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19 October 2016

“The speaking clock, with puns!” As Bake Off’s time runs out, the semi-final shows what we’re losing

The penultimate episode of the The Great British Bake Off as we know it reminded us of its soon-to-be-former glory days.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

I’m sure I was not the only one who got a little over-emotional watching the Bake Off this week, when, after Selasi began sounding out the time left to the other bakers, and Sue jokily mourned her replacement. “Are you doing me out of a job, mate? This is all I had! I was like the speaking clock, with puns!” I’m not crying, there’s just some fondant fancy glaze on my face.

The penultimate episode of the Bake Off as we know it reminded us of its soon-to-be-former glory days – it was Patisserie Week, a fan favourite for all its delightful little treats and gloriously indulgent bakes. There were plenty of opportunities for bad French and La Nouvelle Vague parodies, while the level of dexterity involved saw Selasi towelled down with kitchen roll and icing hiding under Candice’s nails.

The signature this week asked for 24 savoury palmiers – and the personalities of the final four shone through. Candice went for hearty pub flavours – mushroom, bacon, red onion, and lots and lots of cheese; Garden designer Jane’s floral offerings were loaded with pesto and olives, musical society nerd Andrew made his in the shape of treble clefs, and Selasi’s were, well, Selasi’s.

Andrew remade his pastry, setting him back in terms of time, and leaving him visibly flustered, but remained the absolute stereotype of a whiny, deadline-hugging Cambridge graduate by rushing something close to perfect through at the last minute despite his panic.

The technical was a big wobbly savarin – whatever that is – and Jane’s traditional baking talents saw her come out top, while Selasi struggled with presentation.

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For the showstopper – 36 fondant fancies – almost everyone ended up in a sticky situation. After three hours of desperate work, the bakers emerged, buttercream smeared over their faces, all looking slightly worse for wear. No one made perfect fancies, but Candice came top in terms of taste, Andrew in terms of presentation. It’s strange to see so many bakers far from perfection in the week before the final, but who came for the cakes anyway? It’s time for the question on everyone’s lips – just how Bake Off was the Bake Off this week?

Just how Bake Off was the Bake Off this week?

Mel and Sue’s ridiculous new wave parody. +15

Candice: “I’m just rolling in nuts” +17

The sound of a literal TICKING CLOCK being used in tense moments. +19

Selasi: “I’m the baking athlete.” +10

Mel: “You want to be the only cock in the hen coop.” +16

Sue: “I was like the speaking clock, with puns!” +23

Mournful shots of a Very Serious Selasi behind his messy bakes. +14

Three separate cases of having to make something again from scratch. +21

Three different shots of everything falling out of the oven. +21

Score: 156! A stellar vintage.

Next week will mark the final Mel, Sue and Mary-featuring episode of The Formerly Great British Bake Off. Oh, speaking clock with puns, we hardly knew ye.

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