Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins host the semi-final. The signature challenge requires the four remaining contestants to make a baked layered mousse cake.
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Our search to find Britain's finest amateur baker has taken us on an incredible journey.
We have seen airbrushed cakes, we've seen macaroon topiary,
we've seen croque-en-bouche skyscrapers.
Now there are four bakers remaining.
Welcome to the semi-final of The Great British Bake Off.
Last week, the bakers got stuck into desserts.
What level of stress? Give me a number between one and ten.
-Nine and three quarters.
-Oh, my lord.
This doesn't count as a roulade. It looks like a disaster area.
Let's face it, I'm just showing off for the judges.
-Jo won the Star Baker accolade...
-They are to die for.
-..and Holly had a narrow escape...
It's over-baked, which has make it dry and claggy.
..struggling to keep her place in the bake off...
I'm really lucky, REALLY lucky.
..but instead, the judges decided that Yasmin's time was up.
This week, the semi-final...
Now I'm feeling hurry-scurry coming on.
..and the bakers must demonstrate
a variety of new and different skills...
-Don't know what has gone on.
-Can't believe I did that.
..including the most sophisticated of all,
croissant and Danish pastry dough...
It's blooming hard work.
If we don't get through today that's it. We're going home.
..but which of these five exceptional home bakers have the talent and passion
to fight for a place in the final of the Great British Bake Off?
We're being British and going, "We want everyone to do well,"
and actually we're all going, "Die, one of you, die!"
This week, it's all about patisserie,
which is a French word, roughly translates as,
"Oh, I'm going to have to let the waistband out on my trousers."
This competition represents the yin and yang of baking.
You've got the bakers inside, sweating nervously,
but on the outside you've got two presenters, pleased as Punch, calm as you like,
just waiting to eat the whole lot.
Bakers, good morning and welcome.
We are one small step away from crowning Britain's best amateur baker.
So we'll kick off with a signature bake
and we're asking you to bake a layered mousse cake.
Now, how many layers you produce is entirely up to you
and also the filling is entirely up to you.
We need the sponge to be light and moist,
and we need the filling to be rich and creamy. That's a personal request.
You've got two hours on the clock.
On your marks...
With a place in the final within their grasp,
the bakers know they have to deliver their very best to the judging table, in every challenge.
I was panicking before I came in, I was getting really stressed
cos it's the semi-final you, sort of, feel the pressure more.
Cos I'm thinking so much that my head's too full of thoughts.
You're thinking so much that you can't think.
It's really stressful.
Patisserie is a term used to describe delicate fancy cakes and pastries.
The signature mousse cakes will be judged on their flavour,
the bake and how they're layered and decorated.
It's more important than ever to meet the expected high standards of the judges,
acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood
and distinguished cookery writer and baker, Mary Berry.
The sponge must be light and moist,
the mousse must be creamy and thick
and then finally, you can't just get away at this stage
bunging a strawberry on the top.
It has to have the finesse to finish off a great cake.
Right now, they've got to up their game
and with the final looming next week
I'm expecting exceptional results today.
Jo starts by making her sponge mix.
The baked sponge will then form the structural layers of her mousse cake.
Hello, Jo. Now, the smell of raspberries is overcoming us all.
Tell us exactly what you're doing.
I'm making a Gen... Gen...
-Genoese sponge and I'm making a raspberry mousse for the middle.
You're comfortable with the timing? It's quite tight...
And I can see from the look on your face you're saying, "Please go away and leave me in peace!"
For Jo, taking part in the bake off represents more than just a chance to indulge one of her hobbies.
'When I got married I was only 17,'
so I've never really had a career or anything
and it would be nice if I could get the confidence
to do something for myself afterwards.
I really want to prove to myself that I can do this.
This will be such a major achievement for me.
Jo's hoping that her raspberry and strawberry mousse cake,
layered with a technically challenging Genoese sponge,
will book her a place in the final.
The texture of a Genoese sponge is light and delicate
and one of the most difficult to pull off.
I don't make these lots at home. It's something quite new to me.
Unlike a standard sponge, no raising agents are added.
Instead, air is beaten into the mixture to create volume.
I think there's more pressure because it's so important.
If we don't get through today, that's it, we're going home.
I'm certainly feeling it - I just need to grab a bowl, sorry.
Definitely a tough challenge, time-wise.
Not long to make something like this.
Holly is also making a Genoese sponge.
However, she's struggling to create the necessary foamy texture.
I don't know what has gone on there.
I could have got away with it not looking perfect on week one,
but week seven I can't,
and I REALLY would love to be in the final,
and I never thought I'd be like this kind of obsessed with it!
-Yes, three! Well done.
Since having children, Holly has taken a break from her career in advertising.
-She is a methodical and precise baker.
'My competitiveness comes out in being quite focused.'
I have to focus when I'm working.
'I'm the sort of person who likes to practise,'
I know that if I don't practise something it usually will go wrong.
I'm not someone who can wing it and I get quite upset if things don't go well.
