The Great British Bake Off: Halloween Week
October 18, 2022 1:16 PM - Season 13, Episode 6 - Subscribe

The bakers make eerie-sistible apple cake, a s'more-ish Technical and showstopping piñatas.
posted by ellieBOA (25 comments total)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:35 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

and showstopping piñatas

Okay, now they're just trolling us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 PM on October 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

and showstopping piñatas

Hanging Halloween themed 3D bakes with at least two sweet treats inside but totally agree!
posted by ellieBOA at 11:34 PM on October 18, 2022

My girl Sybira is back!
posted by ceejaytee at 6:11 AM on October 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

Those s'mores were confusing haha
posted by torisaur at 8:15 PM on October 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

showstopping piñatas.

This is just a flub by whoever wrote this description at Channel 4. They called them lanterns in the show.

I think the judging was pretty straightforward and the right person went home. `Poor Dawn has never been neat and has often been dinged for having bland flavors.

The s'mores definitely seemed like a misunderstanding of what a s'more is. Neat? Not possible.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:36 PM on October 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

That said, though, I would absolutely love to have one of those neat clean s'mores, probably any of the bakers' down to the 6th or so best? I don't think I've ever actually had one that worked out all ooey and gooey like they're supposed to be - the chocolate never really melted, so the graham cracker shattered, and the marshmallow just kind of wishes it weren't involved in the whole affair? Feh.

I was glad to see that they didn't try and pull the same sort of "structural" requirement garbage as they have in the past - please make a tender crisp light STRUCTURAL biscuit to support at LEAST 2 lbs of treats, bakers!
posted by Kyol at 5:39 AM on October 20, 2022

"We were Christians so we weren't allowed to dress up as anything scary for Halloween": sure, makes sense.

"My friend who's a Christian, his mom had him dress up as Toulouse-Lautrec": ??????????
posted by Jeanne at 5:16 AM on October 21, 2022 [9 favorites]

(Which is just to say that I am occasionally very surprised by the difference between evangelicals in the US and evangelicals in the UK.)
posted by Jeanne at 5:17 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

the s'mores challenge on this is one of the most upsetting things i've seen on this show since.. since well they didn't understand what a tortilla was. this drove me insane. what the fuck is a digestive biscuit you make smores with GRAHAM CRACKERS. this is anti-american discrimination
posted by dis_integration at 5:30 PM on October 21, 2022 [10 favorites]

the british must be stopped
posted by dis_integration at 5:30 PM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

YES SYABIRA GET IT! I love how the other bakers seemed to be pulling for her too. Janusz looked just as happy as he did for his own wins. I appreciate that they didn't even bother to pretend at suspense. She did the best this week, and the right person went home.

The s'mores were ridiculous, but in a funny way (unlike the tacos). The judges complaining about the ones that were too If your chocolate isn't melting and you didn't almost burn your marshmallow, is it really a s'more? (Yeah, some people are very good at getting that perfect even golden-brown toastedness. I'm not. But the marshmallow should still be a gooey mess at the end.)

I'll also nitpick about comments on apple cakes being overwhelmed by spice. The dominant flavor should be a cooked apple? I definitely don't trust the judges about strong flavors, but then again I deem the perfect pumpkin bread recipe to be the one with 5 tsp of cinnamon. Gimme the spice cake!
posted by j.r at 6:10 PM on October 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

When I make apple cake I am mostly trying to make a cinnamon-ginger-nutmeg-clove-allspice cake with some apples in it, because I love spice cakes and because I find apple cakes need something other than apple to amp up the flavor. I'm actually inspired to bake a less spice-forward apple cake to see for myself if I can be convinced that "apple cake, but not SPICE cake" is a worthy task to set the bakers.

I've been pulling for Syabira since the beginning, but I'm super impressed that she pulled off a sour plum chili apple cake and got a handshake for it. Now THAT is a flavor combination I wouldn't have believed could be pulled off without overwhelming the apple.
posted by Jeanne at 6:36 PM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

The editing, and Paul’s behavior, on this episode seem like an overt course correction. Although if they knew in real time how shitty they were, WTF?
posted by janell at 7:03 PM on October 21, 2022

The s'mores just...I mean, for me this was the exact same vibe i got from Mexican Week -- though less offensive, obviously -- because all it pointed out was that the JUDGES DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. They made some sweet treat with chocolate, marshmallow and a cracker/biscuit/whatever. That is *not* a s'more. It simply just isn't, when the entire point of a s'more is that the heat of the marshmallow melts the chocolate so you get a gooey texture. For god's sake!

