The Great British Bake Off Episode Four: Selasi’s Got A Girlfriend & Everyone Gets Battered

Greetings GBBO’ers! Hearts were shattered up and down the country as Selasi causally let slip over pork crackling he’s a taken man. Val’s fan club goes from strength to strength (she should totally have a spin off show cooking her mum’s recipes and having a great time just being Val) and of course, we bid adieu to one more hopeful.

Episode four saw the nine remaining contestants prepare to get absolutely battered in a Bake Off first: batter week. 24 identical Yorkshire puds with a savoury filling was the first order of the day. Each baker had their own approach to making this traditional favourite but Jane was fresh out of self-esteem. “I’ve tried them all, none of them seem to work for me,” laughed/cried the garden designer. “I can’t make Yorkshires to save my life.”

Jane wasn’t the only one off to a shaky start, after an initial deflated batch Candice, Kate and Tom all had to redo their puds, even native Yorkshire lass Val struggled (and it was her mum’s recipe), “They’re not going to allow me into Yorkshire ever again.” Oh Val, we love you.

Have a rest Val, you’ve earned it. [Photo: BBC Pictures]

Despite Paul’s earlier dig at Rav for featuring lime and coconut yet again in his cooking, his Asian style Yorkshires were a hit. Andrew too did very well, his uniform puds and Spanish chicken filling earning him compliments from the judges. Paul thought Selasi’s pork tenderloin and crackling combo tasted “amazing” and Val managed not to let her people down by producing beautifully textured puds.

Tom went all out with flavours in true Tom style, unfortunately the inclusion of chickpea flour and nigella seeds weighed his batter down. “What we have here is 12 belinis,” remarked Paul. As predicted, Jane’s batter came out dense but the filling (roast with all the trimmings) tasted “unbelievable”. If only it weren’t a Yorkshire pudding challenge.

The customarily sparse instructions in the batter technical challenge left everyone scratching their heads: 12 heart shaped lace pancakes. Paul cryptically urged contestants to “practise your pattern before you use the mixture.” Sage advice since our bakers were only allowed one experimental shot before whacking out eleven intricate, identical doily-like pancakes.

“Biscuits,” scoffed Paul as he repeatedly thwacked Rav’s efforts against the table. Ninth place for Rav, then. Selsi with his “simple and thick” creations took eighth. Kate was seventh, Val, Tom and Andrew sat in the middle and Jane came third. Benjamina’s design and flavour had the edge over Candice bagging her her first number one spot of the season.

Benjamina cooks up her winning lacy pancakes. [Photo: BBC Pictures]

A far cry from the usual show stopper glamour, this week’s final challenge was 36 identical churros: a traditional deep-fried Spanish snack (not too dissimilar to the doughnut) served with a sweet dipping sauce.

While everyone painstakingly piped out their designs, Tom and Rav decided to sack off the “identical” part of the instructions, squeezing their batter directly into the fryer. Rav’s emerged looking like, how can we put it? A plate of greasy members. Tom’s flavour choice was a miss this time “if you’re fond of fennel it’s fine,” grimaced Mary.

Selasi made the fatal error of cooling his batter to freezing point and ended up serving raw churros. Candice and Andrew’s were over cooked and fatty. Val’s looked great but but her decision to inject sauce in the middle meant her batter was too crispy. Jane did extremely well with her pistachio and white chocolate churros but it was Benjamina who, in the words of Mary Berry “cracked it” and bagged this week’s Star Baker Title with her beautifully uniform tropical churros.

Paul claimed he couldn’t eat Kate’s rock solid hot cross bunny churros. Sadly we bade farewell to the nurse from Norfolk who, though by no means the weakest baker in the group had, in her own words “a shocking week.”

Farewell, Kate. [Photo: BBC Pictures]

Next week: pastry week, who goes? It’s anyone’s guess. One thing for sure though, it won’t be easy as pie.

The Great British Bake Off Episode Three: Paul’s Gone All Nasty & What The Heck Is A Dampfnudel?

The Great British Bake Off Episode Two: Carpet Munching, Jug-Grabbing And Multiple Gingerbread Disasters