Holly's hoping that her weeks of meticulous planning
and baking homework will pay off today
with her white chocolate, hazelnut and raspberry Genoese mousse cake.
-So, a Genoese is being made, is it?
Yes, a bit of a disaster, it wasn't doing what it was supposed to.
What was going wrong?
It wasn't rising enough as it was being whisked,
I thought it was going to be flat if it goes in like that.
-You were doing it over hot water?
-Could be the eggs.
-Not fresh enough?
A fresh egg makes more volume than an egg that you've kept for a long time
because the whites go runny.
A really fresh egg, when you crack it, the white clings to the yolk.
Is your pan still boiling, or has it stopped boiling now?
-I would just take it off the heat.
You can over-boil it by putting too much heat underneath.
-You only should put it on the least boiling water and that's it.
It's the first time I've ever made this particular type of sponge.
What it is, it's one without butter.
I think I probably did make one back in the dark ages, you know.
In fact, Janet's signature mousse cake is untested.
I don't think that's bad, actually.
All this practising rubbish...
looks a bit floppy, doesn't it?
Shall we cut it in half and give half to you and your mummy?
Grandmother Janet spent many years living abroad as a language teacher.
She learned to adapt her baking to whatever ingredients were available.
My baking is very haphazard.
'I dip in the cupboard and if I haven't got enough'
I'll find something else to put in...
Look out for the train.
'..I'm not into, like, to the ounce.
'Raymond Blanc would say, "Oh, the last gram matters."'
Well, tough, because I don't do that last gram!
Janet has decided to make chocolate amaretto mousse cake
with a notable difference.
So, I'm making a shortbread base,
thinking that if I make sponge on the base
it could all flop when I get it out
and then I thought I'll make my mousse, pipe on the mousse
and then put a layer of cake,
brush that with Amaretto liqueur,
put another layer of mousse, another layer of cake...
-Chocolate mousse, is it?
-and then the Amaretto liqueur brushed on the...
-In the sponge.
-This is a recipe you've been making for some time
-with a variation?
-With a variation.
Experimental baker Mary-Anne
once again attempts something unique with her bake.
Instead of baking a cake and cutting it into thin layers,
I'm just baking a very thin layer of cake,
and just to make it a little bit more pretty
I'm going to be doing a decor paste pattern in the sponge.
Decor paste is made by mixing together unsalted butter,
icing sugar, egg whites, flour and food colouring.
It's then piped and frozen to set.
I like doing something that's just a little bit different.
It'll either work in my favour or against me.
Sponge batter can then be spread on top without affecting the pattern.
Can you find the pepper...
in the drawer?
Mary-Anne's passionate about inventing new recipes.
She gets her ideas from her vast collection of new
and historical recipe books.
I've got pushing 700 recipe books
and if I'm not baking I am reading about baking.
'I have no formal qualifications.'
All I've done is read an awful lot of books
and I think, "Well, I know which end of a spoon is up,"
so I have a go - sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not,
but if it's not so great I've learned something.
Her chocolate and orange mousse cake
is created with joconde sponge layers.
This is almost flourless and fatless,
making it easy to manipulate for intricate bakes.
The maverick of the group, Mary-Anne...
What I'm fascinated to see,
she's got orange and chocolate, colours representing the flavours,
that pattern round the outside is going to be fantastic.
As long as she manages to set everything in time,
it could be a really beautiful thing.
I'm thinking simple...
could, actually, win against fancy, not quite so well finished off.
That's what I'm hoping, anyway.
OK, there's an hour remaining. Just one hour remaining.
You're halfway through.
For better or worse, here we go.
It's just not coming up like it does at home.
In they go.
Modern patisserie is a glamorous mix of high-tech design and creativity.
With dramatic window displays and brightly coloured confectionary,
this is baking at the highest level.
The art of patisserie in Britain dates back to the Regency period,
in the early 19th century.
Favoured at the time by international royalty,
Parisian chef, Marie-Antoine Careme,
worked for the Prince Regent at the Royal Brighton Pavilion.
It's a gloriously glamorous period in the history of food
and a period when people are obsessed by food arts,
by gastronomy, by the glamour of food.
Careme was a very important innovator.
He believed in actually building with food
and created extraordinary follies, really, hermitages,
fallen temples, ruins, made out of pastry and sugar,
freely mixing all the decorative and architectural styles of the period.
He wanted to shout, "Patisserie is art,
"it's as important as a great building or painting,
"a great piece of sculpture."
It's not really the way that he pipes meringue that advances patisserie.
It's the way he piles up the meringues in the shop window
and the carriages stop to look,
and that was really the key to his fashionability
and the importance of his patisserie. It was food theatre.
Cited as an early practitioner of this elaborate style of baking,
Careme was unique,
in that he documented his works in highly illustrated books.
With these as reference, his artistic approach to patisserie
continues to influence the work of patissiers today.
Modern patisserie, it's all about glamour, sophistication,
bringing the dream to the client,
showcasing amazing display and, of course, all about the taste.
In the old days, the clients,
the most important thing was what the cake was going to look like.
They didn't even start to think what it could taste like and that's a huge revolution now.
People want the cake or the dessert to taste as good as it looks.
There is more to patisserie than just making delicious cake.
It's the whole concept, really, of sophistication and glamour.
From the Regency kitchens to our modern chic confectioners,
patisserie is one area of baking that is a true art form.
Fab Four, you've got half an hour left.
30 minutes on the baking clock.
Yeah, they look nice, and they smell really lovely as well.
To be honest, my second sponge isn't brilliant
and I feel like I, kind of, already know what's going to happen.
I'm just really, really upset with myself.
-Oh, well done.
-It's a nice effect.
I'm actually going to cut a strip of this
and use it to line a spring-form pan
-and then cut another circle and use that as the base...
..and then put the mousse in and have another circle
-with the pattern showing on the top.
-A 360 pattern.
-It's brilliant - it's a cake and a children's activity centre! Perfect.
I am now painting the sponges
with some highly alcoholic hazelnut liqueur, which is delicious.
I'm just going to drizzle in some framboise,
which is a raspberry liqueur, just a little bit of a taste, that's all.
Time is ticking away.
The bakers must make their mousse
so they can start to construct their layered cakes.
It's called iced chocolate Amaretto mousse.
Everybody loves it,
so, you can't go wrong if you make something people like, can you?
Mousse is made by mixing the baker's chosen flavour with cream, sugar
and then thickened with either beaten egg whites or gelatine.
The mousse must be light and airy,
but strong enough to support the sponge layers.
Really, it is quite nerve racking!
The only thing you can do
is strengthen it with support of fruit round the outside
to prevent that two layers on top concertinaing the sponge,
so standing up fruit round the outside is a bit of a tip.
This is the praline crumb.
It didn't go brilliantly well at the start,
but I think I've brought it back.
The problem for me is that I have in my mind
something which is not the reality.
Make it up as you go along, really.
With time running out, Mary-Anne has made a crucial mistake.
I've put the sponge the wrong way round on half of it.
I can't believe I did that.
Bakers, the end is almost nigh.
You've got 60 seconds left.
They're leaning slightly.
-Just don't say.
-I reckon they won't even...
-(They'll never know.)
Bakers, time is very much up now.
There is a mousse loose aboot this hoose!
-And we're going to eat it.
Mary and Paul's critique of the layered mousse cakes
is crucial to the bakers' chances of making the grand final.
It's set well.
I mean, it's set really well.
Looks good, I think I would have liked another layer of sponge.
The ratio to mousse,
it should be equal and we've got much more mousse.
A tad over generous.
-It tastes lovely.
-It really does.
Very clever idea to put the shortbread.
-I thought it would be too thick, it isn't at all too thick.
I think the overall appearance, it needed to be more polished,
but the flavours are great.
-It's really nice.
-Good. OK, thank you.
I think your Genoese, it's a little bit dry, but the flavour's great.
-I think the praline's superb.
-The praline is excellent.
I'm just debating whether it would have worked more as a flatter cake
with less weight, with more mousse because the flavour of that mousse is fantastic.
And also, I would have liked to see a raspberry glaze over the top.
It doesn't look finished to me.
The strawberries, although they're magnificent,
-they're too big...
-..for the cake.
-They will not give you the stability that you're looking for.
If you halve a small one, it would give you the stability
cos it would have the edge.
-Thinner, structured layers would have been nicer than one big fat one.
The Genoese is too dry.
You must have lost a bit of height.
The mousse mixture, if you look carefully there are lumps of white,
but as we walked up to it, it certainly looked stunning.
-You wouldn't miss that on a tea table, would you?
-What happened to the other side?
Erm... We have beauty on the inside!
It's not just that I put it the wrong way round, no, no.
-I personally think this looks great.
-The mousse is very good.
Your sponge is baked well, it's very, very light
and I think you've done a... I think you've done a really good job.
-You've shown us so many skills.
Yes, they really liked it,
I'm really pleased that despite my gaffe, they enjoyed it.
They liked the flavour, actually.
I was pleased that they liked the Amaretto that was coming through the sponge,
that they liked the shortbread base, which was still nice and crispy.
So, it wasn't all bad at all, you know.
I thought that looked really good. They didn't.
That's quite difficult, now,
because I just don't have that standard they want.
I'm a bit disappointed about the comments, obviously they weren't the best.
So I'll have to just try a bit harder this afternoon.
With only three places in the final up for grabs,
the bakers now face the challenge they all fear...
There is no time to prepare,
as the recipe is only revealed at the start of the timed challenge.
Today's technical challenge is one of my all-time favourites.
Indeed, and not just any iced fingers.
These are Paul Hollywood's own iced fingers. OK?
So we need 12 identical fingers.
We want them filled with cream and jam
and, as always, this one is going to be judged blind,
so Paul and Mary, I'm going to ask you if you'd mind leaving the tent.
-So please, on your marks, get set, bake.
All four bakers have been given the same ingredients.
The judges have stripped back the recipe
to put their knowledge and skill to the test.
Never in my life have I made an iced bun.
