'The Great British Bake Off': week two review

The humble biscuit took centre stage on last night’s ‘Bake Off’. We saw everything from fairground carousels and stream trains to snow-dusted ski villages that, in the words of Paul Hollywood, resembled Verbier

by Natalie Hammond

The episode kicked off with the signature challenge, which was baking a batch of 36 savoury biscuits. Martha came top of the class with her tricky sandwich biscuits, which looked deceptively like Jammie Dodgers but actually were goat’s cheese and caramelised onion. Another gold star! Richard put in a strong performance with his rosemary and poppy seed crackers. Paul was impressed with their musical snap and said they weren’t remotely soapy in flavour.


While we’re on the subject of Mr Hollywood, he cracked a terrible joke about not having enough ‘thyme’ when discussing Diana’s Parmesan triangles. Leave it to the professionals in future love.


Iain’s za’atar and fig morsels sounded like something straight out of Ottolenghi’s cake counter, but alas the spiced flavour was unpleasant to the palate.


This week’s technical challenge was to make 18 identical Florentine biscuits. Mary Berry was after thin discs of nuts and candied fruit that were dipped in shiny chocolate and given a zigzag finish. Most of the bakers seemed totally flummoxed by her recipe. Luis was whipping his in and out of the oven, while Norman turned steadily beetroot. All 11 struggled with portioning out their biscuits and making the zigzag design on their undersides. Only Martha had the ingenuity to use a fork to get neat lines. Iain’s were overbaked – damn the high sugar content – leaving him trailing in last place. After a shaky performance in the signature and technical the pressure was on the bearded Irishman to make the showstopper count. Richard came first for the lovely lacy edges on his crisp biscuits and is definitely building a reputation for himself as one to keep an eye on.  


There have only been two episodes, sure, but last night’s showstopper was hands down our favourite. It was building 3D scenes entirely out of biscuit.


The potential for am-dram disaster was at an all-time high. Enwezor got things to off to a bad start by admitting he hadn’t made the fondant he was using to glue his space age scene together. If anything will make Mary sour faced it’s when bakers don’t make EVERYTHING from scratch. Surely Enwezor caught the glue and toothpick debacle of last year’s Dalek?! The fondant was the first nail in the coffin. His gingerbread tower looked more like a penguin with a traffic cone on its head than a rocket. He wasn’t the only one with issues. The walls to Jordan’s bourbon biscuit skyscrapers welded to his baking paper. He resorted to eating bits that didn’t turn out right to get rid of evidence. Clever man.  


Iain’s Wild West scene of cactuses, dinky cowboys with piped waistcoats and their horses featured three different biscuits – oatmeal, pistachio and rose, and chocolate and chilli – and saved his bacon. One strong baker who sank was Norman. He failed push the boat out (pun intended) with his fisherman’s scene of boats being tossed on frothy waves and played it safe with just one flavour.


Luis dragon looked nothing sort of a graphic masterpiece. His dragon (made of chocolate and chilli and orange and cardamom biscuits) had sinuous curves and slotted together as neatly as cardboard pieces. Impressive stuff. Richard’s pirate scene (featuring a dreamy combination of gingerbread and peanut butter painstakingly worked into a twisting sea monster and treasure island) looked as fantastical as it tasted. As Paul broke a mermaid in two and said his biscuits were ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ and called the Peter Pan configuration ‘ingenious’, it was clear Richard had blown the other bakers out of the water and was awarded star baker. It was the fondant that did it for Enwezor, plus the fact his 80 biscuit pieces were undercooked, and he was the second baker to crumble in the competition.


It looks like the move to BBC One hasn’t remotely affect the show’s ratings, with more than 7 million viewers tuning in for last week’s episode. We reckon it’s the naughty/nice pairing of Paul and Mary (though they switched this week as Mary gave Enwezor daggers and Paul came over all twinkly with the thrill of slipping in a pun) and, of course, the indefatigable Mel and Sue, who this week compared Iain to Van Gogh (he didn’t look overly impressed) and Mary to Pussy Galore. We can see the resemblance…


Since the weather looks set to be wet, wet, wet, why not whack on the oven and fill your home with the delicious scent of baking biscuits? Here are a few recipes we think you'll love...


Easy recipes for biscuits, shortbread and cookies
British honeycomb biscuits
Chocolate chip biscuits
Orange tuile biscuits
Sultana and pecan cookies


And don't forget to check out our cheat's guide to this week's recipes.


Image: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

Comment Print

Post your comment

About This Blog

From burning baked beans to making wedding cakes – culinary adventures and foodie encounters. Follow our team of staff writers and add your comments to kick off the debate.
Read more Subscribe to this blog via RSS

About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

Read more
Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

Read more
Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

Read more
Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

Read more
Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

Read more


View by magazine : View by magazine Prima