A Very Finesse Semifinal Week on The Great British Baking Show

The Great British Baking Show

The four remaining bakers find their way to three through patisserie in this week’s episode.

It’s semifinal week on The Great British Baking Show. Syabira, Sandro, Janusz, and Abdul remain in the tent. It’s also patisserie week, which aims to whittle the bakers down to the top three in the tent. Syabira so far leads with three Star Baker wins. Abdul has yet to win a Star Baker title. Will a new baking champion rise in the tent? This late in the series, the tiniest mistakes could mean a ticket home. Let’s get on with the recap! 

As it’s patisserie week, some of the bakers are feeling confident, or in Syabira’s case, faking it until they bake it (put that quote on a merch t-shirt!). Janusz says his forte isn’t patisserie. Abdul feels patisserie is a bit out of his comfort zone. And Sandro oozes confidence, saying he can taste the final. One thing is for sure, these bakers are charming as hell, and it will be sad to see any one of them leave the tent. 

The Great British Baking Show
Syabira discusses how she powers through challenges that make her nervous in The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.

First up is the signature challenge. Paul and Prue task the bakers with making 6 mini charlottes in 2 ½ hours. They want to see a light sponge containing mousse or bavarois filling. Syabira goes for unique flavors, creating cheesecake mini charlottes with peanut butter and berries. Paul and Prue seem slightly put off by fruit and peanut butter. To that I say, have you never had a PB&J in your life?! I know peanut butter isn’t the rage in the UK as it is in the US, but let Syabira have her fun with flavor combos! Abdul goes for classic tiramisu mini charlottes. Janusz has plum and chocolate mini charlottes in store for his signature. And Sandro, always doing the most, bakes not one but two sponges (one joconde, and one banana) for his banana and caramel mini charlottes. 

When it’s judgment time for the signatures, everyone comes out a bit even with hits and misses. Sandro’s mini charlottes are certainly the largest of the group, Paul even saying they’re “chunky” in design, but Prue is wowed by the bottom layer of banana sponge. Janusz’s mini charlottes are untidy, but Paul and Prue love the plum and chocolate combo. Syabira manages to impress the judges with her fruit and peanut butter cheesecake flavors, it’s just a shame her cream inside hasn’t set properly. Abdul wins Paul and Prue over with his tiramisu flavors, but his mini charlottes look a bit too messy. 

This late in the series, the tiniest mistakes could mean a ticket home.

The technical challenge, set by Prue, follows. She’s tasked the bakers with creating 4 identical chocolate, hazelnut, and raspberry vertical tarts in 2 hours. Most of the bakers are confused, and unsure of what a vertical tart is. It’s a tricky challenge, as the bakers have to create rings of nutty pastry, complete with chocolate, fruit, and cream fillings inside pastry rings. The final complication is the vertical section, as all tarts must have the ability to stand vertically on the serving plate. 

This challenge also seems to be a test of reading comprehension, as some of the bakers make mistakes based on their interpretation of the instructions. Abdul doesn’t like his metal rings with acetate to hold the chocolate filing—instead he places a layer of acetate on the bottom, meaning his mousse will stick to the ring. Sandro seems to have missed all the “semicircle” mentions of the chocolate, as he starts to fill his entire pastry shells with chocolate mousse, only realizing until later in the challenge he was meant to cut the mousse into semi-circles. Janusz ends up baking a second round of pastry rings with rice, only he forgot to line the pastry with parchment, leaving the rice sticking to the pastry. Syabira seems the most in control during this challenge, and the only one who understands the purpose of the rice in the bake (i.e. line the pastry with parchment, then fill the rings with rice, preventing the pastry from cracking and breaking in the rings).  

The technical rankings are as followed: Sandro (4), Janusz (3), Abdul (2), and Syabira (1). Sandro and Janusz are feeling the pressure to knock it out of the park in the showstopper. As we’re this far in the series, any one challenge can make or break the bakers, and even with Abdul and Syabira’s strong showing in this technical, it’s safe to say they’re also a bit worried going into the next challenge. 