It's not a thing I'd be yearning to make normally,
but, you know, I might be converted.
I'm sure Mary and Paul must have had some sort of spy camera on me all my life
and just doing everything that I've never made before.
No, I've never made iced buns before,
mind you, I'd never made pork pies before and I got second in that, so...
it's all to play for.
The iced finger dough the bakers are working with
contains the additional ingredients of milk and sugar,
which gives the fingers a richer taste,
but these make the dough respond differently when being shaped and baked.
What I've learned from technical bakes
is don't mess with the instructions or ingredients, just do what it says.
Follow the rules.
Obviously you've got to get the dough really good
and get the elasticity and everything.
Oh, I'm not really great at the technical.
I know roughly how things should feel,
but I don't know the physics of everything.
Kneading stretches the gluten strands
created by mixing the flour and water together.
If the bakers cut short this process, the fingers will not rise properly.
I'm not 100% sure how he wants them to look at the end,
which is always tricky in the technical.
I've got an image in MY mind.
Whether that's what's in Paul's mind...
Now, there are several criteria I'll be looking for.
The first thing is the colour of the bun, it has to be cooked properly.
The second thing is the shape - all even, all the same size.
The icing must be perfect
and the texture of that bun must be lovely and soft.
Consistency is what they look for, especially in the batches and they want 12.
And when the judges ask for a batch
they want consistency across the batch...
..which is why I'm taking the time to make sure
that the dough is approximately the same weight,
about 85 grams in each one.
What are a few grams? But they will make a difference.
I just know he's going to have his eagle eye
looking for unequal looking buns.
(It's very quiet, isn't it?)
It's because the competition is now insanely intense.
-Have you all talked about...
We're being really British and going,
"No, we all want everyone to do so well,"
and actually we're all going, "Die, one of you, die!", you know.
So, it literally is very much the British bake off, isn't it?
-It so is.
-It's so British.
All these mums going, "Oh, I just want everyone to do well."
No, you don't.
You want someone to leave.
The shaped fingers go into the proving drawer.
The warm temperature accelerates the activity of the yeast.
This fermentation process produces carbon dioxide,
which should puff the fingers up to double their size.
They're not looking very high, you know.
I can't even remember what they're supposed to look like any more.
You know, you sort of buy one, don't you,
and you don't examine it really for height and width, so...
just going to have to hope they're OK.
OK, you're halfway through.
Never having made them before,
I don't know how much these are going to rise,
so I don't know if I've got them spaced far enough apart.
Well, you've just got to go for it at some stage.
For better or worse, get in and cook.
A perfect iced finger should be soft, light and airy.
Under-baked and they will be too doughy in the middle...
-(Oh, look at those.)
-Have to turn them round.
You see the end ones are getting a little bit burned.
How long have they been in? They need two more minutes, officially.
Over-baked and the batch will become tough and crispy.
-A good dollop of icing will cover a multitude of sins.
Some are slightly darker than the others.
They're nice and light.
-They're not very dainty.
-Iced fingers aren't supposed to be dainty!
You've got to stuff your face with them. Look at that, the way it rips apart.
I'm salivating really badly.
Actually, they look OK. I'm actually quite happy with that.
15 minutes, Bake Off queens, for your icing and slicing.
Oops! The pips keep blocking up the nozzle,
so I'm going to try sieving it a bit.
I wasn't going to sieve it and then...
actually sat too long, watched everybody else and decided to.
I don't want to take any risks.
Gosh, blooming hard work!
Now, to put the icing on top of the fingers you use the dip technique,
which is literally just dip in, run your finger across the top
and then leave it to set.
-That's what I'd call water icing...
-A water icing, yes.
-..a simple icing sugar and water.
-So this was Paul's way.
-This is dipping.
This is dipping. I don't like the dipped look.
I lost half of it on the table where it all dripped down.
I'll try and tidy this up a little.
I didn't trust myself to be able to dip into a thick paste,
so I thought I would put a line of icing across the top.
I'm quite good at making things look the same,
so even if they don't taste that good
I hope I'll get a couple of points for the fact they look similar.
I want to do the best icing I can, so I'm sort of smearing it.
-Boutique feminisation about to occur.
-Oh, I don't know, ooh.
A slight sense of, sort of, scar tissue, isn't there, with it? MARY-ANNE LAUGHS
-What you've done basically is you've made Frankenstein's buns.
Bakerettes, you've got 60 seconds left on the clock.
OK, fingers to the ends of benches.
They're done, for better or worse.
Mary and Paul always judge the technical bake blind.
They have no idea which batch belongs to which baker.
-Gosh. Don't they look good?
-I'm pleasantly surprised.
They're a pretty even batch across the field.
They do smell very, very good, all of them.
The texture's good.
It's soft, it's got an equal colour.
The icing hasn't covered the whole top, but the idea is nice.
It's got a nice taste, hasn't it?
-It's very, very good.
And it's SO soft.
-Nice amount of jam.
-The only thing I'd say was it needs more cream.
There is not enough cream in there. OK, let's move on to this one.
This one looks a little bit paler, a little bit fat.