Also yes your marshmallow should catch fire when you are toasting it. Fight me!
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:23 PM on October 21, 2022 [11 favorites]

Smores are neither neat nor uniform. They are not something you ask a baker for.It would be one thing if they asked the bakers to use the concept of smores and make it their own in a signature but not in a technical. The challenges and the judges' response to those challenges just make them look more and more completely awful. I honestly feel terribly for the bakers this season.They deserve better than this.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:34 PM on October 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

I thought the "fancy British s'more" challenge was a good one, to be honest. It required knowledge of how to make three distinct elements (biscuits, ganache, marshmallow) and some understanding of how they would interact with each other. See Abdul's melting marshmallow or Sandro's chocolate drips.

Asking the bakers to make a "real" s'more would have felt more ridiculous to me. But then that's not what the challenge was.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:38 AM on October 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

I admit, I completely sighed at the idea of Halloween Week because it's a bad theme and I sincerely wish they'd just stick to a lot of classics and be careful with expansion. Halloween is candy! And yet, outside of the hanging lantern, there wasn't a lot here that was evocative of candy. Another stellar miss in concept, and "bobbing for apples = apple cake, not trifle, not pudding" was a stretch.

miss-lapin nailed it here. S'mores are always a damn mess in the best way. Graham crackers are the platform, not digestives. The marshmallow is typically smaller and way squishier. The chocolate? Unless you're going fancy, you're using cheap, waxy chocolate like Hershey's because it melts just enough to make itself known. This isn't an elevated dessert. And that's where I was miffed all around: yet another not-elevated thing where Paul & Prue decided to make it fancy and become s'mores experts. Then, for some of them, they used forks to eat them. I'm really not trusting their judgment.

Plus, let's talk about how much non-baking there was in the technical again please?

All the time allotted for challenges is just a bit too short to increase overall drama. The apple cake round was an example: 2 hours to make something that typically needs 45-50 minutes to properly cool leaves precious time to do anything else. I really, really think that this season is going hard for the Nailed It! audience. It's not as aggressively unfair as that show - it's in that show's design - but it certainly doesn't feel like it's being as fair and gentle as it once did.

Lastly, I am super glad Syabira won because she's been plucking away just fine week after week. But either she really is pretty uneven and emerged super victorious this week, or the editing has been also off the charts – in Mexican Week (RIP) it seemed like she might go home. Couple of weeks later, she's Star Baker. And listen. I know the show spotlights individuals' ups-and-downs. But this just felt super blatant, looking back.

The whole production remains gentle enough to keep me watching, but there's a real tone shift this season that makes me miss the more educational, wholesome version of the show. At least I can count on Janusz putting drips on something. Geez dude, you're great but it's tired.
posted by hijinx at 5:58 AM on October 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Graham crackers are the platform, not digestives.
I know I'm putting my red blooded american cred on the line here, but I think a digestive is a fine substitute for a graham cracker. A, digestives are delicious, and B, if the world at large finds out about graham crackers, they'll also find out about how often we let religious assholes with fears of masturbation guide our culinary decisionmaking.

That said, I'm not sure I'd call these thing s'mores. I could see them in a gentrified bakery window called something like Colonial Campfire Confections for like $10 (or equivalent) a piece.

At least I can count on Janusz putting drips on something. Geez dude, you're great but it's tired.
Would love to see a Janusz drips retrospective. (perhaps also a comparison of what was hot on decorating tiktok when they were filming?) But to me, Janusz's reliance on drips as shorthand for "neat but also effort went into decoration" just highlights how impressive I think Syabira is as a baker... she's always trying something new and different. She's so carpe diem about her time in the tent.

