We start with Paul Hollywood eating Noel and Matt in biscuit form for…reasons. The sketches at the beginning of this show now feel like deleted scenes from Noel Fielding’s The Mighty Boosh in the worst way possible—at least this week’s vignette spared Prue the indignity.
On to the bakers! Who are baking on a lovely sunny day, which is not ideal for biscuits but everyone seems in good spirits nonetheless. Amanda seems the most nervous, having had a pretty mediocre first week. She admits it takes three days when she normally bakes biscuits. How?
Biscuits never produce the most exciting of weeks, but are important to the fundamentals of baking, so their inclusion is understandable. For the signature challenge, the bakers are tasked with brandy snaps, a lacy, delicate biscuit that must be molded while still piping hot and is the reason many pastry chefs don’t have fingerprints. While they are a complete pain (sometimes literally) to make, easy to burn and even easier to make soggy, a well-executed brandy snap, with a sweet crunchy lattice filled with a creamy filling, is a god-tier biscuit.
With every passing minute Lizzie spends on our screens, it seems like she may have just wandered into the tent one day and seemed fun, so they kept her. This week, she arrives in a pair of Crocs and lets us know that she didn’t bother to practice—she watched Harry Potter instead. Harry Potter. The film franchise that ended in 2011. That had a sole good entry in 2004. That couldn’t wait?
Lizzie is making a brandy snap tribute to McDonald’s apple pies, which they can only allude to for rights reasons. Meanwhile Freya, Chigs, and Rochica are doing coffee flavors, with Freya’s pronunciation of “cappuccino” proving utterly charming. George is sticking with what he knows and doing another Cyprus-themed bake. Everyone else seems to be staying largely on brand from last week: Giuseppe and Jürgen exude calm confidence, Crystelle has a nervous energy that seems to work for her, Maggie is thrilled by every passing moment and Jairzinho… well, Jairzinho takes laid-back to a whole new level. When Paul and Prue suggest he picks up the pace, he simply shrugs and says “My getting going might not be the equivalent of other people’s.” It’s been a long pandemic and this commitment to relaxation is admirable.
Unsurprisingly, Jairzinho’s chocolate and passionfruit brandy snaps aren’t great. Sadly, neither are Maggie’s traditional ones. Many of the others are a little rough round the edges, but in George’s case the flavors are “spectacular.” Giuseppe and Jürgen and Crystelle all deliver excellent results both in taste and appearance. It’s early days, but good money would place these three in the final, possibly with Freya as a wild card; her vegan restrictions don’t seem to be holding her back.
On to the technical, which for rights reasons they are calling “jammy biscuits” but are better known in the U.K. as jammy dodgers. A jammy dodger is a sweet bland biscuit you can pick up at any tiny supermarket for about 20p, and are frequently given to children as they are uncontroversial enough to be widely tolerated. For British adults, they spark intense, nostalgic, biscuit-y joy.
As it’s a hot day, making buttery biscuits with an intricate pattern is a nightmare for the bakers, and this section typifies why biscuit week is often underwhelming. Watching a group of people getting so worked up to produce 12 visually unimpressive little rounds feels a little cruel. When George’s efforts are criticized, he looks utterly devastated—and over something no one in their right mind would bother making from scratch.
Right at the bottom for the technical are Rochica, Crystelle and Jairzinho (not that Jairzinho seems to mind), and at the top we have Giuseppe and Jürgen. Giuseppe is proving a fantastic contender but seems doomed to always be slightly surpassed by the man he deems “the baking terminator!”.
Day two in the tent and Maggie is worried, but smiling as per usual. The bakers have to create interactive biscuit toys. Maggie and Jürgen both had toy-free childhoods: Maggie, because she was a child just after WWII, and Jürgen, because his family were too poor to afford them. But they are making a beach scene and a windmill, respectively. The televisual gods wouldn’t be cruel enough to send these two home based on bakes from toy-free childhoods, would they?
Jairzinho is attempting to redeem himself with a sailboat, Lizzie is evoking her day job with a car, and George is going all out with a motorized plane. Unfortunately, George is betraying his personal brand and it won’t be a Cyprus Airlines plane.
As an engineer this seems like a challenge that Giuseppe might finally be able to surpass Jürgen in, but he’s going for a slightly unambitious board game. Freya and Amanda are both making rocking horses. But unlike every single other baker making their biscuits out of ginger bread, Amanda is making sugar cookies. What Amanda doesn’t realize that when it comes to biscuit sculptures, in life or on Bake Off, it’s ALL about structural integrity. If you want something delicious, no one is reaching for a gingerbread windmill—it’s about the spectacle!
The showstopper baking is a stressful watch, with George, Maggie, and Amanda’s nerves making for uncomfortable viewing. When the inevitable happens, and Amanda’s beautiful rocking horse falls to pieces, it’s heartbreaking, but why didn’t she lay it down sideways?! Surely, flat on its side and intact is better than the sad crumble of childhood dreams that she eventually presents.
The best of the bunch are George’s spinning airplane in cotton candy clouds, Crystelle’s vanity case complete with mirror, Freya’s upright vegan rocking horse, Giuseppe’s refined board game and, of course, Jürgen’s windmill is a towering, fully operational masterpiece.
Less impressive is poor Maggie’s clunky beach scene, but even through the tears of disappointment she’s able to keep smiling. Jairzinho’s sailboat does actually get finished but the results are pretty underwhelming.
It’s down for Matt to announce the star baker and it’s everyone’s favorite trombone playing German… JÜRGEN FOR THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW! Meanwhile lovely laidback Jairzinho’s boat wasn’t enough to save him, and his time in the tent has come to an end. His soothing presence will be missed.
Next week: Bread! Where the warm temperatures in the tent will work in their favor for once.
- I thought I may have misheard Prue Leith being South African and upon googling it turns out she is! Born in Cape Town in 1940 her father worked for African Explosives…. Okay, this seems like a dark rabbit hole, I’m going to stop there.
- Paul telling Amanda that if her rocking horse had stayed upright it would have been the “best ever” seemed unnecessarily cruel.
- Current theory is Lizzie doesn’t care at all about baking, she’s just on the show to launch her dog’s Instagram influencer career.
- Jürgen’s family pick up the phone this week! I suspect it won’t be the last time he calls them to say he’s star baker.