The Great British Bake Off: Chocolate
September 30, 2015 7:16 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Week Nine, and that can only mean one thing - it's the semi-finals. The pressure is on as the remaining bakers must get to grips with the one of the most difficult ingredients - chocolate.

First up is the signature challenge, where the bakers must revisit their old friend pastry - only this time it has to be chocolate pastry for a chocolate tart. Mirror glazes, tempered chocolate and peanuts abound as Paul and Mary work their way through ganaches, mousse, caramel and the occasional fruit flavouring.

If the pressure of the semi-finals wasn't enough, Mary adds to it by setting a technical challenge that's so quick it needs a staggered start, which puts all the bakers on edge. Perplexed and confused, they find that matters get no better when they discover they have to make a chocolate souffle. As the tension mounts, who can keep a cool head and deliver a well-risen and beautifully light souffle?

Animals and architecture take centre stage as the bakers get artistic and create spectacular chocolate centrepieces for their showstopper. The judges want something that not only looks good, but tastes good too. With a place in the final at stake, there's no room for error. Who will make it through, and who will fall at the last hurdle?

description via bbc iplayer
posted by everybody had matching towels (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ugh. Flora. Enough with the extras. They've told her not to do them in every single challenge all along, and yet in her little intro speech, she's all, "I'm trying not to distract [from the brief] too much this week, but improve [upon it]," clearly missing the point. I was rolling my eyes so hard.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 PM on September 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh god, right? As soon as she started making those dang macarons I knew she was a goner. I really liked her, too, but when the judges tell you the same thing week after week... I mean, compare her to Tamal, who did a simpler signature this week because he has regularly had timing difficulties.

I was disappointed that they didn't make a bigger deal out of the fact that half of Ian's showstopper was prefabricated and not edible.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:26 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Even the edible chocolate part of Ian's well wasn't edible, seeing as it was integral to the structure, which was integral in accessing the sauce. Besides, who'd want to grab a melty chocolate handle, let alone eat it afterward? Paul and Mary oohed and ahhed over the novelty of the whole thing, but seemed not to notice that it's completely stupid, even after the handle immediately broke (duh), rendering the whole thing nothing more than a plate of shortbread cookies.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:01 PM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

If your heart didn't break when Nadiya was crying after the technical, you're made of stronger stuff than I am.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 8:56 AM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

What is with this idea of putting macarons on top of something to decorate it? It seems rather silly to me, macarons are great in their own right, but why would I want them on top of a chocolate pie? I feel like this season has been the season of macarons as decoration -- was that just Flora, or others too?
posted by peacheater at 11:13 AM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

I was actually really impressed with the chocolate well. It is devilishly hard to temper so much chocolate successfully, and to give it that kind of strength and thinness is super challenging. Ian, I think sometimes does get caught up in the execution of technically difficult things, but I do find it weird that they were like "it's not technical enough" - what he did was very technical and working with moulds and stuff is not so easy, let alone to make them yourself. What they really meant was "there's not enough piping", which is fair enough, but a different criticism. I feel like their idea of what constitutes a show stopper can be quite constrained in general sometimes. They often seem to project "what I would view as a really challenging time consuming bake", rather than what may be equally difficult, but unusual to them.

I can appreciate Nadiya's artistry - the peacock tails were incredible, but I find her reliance on "fake" flavours and such not inspiring. I've done that colored chocolate before, it represents no technical difficulty and tastes utterly blah (like cheap white chocolate, at least in my case); it was also about 20 cm thick.

Likewise the rice bubbles and stuff is not hard, it's a recipe you do with kids. But, the tail was gorgeous and the eggs looked amazing. The nest didn't really blow my mind.

Go Tamal in the final!
posted by smoke at 10:53 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have to agree with smoke. I was a bit disappointed with the judges' reactions to Ian's well, and he certainly was as well. That well didn't look easy to make at all, and the fact that you could actually dip the little bucket into the white chocolate and bring it up -- that was so cool! And I agree -- they didn't give him enough credit for making the molds himself. To me, it was a left-brain engineering type solution to a chocolate showstopper challenge, and they wanted something with more flourishes and swirls.
I liked Nadiya's peacock, but some of her work skirts the line of tacky for me.
posted by peacheater at 7:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can appreciate Nadiya's artistry - the peacock tails were incredible, but I find her reliance on "fake" flavours and such not inspiring.

Other than the bubblegum/mint monstrosity, when did she use them?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2015

For the cheesecake challenge, she did "fizzy pop" cheesecakes with ginger beer, cream soda and lemonade (which sound pretty good really).

And last episode she made bubblegum flavored eclairs (don't sound good at all).

She's talked about how she loves candy flavors. I feel like there was something else she made that was candy-flavored, but I can't remember.
posted by peacheater at 8:45 AM on October 3, 2015

she did "fizzy pop" cheesecakes with ginger beer, cream soda and lemonade

That's what she called them, but the flavours in ginger beer, cream soda, and lemonade are... ginger, vanilla, and lemon. These flavours are not exactly alien to the realm of baking.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:53 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Interesting, in the episode I seem to remember her saying that she boiled down the sodas to make syrups, while the recipe doesn't seem to do that. In any case, I agree, those are not particularly crazy flavors.
posted by peacheater at 10:37 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ian's was impressive, but I see what the judges mean vis a vis skill. Tempering and pouring chocolate is difficult, doing a piece as big as he did far more difficult. But piping and making the decorative swirls and mixing two different types of chocolate in one piece of candy work are also quite difficult. Given the limited time they have pulling off three or four different types of fiddly thing is more impressive than one giant tricky thing --- especially as big chunks of Ian's time would have been spent waiting for the chocolate to cool in the moulds.

One thing I thought was interesting --- Flora really kept a cool head under pressure. They sprinkled in quite a number of reaction shots of her looking stressed, but most of those were post-challenge. When a huge chunk of her piece completely collapsed when she was putting it on, she just calmly called out for a second pair of hands, frostinged the fucker back together and managed to hide the disaster well enough that Paul didn't even comment on it. I'd take her into battle. As long as macaroons weren't involved.
posted by Diablevert at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]

I loved watching the soufflé bit; both because of the novelty of the staggered challenge, and because of the fact that growing up it seemed a literary trope that a soufflé was the dish that could make or break a woman who thought herself a good home cook.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:47 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Nadia freaking out about the technical challenge, and saying the clips included were for filing it under "never bake again" was hilarious, she's so effusive.

I really just like whoever wears their heart on their sleeve the most, and this group is all very animated, but Nadia takes the cake. Funny that she won with rice krispies treats.
posted by skewed at 8:56 PM on January 18, 2019

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