The actual semi-finals of the last ever really good Great British Bake Off is upon us kids. This is a very important time in history. This is the last time ever that it’ll be acceptable for you, as a grown-ass woman, to get this excited about flans and tarts.
Thankfully, for the semi-final, we’ve moved on from Tudor Week and everything that came with it, including Andrew’s ejaculating jouster. The final four are Jane, Selasi, Candice and Andrew and they look nervous but it’s not long before Selasi eases the mood by promising, if he’s in the final next week, he’ll do the whole thing in a dress. Be still your beating heart.
Mel and Sue start out this week doing a rendition of existentialist Henri Le Chat Noir which, despite being an old meme, remains one of the best memes. Vintage 2012 that was, before some of you were even born.
Obviously, Mel and Sue are being French because it’s le patisserie week! That’s 'patisserie week' to the less-than-cultured of you out there. First up the bakers are making puff pastry 'palmiers' which are those weird biscuits that Collin from accounts brought back from his trip to Normandy along with several thrilling tales of his walking tours through the Brotonne Forest. Paul spends a lot of time worrying about the bakers’ palmiers being too ‘thick’, something he reiterates to Candice later on. In fact, Paul seems to have a real issue with ‘thickness’. Although we're not keen to speculate as to why.
Andrew hits a wall immediately with some dry puff pastry. Selasi meanwhile is so confident that he’s taking over Sue’s job and telling the bakers how much time they've got left. ‘This was all I had!’ Sue yells at him, the hard ‘d’ on ‘had’ a clear indication that this episode was definitely filmed AFTER Mel, Sue and Mary announced they were leaving. Just imagine the awkwardness when everyone turned up to set that morning. Clearly, the bakers, Mel, Sue and Mary would have sat jovially on one side of the catering tent, bantering over their cups of tea whilst Paul stared silently and alone into his hot chocolate, consoling himself by thinking of how big his new yacht is going to be.
Andrew is still struggling with his pastry. Perhaps this episode is set to be his downfall? His normally perky Bambi-esque demeanour has been replaced by a more manic one. He’s resorted to muttering ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ under his breath, a mantra which nobody but nobody has used since 2010. Even that Keep Calm and Carry On mug your nan got you has been resigned to the back of the cupboard to prevent it from sending anyone into a fit of spontaneous rage. Will Andrew break fully by the end of the day? Maybe.
It’s not just Andrew that looks like he’s about to go full Britney 2007 though. Jane admits quite worryingly that she ‘hasn’t been sleeping’. Even the normally unflappable Selasi is scared. He’s doing a lot of ‘patrolling’ of the tent, as Sue so masterfully puts it. He’s like a sexy wolf fretting about how to protect his pack from impending danger.
In the end, none of the bakers come out of the palmier challenge with top marks although Andrew does a lot better than the rest. He grins like the cat that’s got the cream.
For the technical challenge, the gang are making a ‘savarin’ which, according to my extensive research, is a ‘ring-shaped yeasted (yum) cake that’s drizzled with syrup’ and is often served with fruit. Sue manages another little dig at Paul, ushering him off to his ‘appointment at Banalities-R-Us’ which is a far lesser insult than he deserves. I would have baked him into a savarin and given him to Collin from accounts to get him to stop talking about Normandy. But Sue is a better woman than me.
Andrew claims he’s totally making his savarin up as he goes along in such a way that it cements our suspicion that he was the kind of kid at school who claimed he did no work for his GCSEs but whose 11 A*s belied the fact that he’d actually been studying for 11 hours a day. Even on ‘study’ leave. Andrew = Hermione. Sue meanwhile has found herself at that stage in her job where she’s handed her notice in but she’s still got to hang around for a few weeks. She's on silly season and she isn’t even attempting to hide her Selasi perving anymore. She’s literally mopping his brow and pocketing the paper towel for later. What. A. Woman.
As the savarin challenge progresses, the team begin to lose their nerves. There’s melting cream, dripping syrup, crystallising caramel and, in the middle of what can only be described a carnage stands a dashingly dishevelled Selasi, shirt unbuttoned, brow furrowed in concerned manner that gives him the exact look of a 90s action hero like Denzel Washington or Harrison Ford after they’ve saved the bus of children from falling off a cliff but before they’ve managed to catch the bad guy still insistent on blowing up the city.
When it comes to judging this round, Paul the party pooper pulls no punches as his big meaty hands tear into each baker’s savarin with a knife with all the grace of a bear drunk on honey who’s looking for a snack. Selasi comes last and Jane comes out top.
As we head into the showstopper round, Mary and Paul are agreed on the devastating fast that it’s Selasi who is in the most trouble. A horrifying thought. 2016’s been a hard year. Don’t make it even worse. For their showstoppers, the bakers are instructed to make the worst of all the cakes – 36 fondant fancies.
As the four-and-a-half hours (four hours to make something that rubbish!) kicks off Paul wanders around giving really helpful advice like ‘the thing is, you’ve got to get it finished on time’. Thanks Paul. Mary makes a face at Selasi’s sponge which sees Selasi start all over again, putting him dangerously behind. Next up is the icing which, adorably, Selasi gets on his nose as Andrew adopts a most obscene pose and practically straddles the countertop in a big to make his buttercream the best buttercream.
After icing, the fondant is poured over the top in a way that looks like it’s loads of fun to do once. But not 36 times over. Then, it’s onto decorating and there’s some very impressive stuff going on although disaster strikes when Candice drops her fondants right on their fancies and royally buggers up two.
In the end, sadly none of the bakers’ fondant fancies look like the ones you get at M&S when Collin’s in charge of buying Friday treats because of course that’s what Collin would buy. Everyone else gets the flapjack tubs like normal people.
Despite her earlier mishap, Candice gets rave reviews from Mary and a vaguely positive ‘hmph’ from Paul which is all you can hope for at this stage. Selasi gets a bit of a meh reception and Jane’s presentation isn’t up to much but the judges love the taste. Andrew/ Hermione meanwhile has nailed the presentation and his fancies’ insides are admirably passable.
So, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s Selasi out the door. Life, as we know it, is over. Something tells me that Selasi will be back next week to support his mates in the final though because that’s the kind of guy he is. Selasi for life. Selasi for president. Goodbye Selasi, you beautiful, beautiful man.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.