Biscuits beware, as the contestants look for the perfect ‘snap’ while Mak runs into trouble.
It’s the end of another week, which means Episode 2 of The Great British Baking Show! It’s Biscuit Week, which, as Noel and Matt remind us in the opening, Americans call biscuits something else across the pond (Noel says “sidewalks,” but really it’s cookies). Ah yes, good to see that the “humorous” openings are back!
This week’s signature challenge requires the bakers to make 36 identical Florentine cookies. A Florentine is a nutty, dried fruit cookie bound together by caramel and coated with a chocolate design on the bottom. During the signature, we get to learn a bit more about the bakers. Mak writes novels! Hermine grew up on a pineapple farm! Linda has a freaking pub in her garden shed! I could easily watch a spin-off show of the bakers outside the tent.
Back to the baking. They all whip out 36 Florentines and present them to Paul and Prue. Some missed the mark by not soaking their fruit (Hermine) or soaking too much (Mak). And Rowan again mismanaged his time, attempting a waistcoat design on his biscuits and failing at the execution.
When Paul and Prue come round to Lottie’s tray of Quarantine Florentines (in honor of her grandparents whose favorite biscuits are her Florentines), they love the flavor, the snap, and the Jackson Pollock design of the chocolate coating. Paul can’t find a fault in any of the 36 biscuits, and with that, we get our first Hollywood Handshake. Shocked Lottie replies with “What? As if.” These genuine moments between judges and contestants are the icing on the cake (or rather chocolate gloss on the Florentine) for The Great British Baking Show.
Next up is the technical, courtesy of Prue. The bakers have to create 12 coconut macaroons – 6 with chocolate filling, 6 with mango filling. As Matt clarifies, they’re different from macarons because they have an extra “o” in the name. Regardless of the extra vowels, these biscuits must be golden-colored, crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. Some of the bakers have heard of macaroons.
Most don’t seem to have baked them except for Peter, who cooked them “donkeys ago.” Peter, mate, never stop saying “donkeys ago.” When the judging rolls around, Rowan gets 11th, Peter falls to 10th (perhaps there’s a star baker curse?), and Lottie falls far from the Hollywood handshake into 8th. Rounding out the top three are Mak (3rd), Mark (2nd), and Dave (1st).
The last challenge is the showstopper. The bakers’ task is to create a 3-D biscuit model from a memorable meal they had in their past. Most bakers are going for elaborate tea sets, like Rowan’s lighthouse teapot with a hopefully working light. Some are going way out there like Lottie’s Viking Victual tray with a gingerbread boat! Almost all of the bakers are molding their dough and then baking their figures, but Mak goes another route and cooks his dough flat with the idea he’ll pull out earlier and mold it out of the oven.
Mak’s plan backfires when he overbaked his biscuits and is left with some very boxy teapots and cups. Not gonna lie, it’s very stressful to see the bakers attempt to pull their biscuits out of the molds. Some, like Sura, made extras just in case of breakage, but most are left hoping they can pull off their figures without a crumbly mess. For the most part, there’s very little breakage, and the bakers manage to pull off their elaborate schemes and avoid some of the cringe-worthy bakes from last week’s cake bust challenge.
These genuine moments between judges and contestants are the icing on the cake (or rather chocolate gloss on the Florentine) for The Great British Baking Show.
Onto the judgment table. Prue and Paul pick apart their structures, looking for that same snap in the biscuits, along with great flavors and beautiful designs. They’re impressed that Rowan got a working light in his teapot, but disappointed at the overworked biscuit dough. Less impressive were Mak’s boxy biscuits, as they didn’t have a great flavor to redeem the style.
Lottie was left without a handshake this time, although they appreciated her elaborate Viking spread and enjoyed the gingerbread biscuits. They also enjoyed Peter’s Haggis structure, complete with a creamy cranachan filling meant to mimic the inside of the classic Scottish dish. They seemed very impressed with Dave’s Mexican-inspired setting featuring ornate bowls, cups, and plates in the color of the Mexican flag.
At the end of the day, Dave’s consistent flavors and bakes propelled him to the Star Baker of biscuit week. I feel like this didn’t come to anyone’s surprise, and after last week’s upside-down cake mishap, it’s good to see him at the top.
Rowan and Mak both seemed at the bottom of the bakers this week, Rowan with his poor time-management, and Mak not baking anything that wowed the judges. At the end of biscuit week, it was Mak who was sent home, and Rowan was given a harsh talking to from Paul to get it together for next week.
- I thought for sure that Rowan would get sent packing this week. I want to like his fun, eccentric bakes, but I feel he really lacks the necessary time skills to make it to the very end. Also, I’m sad to see Mak go. Mak, if you’re reading this, please publish that novel! I’m dying to know what’s in it!
- Other strong bakers this week were Sura and Mark. They both had some fun flavors, and along with Lottie, I think I could see any of these three becoming Star Baker during the series.
- I dig the charm of hosts Noel and Matt. They’ve got cracking chemistry, echoing back to the early days with Mel and Sue. I’m excited to see how their dynamic evolves in future episodes.