There's a dough line that's running along the bottom,
which needed another couple of minutes. It's not quite done inside.
A bit tight at the bottom, isn't it?
The icing's nice enough.
The cream and jam's good.
It's a fairly uniform shape,
but it's the bake that's let that one down.
Now, this one, it's got more of a uniform icing on it,
although the icing was a little bit too wet,
that's why it's run down the side.
That's got a good bake, that one. It's nice and soft.
The texture's good. Some of them are a bit irregular.
-They all have to be the same size. OK?
These are nice, good even bake. Icing's not bad.
-Quite nice, this zigzag...
-..finish here, isn't it?
It's got a nice finish, bit of arty flair.
Just done. Another minute too less they wouldn't have been baked. As it is, they're baked fine.
These are far nicer than any...
..Shop bought ones.
Yes. I've never had such delicious ones. They really are good.
-Lovely and buttery.
-I think you've all done really well.
You should be very proud of yourselves.
That was the doughy one.
The judges must now make their final deliberation.
These two were good.
Two, three, four.
In fourth is this one here.
They were not quite done at the bottom.
In third place, we've gone for this one.
-Normally you dip in and then run your finger along it.
They would have been fantastic. The flavour was very good, but it's purely
based on aesthetics with this one.
And number two, a little bit of originality with the jam,
And that leaves Holly, number one. These are a great iced finger.
The bake, the colour, the texture,
-the flavour, it was all there. Well done.
-Well done, all of you.
-Well done, everyone.
'I'm really, really pleased.'
I really needed that after this morning.
I feel like I'm back on a level playing field
in an average position, because this morning didn't go so well.
I needed to do well this afternoon. I also need to do well tomorrow as well.
'It was a bit disappointing, you know, because I thought I'd done OK.'
I'm going to have to pull out all the stops tomorrow, I think.
'Could have been worse.'
I could have been bottom.
But, hey. Bring on tomorrow.
It's the showstopper, and the bakers' last chance to prove they're worthy of one of the three places
in the Great British Bake Off final.
Here we are, halfway through the semi-final.
-Who's in danger, who's looking good?
-I think Mary-Anne has come up and up.
Her cake was so professional.
Holly, I didn't much like her mousse cake,
and then in the iced buns she won, so she's picked herself up slightly.
Janet's failed on the iced bun, but her cake was fantastic.
-So, again, she's got it all to play for.
-Let's move on to Jo.
-She's in serious trouble.
-Her cake didn't have the finish.
She had a cream filling but there were lumps of unmixed cream in it.
But then you look at the iced bun challenge and I think she was second from bottom in that one as well,
so at the moment, Mary-Anne's fairly safe, but Holly, Janet and Jo are all in the danger zone.
Your showstopper challenge this week, ladies, we'd like you to make, please, a selection of pastries.
Danish pastries, pain au chocolat, or your simple
all-butter croissant, but we'd like you to make all the pastries, please, out of the same dough.
And that dough, when put in the oven, needs to be crispy and golden on the outside
and it needs to be soft and buttery on the inside.
And you'll know, as experienced home bakers, that this process takes a long time.
So, bakers, on your marks,
The bakers are producing three different types of pastries, all to be made from the same dough.
This dough, known as layered or laminated pastry,
is labour-intensive and technically demanding.
It's created by repeatedly rolling and folding alternate layers of butter and dough.
This particular showstopper is, for me, the hardest one we've had so far.
You have to make your dough, you have to fold the dough,
you have to choose your shape, you have to roll it out to a perfect level,
then you have to choose your filling, then prove and bake.
It's difficult to get to perfection. It's all about the stages.
I'm looking for some unusual shapes and a very professional finish.
They should be well risen, a lovely golden brown,
so they've got to look right, they've got to taste really special.
First they make their dough, a classic sweet bread dough made from flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water.
This is kneaded until elastic.
It could all go wrong at any point, really.
I mean, this probably is the most essential bit.
To get the base of the dough, you've got to have a good foundation to then have a good pastry.
Jo is making a classic pain aux raisins, chocolate twists
and her own original invention, a banana and raisin pastry.
The banana and raisin, how are you putting that into the Danish? As a pain aux raisins style?
-As a, you know, the folded one...
-Oh, right, got you.
-The square with the bits folded in.
I think banana and raisin works a treat.
I've never had a banana and raisin one before.
I've had an apple and raisin one.
I adapted it with a banana because I thought that might be quite nice.
- What yeast did you use in your...? - I used the fast action.
- We've learnt which Paul liked best. - It's a good tip for me.
The bakers now need to introduce a layer of butter into their bread dough.
Are you having that as well?
Yeah, it has to have a pound of butter.
This is an obscene amount of butter!
The dough is wrapped around the slab of butter.
This is the way I do it. Just get it into a block and then you make sure that every bit of pastry has got
the same amount of butter in it, and the same amount of layers.
The bakers then roll the pastry out.
You don't want the butter to start melting
and you want to keep it quite firm because it'll then stay in layers when you fold it.