The Great British Baking Show
Abdul prepares a showstopper that might just rocket him to Star Baker at long last in The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.

The semifinal showstopper is to create a krokan cake—a traditional Nordic dessert of multi-tiered almond biscuit dough—in four hours. Paul and Prue are looking for krokans that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The krokans must have a minimum height of 60 centimeters. It’s the last challenge before the final, so the heat is on for the bakers to win over Paul and Prue. 

Sandro goes for a big krokan that features elements from Africa (his birthplace) and the UK (his current home country). Syabira creates a DNA helix tower, featuring rose and pistachio biscuits, as a nod to her scientific sensibilities. Abdul makes a rocket krokan, piping out individual pieces of lemon-flavored dough instead of rolling out and shaping it. Janusz’s krokan celebrates Brighton Pride, featuring colors of the LGBTQIA and minority flags. These bakes are all personal, a last chance to showcase their individual flare before next week’s finale. 

As the showstopper progresses, Abdul seems to be running behind, as he’s still batch-baking as other bakers start to assemble. Sandro seems to be in a rush to assemble his gargantuan structure, losing some of the finesse as he dashes to get it built in time. Janusz hopes his Brighton Gin-flavored royal icing will help win over Prue. It’s a tense showstopper, as many of the bakers have quite the task to build their krokans without anything falling over. 

The Great British Baking Show
The krokan showstoppers assembled for judging in The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.

Judgment time. Abdul’s rocket krokan has a nice symmetry, and the isomalt sugar windows are a great feature for his ship. Paul and Prue think his biscuits are delicious, and Prue thoroughly enjoyed his citrusy marzipan decorations. Syabira’s DNA helix is impressive, as she’s managed to keep it standing upright. The flavors of her biscuits were spot on, even if some were slightly overbaked. Janusz’s pride krokan has a tidy first tier, but he’s lost some design with the upper tiers, and his biscuits were a bit overbaked. Sandro’s krokan was “mad” in a good way, according to Paul, a fun design resembling something out of Monty Python. Sandro’s caramel was burnt, but his biscuits were the perfect bake, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. 

The bakers hold hands as the final judgment is revealed. Abdul finally gets his Star Baker title! His showstopper really was the most consistent out of the lot, and he’s earned high marks in the showstopper and technical. Sadly, the baker eliminated this week is Janusz. Paul and Prue tell him what a lovely baker and man he is, and Janusz leaves the tent proud of how he exceeded his expectations in The Great British Baking Show‘s tent. 

Predictions and Other Thoughts:

  • Abdul winning Star Baker was a welcome sight! He’s such a fun baker in the tent, and I’m glad he’s been able to step up and stay consistent as the series progresses. My favorite moment was when he asked Sandro “Dude, may I ask what temperature are you baking at?” during the showstopper.  
  • As we know the final bakers, I predict the final rankings next week will be as followed: Abdul (3rd), Sandro (2nd), and Syabira will be crowned the winner. 
  • I enjoyed watching Paul and Prue’s commentary during the signature and showstopper bakes. It felt like a peak inside their process and they discussed their expectations for the challenge. 
  • On a separate note, Prue has finally addressed the backlash surrounding her own admission to drowning kittens when she was a child, saying “I can’t bear the thought that people on Twitter really think I want to drown kittens.” I’d say if you get upset when people call you out for drowning kittens, perhaps don’t drown them in the first place?  
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CategoriesRecap TV
Ashley Lara

Ashley is a writer, producer, and avid karaoke fan living in New York City. She co-produces/co-hosts She Makes Me Laugh, a monthly female and non-binary comedy show. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @smashley_lara.

  1. Joey says:

    “To that I say, have you never had a PB&J in your life?!?”
    Not only have they had PB&J before; they’ve had PB&J before *on the show*, SEVERAL TIMES, & they like it EVERY time, yet they always act like they’ve never heard of it & are shocked that it tastes good.

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