end of the challenge was terrifying to watch as the bakers carefully placed their masks upright and hoped their cookies didn’t crumble or fall out. However, the results were worth it. Many bakers have produced great masks, so be sure to check out the video below that showcases them.

Abdul stood out in this challenge by making a mask inspired by his pet parrot. The basic mask was made of gingerbread and decorated with feathers of sumac shortbread, tahini, and sesame cookie. He made 90 individual cookies and the judges were amazed at the detail and texture he was able to achieve in the feathers simply by shaping the cookies. The judges loved the unusual flavors and found the textures wonderful.

Not to be outdone by Abdul, Syabira made over 100 cookies for her mask. Her mask was inspired by people with a dark side and a light side. Her base mask was made of Lemon Jasmine Cookie. The dark side of her mask was decorated with chocolate sandwich cookies and the light side with heart-shaped orange, rose and pistachio cookies, topped with pistachio and rose macaroons for the crown. The detail and texture of his mask was stunning. The judges thought her chocolate cookies were rich and indulgent, her shortbread cookies were good, and her rose cookies tasted great. They thought her Lemon Jasmine Cookie was a bit lacking in lemon flavor.

Maxy also continued to perform well with her carnival-themed mask. She made a mask out of coconut and lime sugar and decorated it with feathers of cardamom tuiles and macadamia florentines. It looked amazing and had lots of colors. The judges thought it was a fantastic design and all of her cookies were delicious.

Maisam received mixed reviews. She created a Venetian-inspired gingerbread mask. It was decorated with colored royal icing, isomalt sprinkles and two decorative coconut and lemon shortbread cookies. She finished the challenge early and had plenty of free time before the challenge ended, which tends not to be well received by the judges. The judges liked the liveliness of her mask and thought her cookies tasted great. However, they thought it was rather simple since she only created two types of cookies and she could have done more with the time available.

The judges were also unimpressed with Rebs’ simplistic mask. She made a fascinator mask of Venetian inspiration. It consisted of a mixed spice gingerbread base with a decoration of royal icing and whiskey. She had a tough bake after her first batch of gingerbread cracked in the oven and had to start from scratch. Her mask was quite small and simplistic, and the judges thought she could have done more, especially since her frosting seemed rushed. They also thought her gingerbread had too much spice and was too soft.

Carole’s mask ended in disaster and broke everyone’s heart. She made a gingerbread mask decorated with almond macaroon and royal icing topped with orange tile feathers. Its decoration was amazing; however, his downfall was using lard in his gingerbread instead of butter. This made her gingerbread very sweet. When she leaned her mask against a plate stand, she turned away for a minute and the cookie collapsed in the middle, allowing the stand to be pushed through. With minutes to go, Carole couldn’t do anything to fix her mask and she ended up in tears. It was sad to see her so upset after being so proud of her creation. The judges could still see past the damage and thought her piping was beautiful and her cookies had a great flavor.

Results

This week, James, Maxy and Syabira all seemed in contention to win Star Baker. However, Maxy won the title after doing well in all three challenges.

On the other end of the scale, Carole, Maisam and Rebs were all in contention to be eliminated. I think only the technical challenge win saved the Rebs from elimination. This meant that Maisam was the baker who had been sent home, her pastries being rather disappointing this week.

Best Bits from the Pastry Show

Here are some of my favorite no-bake moments from this week’s episode!

  • Host Matt Lucas suggested that if the bakers weren’t proud of their baked goods in the technical challenge, they could put it behind someone else’s photo and pretend it wasn’t theirs.
  • James showing off his raccoon tattoo… yes, you read that right.

Next week, bakers will take part in “Bread Week”. Be sure to check it out on Netflix next Friday, then come back here for the latest recap!

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