If it starts warming up, it will sort of ooze out of the edges.
Next it is folded...
covered with cling wrap...
and left to rest in the fridge.
This process is repeated at least three times over four hours to create the layers.
I've never made croissants or Danish pastries before
and I think it's such a laborious process.
If someone else can make something better than you can then you should probably buy it.
Holly is making apricot, macadamia and white chocolate pinwheels,
almond croissants and apple, raisin and cinnamon plaits.
-How's it going?
-Not too bad.
I can tell when you look at this in particular, now what you're looking for is a marble, and you can see
the marble in there, which is an indication of a decent dough.
The dough now needs to prove in the fridge for 12 hours.
The cold temperature allows the gluten to relax while the yeast causes the dough to rise.
The croissant. It's about as Francais as striking, smoking and randomly shrugging.
Bouf! Ah, mais non. In fact, the mythology and history of the croissant
is as rich, multi-layered and intriguing as the pastry itself.
What we do know for sure is that the croissant
is not French. Sweet pastry was brought back to medieval Europe
from the Middle East by soldiers returning from the Crusades,
and croissant-like pastries were being consumed in Austria
long before there is any record of their arrival in France.
According to one legend, the story of the croissant began in Vienna in 1683.
Some bakers, working through the night, heard digging,
and Turks were discovered trying to tunnel under the city wall.
In honour of this, a pastry was created to represent the crescent on the Turkish flag
and named the kipferl, meaning crescent.
In the late 1830s, the Boulangerie Viennoise opened in Paris and began
selling kipferl, which quickly adopted the French equivalent name of croissant, also meaning crescent.
Around the turn of the 20th century, it evolved from the brioche style
dough of the kipferl into the light puff pastry we know today.
Since then, we've added almonds, chocolate, even cheese,
all 20th-century additions to the original.
Whatever the truth about their origins, croissants have been sold and baked here
in Paris since the middle of the 19th century, where they sold
like hot pastries to members of the aristocracy,
and one of the first places to bake them was right here, in the heart of the city.
The same amount of pastry, fifty-fifty.
'Although the rolling is now done by machines, this part of the process used to be a gruelling task,
'with French patissier chefs hand rolling large volumes of dough until thin sheets of pastry were formed.
'Still today, the most difficult part of the process is done by hand.'
And I'm going to do it in six seconds.
So I'm thinking you stretch it, and that's going to break in a minute.
-Then you roll.
This is the fattest croissant that ever was.
This is a British croissant.
I think we've found out that when it comes to this particular pastry,
it's very much England nil, France 1. Well done, you lot.
I'm very sad to see my croissants aren't there. Very sad. But these are yours. Let's try them.
Mm. It's the best.
-So you do speak English?
While the dough is still resting in the fridge, the bakers begin to prepare their fillings.
I'm just making the caramelised bananas there for my topping,
and creme patissiere for my pain aux raisins and my chocolate twists.
That's looking nice now. That's just how it should be.
Creme patissiere is a classic French custard filling, stabilised with flour.
It's technically challenging, as the mix needs to come off the heat at exactly the right moment.
Too thick, it becomes claggy when baked. Too loose and it will leak out of the pastry.
I wish this stuff would hurry up and thicken.
I'm stirring it quite carefully, and I don't want a pan of scrambled eggs.
It's just using a lot of time, but if I don't do it I don't have
pain aux raisins, so it's Hobson's Choice, really.
Janet is going for the classic French trio -
together with pain aux raisins, she's also baking plain croissants and pain au chocolat.
You've got creme patissiere in there and you're being very careful to keep it at a low temperature.
-The essential thing is not to overheat it and to stir all the time.
-Yes, that's right, yes.
Because if you over-cook it, you'll get a very nasty texture.
I'm quite sure you're not going to do that.
No. That's why I took it off the thing while we're talking.
I prefer savoury things over sweet things and although I think the two
sweet flavours I've got lined up are really nice, I wanted one for me.
For her pastries, Mary-Anne's creating raspberry rose Danishes,
praline spirals and also savoury Alsatian plaited Danishes.
-Now, Mary-Anne, you're the only one to do a savoury Danish pastry.
Yeah. It comes from the Alsace region of France.
They make a kind of pizza, usually with very thin bread dough and a bit of creme fraiche, onion, bacon
and goats' cheese, so I thought I'd take that and transfer it to the filling of a Danish pastry.
It's interesting. I am really looking forward to this.
That's a bit of a "could be good, could be bad" when Paul says "interesting".
-Thank you very much.
-Go for it. See you later.
She certainly is the one who always experiments and pushes the boat out,
-and usually it works.
I could look at the fillings and go no, no, no, don't like that, don't like that.
But Mary-Anne's surprised me in the past, so I'm reserving judgment
because I've never heard of those fillings before.
I just expect to be wowed.
OK, there's an hour remaining, bakers.
The chilled doughs finally come out.
While in the fridge, the dough has also been proving and should be double in size.
