It is the semi-finals and it is all about French Patisserie. I have not made much French pastry in my baking life but I have at least made a croquembouche.
The front runner to win it all I think if Vandana as she hasn’t has a real major misstep. So Vandana really has to mess up not to make it to the finals. Let’s see how Vandana and the rest of the semi-finalists fared.
The Bake: 12 different 3-layered flavoured mille-feuille
The Time: 2 hours
What I would Make: I think I would not even attempt to make a mille-feuille. It seems too challenging for my skill level. I agree with James in that I would buy puff pastry. I find it intimidating to make puff pastry.
Strawberry Basil cream and blackberry balsamic custard. This sounds disgusting. And the presentation was messy. Also, James didn’t even get 12 on the plate. Rochelle noted the pastry was not flaky at all. Luckily Rochelle thought the blackberry one tasted great.
Raspberry white chocolate and nectaring cardamon-caramel mille-feuille. The dough on one of Linda’s mille-feuille was under baked. Bruno liked the flavour of the raspberry one. Rochelle noted the lack of cardamon on the other one.
Strawberry-pistachio and Mango-coconut mille-feuille. The mango one sounds delicious. They do look pretty. Bruno calls it ambitious for having 4 flavours. Bruno had a hard time cutting through the dough because it was underbaked. Rochelle and Bruno liked the cream of the strawberry one. The mango one was better received.
Rooh Afza and Raspberries and cream mille-feuille. Bruno liked Vandana’s piping work. And a theme of the bakers is the dough was under-baked. Rochelle called the Rooh Afza mille-feuille elegant and called the raspberry one perfection.
The Bake: Opera cake
The Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
How I would do: I would probably fail miserably at this. I think I just don’t have finesse in my baking. Even some of the bakers cursive writing was off.
Here is how our semi-finalist in their penultimate technical bake:
4. Vandana – her first misstep
The Bake: The croquembouche specifically a Christmas croquembouche with spun sugar.
The Time: 4 hours.
What I would bake: A no brainer for me: a Candy Cane Croquembouche with peppermint cream with crushed candy canes on top and dusted with icing sugar. What you see on the left, is the Candy Cane Croquembouche that I made a few Christmases ago. My only issue was building up into a tower that a croquembouche should look like.
Everyone’s croquembouche looks and sounds amazing and delicious especially Vandana’s as I love mint chocolate.
Coconut custard chocolate and raspberry croquembouche with nougatine stars. Once again, James failed in his presentation and time management as his croquembouche was incomplete. Bruno and Rochelle liked the flavour of the croquembouche but the presentation was inelegant.
Mascarpone and coffee with white chocolate decorations. Rochelle thinks it is sophisticated and classy looking. Bruno noted it was well cooked and filled. Rochelle says Linda nailed it on every point.
Mint chocolate and orange croquembouche topped with a starfruit and sprinkled with silver leaf. Bruno thinks the tower is too narrow at the base but looked inviting. Rochelle thinks the pastry was under-baked. Other than that, the flavours were great.
Vanilla Mousseline croquembouche with white chocolate snowflakes. Bruno is impressed with the chocolate decorations. Rochelle noted the tower was leaning. Bruno noted the middle of the pastry was not baked.
Star Baker: Linda
Going Home: James
I had a feeling it was James. James was just a disorganized mess that I am surprised he made that far.
It is the finale next week and I think this who I think the order of finish will be: