The finale is anything but a picnic for the final three bakers as they compete for one last time in the Bake Off tent.
Going into the tent for the series ten finale of The Great British Baking Show, it’s anyone’s game to win. Sandro, known for towering bakes and stunning decor, set the stakes high this season as the first Star Baker winner. And while he may have been the first, Adbul was the last Star Baker winner, clinching the title in last week’s semifinals. Not to be outdone is Syabira, the flavor queen of the series and the only baker this season to have won three Star Baker titles.
First up is the signature challenge. Paul and Prue task the bakers with creating a summer picnic using seasonal British ingredients. The bakers have three hours to make six mini cakes, six vegetable pies, and six finger sandwiches from a white loaf. It’s one of the most daunting signatures in GBBO history, testing the bakers on many techniques (dessert, pastry, and bread) while simultaneously celebrating sustainable and local ingredients.
Syabira goes with “no pork pies” that feature eggplant in the place of pork, sandwiches made with coriander and salsa verde, and a swiss roll featuring rosemary cream. Abdul creates Yorkshire cheese pies with fettle cheese, beetroot and cheese sandwiches, and tarragon and cherry swiss rolls. Sandro opts to make cauliflower and cheese pies, egg and cress sandwiches, lemon cakes, and adding extra tarts to his signature. At this point, we are all Paul and Prue, knowing there’s no stopping Sandro when he starts adding extra elements to the challenge.
It’s a mad dash to the finish line, but the bakers succeed in getting it all out in time. Paul and Prue make their rounds, beginning with Abdul. His picnic looks nice, even if his sandwiches are irregular in size. The herb content in the pie, with the fettle cheese, is a lovely combination. His swiss roll doesn’t have the strongest tarragon flavor, but that works in his favor as Paul and Prue enjoy the cherry filling. Up next is Sandro, whose picnic display is a cornucopia of treats. His egg and cress sandwiches are lovely. His pie pasty is undercooked, but the filling is delicious. His lemon cakes and tarts work great. He leaves the judges with glasses of champagne, which is a dangerous move as it puts Prue in a good mood for Syabira. Paul’s comment to Syabira is that her picnic goods look like a hotel display–a good thing, as it means they’re all identical in shape and size. They enjoy her coriander and salsa verde sandwiches and no-pork pies but feel the rosemary cream is too overpowering in her swiss roll.
Heading into the technical, it seems all the bakers are on the same page. As no one had a disastrous signature, the technical could make or break the bakers. Paul sets the technical and advises the bakers that “You only get one shot at this.” With that, they have two hours to create a summer pudding bombe featuring a filling of elderflower and berry jelly and meringue bits with cream, all covered by raspberry-soaked bread. This pudding is quintessential British fare (I mean, where else would fruit-soaked bread be stuffed with jelly and cream?), and all of our bakers are unfamiliar with the pudding.
The technical is deliciously disastrous. The bakers work with vegetable gelatine to make their jelly. Whereas standard gelatine just requires hot water to bloom, vegetable gelatine requires boiling to set. Syabira and Adbul boil their gelatine, but Sandro opts for hot water, leaving him with watery jelly. Then there’s the raspberry syrup to coat the bread slices. Sandro and Syabira give their slices heavy soaks, running out of syrup for their slices. Abdul goes in for light soaks on his bread. Sandro also decides to cut his bread into circles, which seems to be a bold choice considering the instructions say to cut in rectangles.
As the technical ends, everyone has issues with their bombes setting. They all plate them, but they all look like blobs of bread, cream, and jelly. While this challenge wasn’t as disastrous as the brownie technical in 2020, it was certainly a messy one. The baker whose dessert most closely resembles a bombe is Abdul, who is ranked first. Syabira is ranked second, as her bombe burst, but her jelly set. And Sandro is ranked third, as his bomb really was a gloopy unset mess. But he does get points for his lovely fruit glaze!
In the words of host Matt, it all comes down to the showstopper. The bakers have four and a half hours to create a large, edible sculpture featuring a large cake base that also shows off three additional baking skills. The theme is “our planet,” so Paul and Prue are looking for sculptures that celebrate the world. As Prue says, God may have had seven days, but the bakers only have a few hours to create a cake world. The pressure is on Syabira, Sandro, and Abdul to create their own worldly bakes.
In the end, all of the bakers get their showstopper out in time, but they’re all a bit messy.
Sandro’s cake features tiers celebrating the world at different angles – one for the ocean, one for the sky, and one for stars and planets. Paul and Prue wonder if he’s bitten off more than he can chew, but big risks helped Sandro earn his spot in the final. Abdul’s cake will celebrate bees, featuring layers of honey cake, bee macarons, and raspberry profiteroles. Syabira makes an orangutan cake that will hold a forest layer of tarts. She also admits she hasn’t practiced in full making her showstopper, which is a red flag for Paul.
As the bake goes on, Abdul seems in control, showing off his timing chart. Sandro relies on his instincts to bake his sponge, aiming to just know when to pull it out of the oven when it turns golden brown. Syabira may not have Abdul’s timing chart, but she does set a timer to make sure she doesn’t overbake.
There is a heightened level of excitement surrounding the showstopper. After two years of strict Covid restrictions, friends and family are able to attend the final ceremony. There’s a picnic set up on the grounds of the estate. Contestants from earlier episodes show up, each expressing their thoughts as to who will win.
As the showstopper winds down, Sandro gets into a bit of trouble with his cake sponge. He pulls it out of the oven when he detects a faint burning smell. The sponges look fine and will have to do, as it’s too late to start over and rebake. Abdul also runs into issues with his choux bun decor and macarons, as both fall flat. Syabira’s issues seem more with decoration, as her orangutan face is messy at best.
In the end, all of the bakers get their showstopper out in time, but they’re all a bit messy. Sandro is first up for judging. His bread is chewy, and his cake of lemon and plum has great flavor but is overcooked to Paul’s liking. Sandro’s profiteroles with raspberry and cream were nice, even if hidden under a layer of clumpy chocolate. And his biscuit decorations were also overbaked.
Next up is Syabira. Her orangutan is clever, even if the face is messy. Her sponge of black pepper with blackberry jam and hazelnut buttercream was that classic Syabira flavor, but Paul and Prue are divided on buttercream to sponge ratio. In short, her flavors were superb.
Last up is Abdul. Paul likes the colors, the bright yellows balanced against the creamy white frosting. The cake, upon closer inspection, is messy. Paul and Prue like the honey sponge, even if the honey is a bit too sweet. And while the macarons don’t have the classic macaron dome, they’re better than his choux pastries, which are a proper failure. Abdul’s biscuit topping was a triumph, but it may not be enough to be crowned the winner.
In the end, it is Syabira who wins the title of The Great British Baking Show. Abdul and Sandro are proud of their accomplishments and are happy that Syabira was victorious. Syabira herself is overjoyed, saying it’s been some time since there was a female winner, so this win is for the girls.
- Really happy that Syabira won The Great British Baking Show! She was always a joy in the kitchen, and I love that she never compromised her flavors, despite the constant “unique” comments from Paul and Prue.
- I also enjoyed seeing Abdul bake in the tent! He seemed to have a natural talent for baking, even when he was bewildered at certain challenges. It will be exciting to see where he goes after the show.
- Sandro, my dear Sandro, I have a feeling he’s going to become a baking star for sure. I could see him going the route of Crystelle from last season – she’s had success on social media and made appearances on TV shows. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. As a side note, how cute is it that Sandro’s mom’s name is Sandra?!
- While there were some good times (everyone having a laugh at the disastrous bombes in this episode) and bad times (the Mexican Week episode) in the tent, The Great British Baking Show overall is still a charming show that celebrates amateur bakers. Seeing the final three bakers get emotional at the end (Sandro tearing up because he got to live his dream? HAND ME ALL THE TISSUES!) was a heartwarming scene. Time will tell if the next attempt at an American version – The Great American Baking Show – will have the same charm.