Could have been a bit puffier, but I did wrap it quite tightly because the two times that I've practised
this dough, it's burst out of the Clingwrap and it's dried out where it's been exposed to the air in
the refrigerator, so I really didn't want that to happen, so wrapped it
quite tightly and that might have constricted it a bit.
I'm just going to cut it into
three so that I know what I've got for each section of pastry.
To make a croissant, the dough needs to be cut into a triangular shape.
I looked up on the internet what the size should be and then I tried a few different sizes
and decided that 28 centimetres long by 12 centimetres across was the optimum size.
I've practised the shaping quite a bit at home because it's quite hard to do, frankly.
So I wanted to sort of prove I could make a croissant, but it's not easy.
Come on. Don't let me down.
I rolled mine up and I don't know whether they were too wide for the length or something.
Anyhow, they're proving to be a disaster.
They're not very well shaped.
You know, I'm looking at Holly's and I wish I hadn't looked.
45 minutes to go. The bakers shape and fill their pastries.
Really, these three pastries are the embodiment of the bake off
to me because the raspberry rose one reminds me of Mary because it's pink and delicate,
and then I've done praline because of Paul, who said last week he quite liked it.
Shameless attempt to curry favour with the judges.
Janet, I've been admiring your buns from afar and, quite frankly, they're so large,
you can be at any point in the tent and be aware of their beauty.
-I mean, look at that. That's a lovely bit of pastry.
-I really hope they'll be nice.
They probably should have been an inch wide, but I thought, what the hell, I might as well use the lot.
OK, this is your Danish countdown, 25 minutes remaining.
At home, I might leave them to rise a little more, but I just don't have time.
The pastries start to go into the oven.
Pray and behave yourself.
However, varying bake times due to the different fillings
means that the bakers now face a very tricky, staggered and finely balanced last hurdle.
'I don't feel too confident at all.'
Janet's going for the classic French trinity, I think.
Looking at what she's doing currently with the pains au chocolat,
they're going to be from the Land of the Giants.
-They're going to be huge, aren't they?
-They'll be colossal.
I think all of them at the moment have come up with some great flavours.
Some, for me, I'm more attracted to than others,
-but it's all about baking now. That's the crucial bit.
Getting better done the other way round.
I'm just hoping they're cooked all the way through because that's been my major issue with them at home.
That one's unravelled. That's not good.
Just give them a couple of minutes more, you know.
Don't want them to say, "Mm, doughy!"
Bit to go yet.
I'm not cutting it fine at all!
Obviously, when there's so many different components, there's sugar
in all of them, so you don't want to over-sweeten anything,
but then you don't want it to taste bland either. It's really... it's quite nerve racking.
OK, that's one minute remaining.
That's it. Done.
OK, that's time up. The baked French goods to the end of your benches, please. Thank you.
The semi-finalists have endured seven weeks and 21 demanding bakes.
Their fate now rests on the judging of this showstopper.
OK, Holly, you're up first.
They look so professional, all evenly brown. Don't they look lovely?
I think they look absolutely stunning.
I think they really do. The lamination on the Catherine wheel, it just hasn't done it inside.
You can see a couple of the layers where they haven't baked.
It's probably down to you. The oven's been slightly too hot.
The croissant especially is difficult to make with almond inside it.
You can see you've got a beautiful structure inside. These are really tricky to make properly.
Lovely. Really nice.
So buttery and light.
I like the apricot ones.
The apricot is strong. Each one of those
is beautifully neat. I should have been standing over you to learn how to do that.
- It really is beautiful. - There was a ruler involved.
- I saw it. - I missed out on that.
It was like a geometry lesson.
I kid you not, they are great specimens of pastries. Well done.
Well done, Holly.
Gosh, that's a basket of bounty, isn't it?
I'm afraid, excessively large.
How many do these feed?
-A hungry person.
-The croissant is a poor shape.
-Yes, I know.
-The top of your triangle has to be about four or five inches.
The bottom, you can take down to 12 inches.
What you then do is roll it all up and that gives you the layers.
What's happened is that you've basically got quite a fat triangle and you've rolled it up
-and it's quite thick.
-Yeah, I didn't know how much one could handle the pastry, you know.
This one looks great. It's just massive.
Cutting your Catherine wheel, it's lovely and spongy.
I could have done with a little more fruit in here.
Did you over-cook your creme patissiere?
It was thick, spreadable.
-It's thickened up too much. Stodgy.
It's very difficult because it's bound to thicken up with the intensely hot oven.
The bake on those are OK. The lamination is fantastic.
The flavour's good on all of them. It's down to the shape.
-That is purely your downfall, the shape.
-Yeah, I know.
-Thanks very much.
Well done, Janet.
This is more the savoury style of things, savoury meets sweet.
They haven't quite cooked properly.
They're quite raw inside.
-Which is a bit of a shame. This is the rose, isn't it?
Mm. Raspberry and rose.
The moment you get your nose there, it's roses.
-That's amazing how you got that through.
-And it's delicate as well.
-This is bacon, caramelised onion and goats' cheese?
-It's a nice idea. The flavours are great.
I am getting the crisp, it's just slightly underdone inside.
