Week Eight – Free-From Week.
It’s week eight which officially makes it the quarter-finals. This week is free-from week, a week where our five remaining bakers will have to tackle recipes that are vegan, dairy free and gluten free – oh my! With ice cream sandwiches, sausage rolls and celebration cake, our bakers will work through the sweet and the savoury in an attempt to reach the semi-finals.
Signature Challenge – Batch of Eight Identical Dairy Free Ice Cream Sandwiches.
The judges would like our bakers to make a batch of eight identical dairy free ice cream sandwiches. The judges are looking for a silky smooth ice cream and a crispy biscuit to satisfy their sweet tooth. With ice cream and a warm tent, I’m having flashbacks to the great bin gate of 2014 with Ian’s baked Alaska – let’s hope this ice cream challenge is free-from disaster as well as dairy. Lizzie’s ice cream sandwiches will be based on her dog walks called ‘Best Thing About Walks’; as a dairy alternative Lizzie will be making oat milk ice cream flavoured with vanilla and almond brittle and will be sandwiched between two dark chocolate glitter biscuits. Taking a slightly different approach to the dairy alternative, Giuseppe will be making ginger and orange ice cream sandwiches with candied orange peel and crystallised ginger with tofu and soy milk. Dedicating his ice cream sandwiches to his mother, Chigs will make ‘Mum’s Tropical Delight’, with mango, coconut milk, vegan white chocolate and pistachios. Like Chigs, Jürgen will also be using pistachios for his ‘Meet My Favourites’ ice cream sandwiches made with pistachio and almond macarons with pistachio and banana ice cream. Planning to wake up the judges, Crystelle will make tahini and miso coffee ice cream sandwiches with coffee ice cream and tahini and miso biscuits.
It may be free-from week but our bakers aren’t free from the judge’s feedback. Lizzie was commended for her beautiful flavours and lovely texture, but was told that her bake was uneven and a little messy – but what’s an ice cream sandwich without a bit of mess, right? On the other end of the spectrum, Chigs’s bake is described by Prue as being ‘as neat as a pin’ but has more of a sorbet texture and lacks the flavourful punch it needs from the mango. Although Jürgen was firing on all cylinders for this challenge, his bake also needs to have rested, but Prue complimented him on his new ‘invention’. Crystelle’s bake looked tempting with its uniform appearance and was described by the judges as flavoursome and Giuseppe’s ice cream sandwiches were complimented for their delicious taste and lovely aesthetic.
Technical Challenge – Eight Identical Vegan Sausage Rolls with a Sticky Caramelised Red Onion Chutney.
Our five bakers approach even trickier territory with the challenge of baking eight identical vegan sausage rolls alongside a sticky caramelised red onion chutney. A rough puff pastry without butter? Now that is a task that I don’t envy, but our bakers are more than ready for the challenge. Rather than using butter as their fat component, the bakers will need to use something called ‘vegan block’, a substance made from almond, coconut and rapeseed oil. Crystelle anticipates the challenge to be ‘really interesting, and interesting in every bad sense of the word’ and just like magic, Crystelle’s words come to fruition as Jürgen drops his sausage rolls on the floor! Jürgen vows to be free-from terror in an Office-like look to the camera, saying ‘you didn’t see it’.
It’s feedback time and Paul chokes on his words quite literally as Crystelle lands herself in fifth place for using too much chilli in her sausage rolls. Jürgen closely followed in fourth place for his messy, definitely not floor-dropped, sausage rolls. Lizzie found herself in third place for her overbaked sausage rolls, Giuseppe came second with his flat rolls, but it was Chigs who was triumphant. Chigs won the technical and commended on his lovely chutney, and delicious flavours.
Showstopper Challenge – Visually Spectacular Gluten Free Celebration Cake.
It’s the final challenge of the week and the judges have asked our bakers to make a two tier visually spectacular gluten free celebration cake. Crystelle is dedicating her bake to her Nan with ‘My Nana’s Cascading Dress’ Gluten Free Cake with coconut and jaggery crème pat, American buttercream roses and cardamom sponge. Giuseppe hopes to impress Paul with his favourite – Black Forest Cake; Giuseppe’s gluten-free black forest will be filled with kirsch cherry jam, chantilly cream, crushed pistachios, puffed rice and chocolate. Like Giuseppe, Chigs will be re-making another classic – red velvet cake; Chigs’s gluten free red velvet cake will be decorated with a chocolate colour and a cream cheese crumb coating. Jürgen will be feeding a gluten free army with his ‘Ultimate Gluten-Free Birthday Cake’ that serves a whopping 80 people; the cake will be filled with a trio of white, milk and dark chocolate alongside an apricot jam. Lizzie will be making gluten-free ‘Extraordinary Cake’ with rice paper fins, lime Italian meringue buttercream and pineapple jam. Lizzie explains the reason behind her bake, as she tells us “I’m celebrating being different. It’s going to be a representation of my brain. I’ve got quite a few SEN issues. SEN is special educational needs. Dyslexic, dyspraxic, ADHD and concentration disorder. People who are slightly different need to be celebrated and represented.” Lizzie’s 70s shag rug aesthetic will be representative of a common experience among those with ADHD which is brain fog – the feeling of your brain feeling fuzzy and slow. Whilst baking, Lizzie shares her experience and dispels the common misconceptions of ADHD – an important conversation to be had.
It’s the final feedback time of the quarter-finals and this one is a nail biter. Crystelle was complimented for her witty design, beautiful bake and good texture. Lizzie delivered finesse in heaps with her extraordinary cake; Prue told Lizzie that she had never seen a cake like it and that it was beautifully done. Jürgen’s bake did not disappoint with his perfect piping and chocolate drips and beautiful sponge and Chigs’ bake was ‘spot on’.
The judge’s decisions haven’t gotten any easier with our final five bakers as they deem Crystelle and Lizzie as being neck and neck for the bottom two. This week it was Chigs who stunned the judges and won star baker for the second time, an impressive achievement! Unfortunately this week wasn’t free from departures as we said an incredibly sad goodbye to Lizzie. In an emotionally penned letter, Lizzie reminisced over her time in the tent, telling us that ‘It has been amazing meeting the most fabulous people and learning so much off them all, not all baking stuff but life skills like vocabulary, Greek dancing and the benefits of peppermint tea’. Lizzie has reminded us all to celebrate our differences, after all, they are what make us us. Lizzie’s infectious smile, impeccable style and sense of humour will be missed in the final few weeks but she has done herself proud and is a winner in our eyes.
ADHD Help and Resources:
If you think that yourself or a loved one may have ADHD, we have compiled a list of resources that can help support you in your existing diagnosis or journey to diagnosis.
- NHS – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
- ADHD Foundation.
- Mind – ADHD and Mental Health.
- ADHD UK.
Dyslexia Help and Resources:
Dyspraxia Help and Resources:
Bake Off Kitchen Appliances.
You may have noticed the beautiful appliances in the Bake Off tent, with hidden oven doors and pastel fridges, the tent was designed for beauty and ease. If you are wondering where to purchase these items, you can read more about the appliances here.
Previous Bake Off Posts:
If you have enjoyed reading about Free-From Week, you can catch up on what happened in Caramel Week, Pastry Week, German Week, Bread Week, Dessert Week, Biscuit Week and Cake Week by clicking on the links.