(If you haven't seen Donald Glover's standup Weirdo, he has a really great bit about s'mores.)
posted by snerson at 3:53 PM on October 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

Huh. I've seen graham crackers and digestives suggested as substitutions for each other often enough, both ways round, that I've been assuming they're basically the same thing.

Now I want to try a graham cracker.

Did they pronounce s'mores right? It's a word I only know from reading, and I've always imagined there'd be a tiny pause for the apostrophe.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:46 AM on October 26, 2022

apparently digestive biscuits are a standard sub for graham crackers in places where graham crackers are hard to find. But graham crackers are sweetened with honey, and spiced with cinnamon, which I don't remember either of them going into the digestive biscuit. But the thing is, you sub in something when you're not going to bother to make the thing itself, yourself. They could have BAKED graham crackers! It is a baking show, after all. That would have been an interesting technical, with lots of baffled "what is a graham cracker?" faces.
posted by dis_integration at 7:26 AM on October 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

The cinnamon is optional but delicious. I mean, digestive biscuits and graham crackers aren't hugely different - I wouldn't say they're more widely different than the bog standard Nabisco graham crackers I grew up on versus the random brand my wife just bought a case of off of some daily discount site.

But yeah, that would've been fun in the same way as "who makes phyllo dough" sorts of technicals are - who makes graham crackers? What the hell _are_ graham crackers? Well, from the ingredients, I guess they're a hard biscuit like a digestive? And away we go!

On the other hand, the selection of bakers this season feels a little less consistent than years past - we have some clear front runners and a whole bunch of bakers trying to keep their heads above water, I'm not sure any of them would have made the leap.

And no, no pause. smores. smock. smores. smores smock.
posted by Kyol at 9:06 AM on October 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

At least I can count on Janusz putting drips on something. Geez dude, you're great but it's tired.

Januz’s drips are beginning to become shorthand for him being a one-trick-pony of sorts. A well-trained pony, to be sure, but the drips are going to be his downfall eventually. Bring some different creativity to the table, Januz, if you want to stand any chance against Syabira.

The s’mores were meh. The great thing about a classic smore is the balance of marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker. This thing they did put the marshmallow far too forward, and minimized the chocolate.

And, sorry Paul, but the chocolate must be melty. It’s kind of the point, really.

And, and, sorry, but they seem to be able to source all manner of odd little ingredients, so I fail to believe they couldn’t source some proper graham crackers.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:59 AM on October 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yes! As an unabashed Syabira partisan, this was a great episode. I admit to being nervous about the editing in the signature - the juxtaposition of the judges yammering about how apple had to be the hero flavor and Syabira describing her sour plum chili apple cake was foreboding. But I am happy to have been misled.

The s'mores were stupid. The whole point of s'mores is making your own exactly the way you like it, and making a mess. This stepford wives identical even s'mores business was ridiculous.

I assume unless someone has an uncharacteristically bad week, Kevin will be next on the chopping block. (Sorry Kevin, you're hilarious but not up to par baking wise.) They should just bring the remaining 4 to the finale.

The Not-So-Great Defector Bake Off Melts Under The Pressure of Halloween Week: In retrospect it is absolutely hysterical that you and I bothered to dream up alternate ways of roasting our homemade “marshmallows.” In fact, I think we can hardly describe what we produced from this challenge as “s’mores.” For that matter, they were never going to be proper s’mores! Damn British bullcrap is what they were! Also we fucked them up insanely bad.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:03 PM on October 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

apparently digestive biscuits are a standard sub for graham crackers in places where graham crackers are hard to find. But graham crackers are sweetened with honey, and spiced with cinnamon, which I don't remember either of them going into the digestive biscuit.

At the risk of non-Americans reading this and thinking graham crackers taste like cinnamon: they do not necessarily have cinnamon, and the original recipe definitely did not. They are made with graham flour, which is a type of coarsely ground whole wheat flour. It was invented by Sylvester Graham, an American temperance/vegetarian advocate. Spices or any other "stimulating" ingedients were not something he wanted in food- he felt that a healthful vegetarian diet, cold baths and hard beds were the key to healing society and preventing impure thoughts. It's a bit ironic that his crackers are so often paired with overly processed, sweet and indulgent foods to make iconic American desserts.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2022 [4 favorites]

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