It's very sad about your sort of Catherine wheel.
-It's sort of come open.
-It's very difficult with that amount of paste,
though, to bind. It'll never do it in a million years,
because of the amount of filling. I mean, at the end of the day,
-it's down to the bake.
-It's down to the finish
and the bake that was lacking on this one. Some of the flavours
that you got are unique and have worked,
-but it's down to the bake itself. Thanks very much.
-OK. Thank you.
Well done, well done.
I think they all look fantastic.
-They just look so tempting.
And they're so lovely and shiny and polished, aren't they?
-I can tell you now, from the structure, they are fantastic.
-Oh, thank you.
The structure is absolutely spot-on.
It's crunchy, done just as brown underneath as it on top.
That pain aux raisins is delicious. You've got a crispy outside, golden brown, you've decorated it
with the jam, you spun some icing sugar on it as well.
And the texture, the flake inside,
-I'm gobsmacked. I really am. I think they're lovely.
-They really are very good, Jo.
-Well done, Jo.
If I hear the words "I'm through", it'll be better than what Paul's just said to me
just now, with my bakes, and that was pretty awesome.
I just really hope that I'm now in for next week
and I hope that my mousse cake doesn't go too much against me.
So it wasn't the best feedback ever.
Could I have blown it at the last fence? Who knows? I don't know.
There's a time for everyone to go,
and for me in this competition, today might be that day.
Paul and Mary must now look back over the bakes to decide who will miss out on the grand final.
So, Paul and Mary, before you are the 12 clinchers to decide
who is going to go through to the final.
I mean, Jo, I thought her cake yesterday was very weak. It wasn't sweet enough.
Structurally it wasn't sound, and you look at
the iced bun challenge, she was second from bottom.
-Just so good. She was the only one to get the pinwheel right.
Jo has created a miracle.
Only something of that quality could save her.
-And then Holly.
-This week, although her layered mousse cake was all right, it wasn't spectacular
and I'd certainly put it in second from bottom.
But, with her pastries today, I think she could be saved.
Where do you stand on Janet?
Janet yesterday, I quite liked her layered cake.
-She came bottom in the iced buns.
-She came bottom,
and again, today, she struggled a bit with the pastries.
They really are huge.
That croissant's more like a neck support.
It's a shame, because the flavour of the pastry is OK.
Mary-Anne yesterday, she did that very beautiful cake with the orange swirls on the top.
Mary-Anne, going from being the only in the position of safety
has jeopardised that because these weren't baked.
No, they're not baked. They're quite raw inside.
So Janet, who struggled over the weekend, and who's come up with something that needed to be better,
and Mary-Anne, who started high and then just dropped.
-OK. Well, we'll leave you to your deliberations.
Firstly, congratulations, all four of you. Normally, at this point,
we'd announce a Star Baker, but the judges really feel that you all deserve
a special commendation and that no-one should be singled out because you are all semi-finalists.
So well done.
OK. Now, you know we can't take all four of you with us into next week's final.
So Paul and Mary have decided that the person not coming with us is...
-That's fine. Can I just say, I've had a great time.
Thanks to everyone for your generosity, your kindness and everything.
You are brilliant.
I suppose, you know, everybody would want, if they entered the competition,
to get through to the final, but, you know, I've gone so much further than I ever dreamt I would.
I mean, my luck did run out today, quite obviously,
because my pastries were not up to the standard they expected.
You know, it has to be on merit, and clearly I didn't merit being in the final three, so...
and that's fair enough.
'I'm so chuffed to be in the final.'
I feel very emotional, but in a really nice way. Yeah.
I, I'm a little bit...
never lost for words, of course, being me, but I am a little bit.
It hasn't quite sunk in yet, that I managed to survive despite my baking efforts today,
but I'm not going to dwell on it because clean slate next week and everything to play for.
Oh, I really am
I can't, I really can't, honestly, truly believe it.
-Why is my hand shaking?
-It's the final.
-I've been feeling nauseous since yesterday.
I still think anyone could win it.
Holly, Jo and Mary-Anne must bake for a street party.
-You seem very quiet. Is that focus?
-That's blind panic.
I think nerves are a really, really big issue.
Only perfection will do.
It's a huge disappointment.
Absolutely stunning. It's a perfect home bake.
It's the toughest decision Mary and Paul have faced.
They've really got to prove themselves.
Never has pastry been so scrutinised.
Who will be crowned the winner of the Great British Bake Off?
The winner is...
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins host the semi-final. After seven weeks of gruelling challenges, the four remaining bakers must prove they are worth a place in the final.
To begin, the signature challenge requires them to make a baked layered mousse cake, and the standards are high as Mary-Anne again attempts something different with a joconde sponge and decor paste.
As usual, judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood set the tasks. This week's technical challenge is Paul's favourite sweet treat - iced fingers. Finally, for the showstopper, the bakers have to make a labour-intensive and technically demanding layered or laminated pastry dough to produce a batch of three different types of pastries or croissants.
With a place in the final within their grasp, the bakers know they have to deliver their very best to the judging table every time.