Richard Burr discusses The Great British Bake Off final

By
Richard Burr
Added
08 October, 2015

Our resident GBBO expert Richard Burr discusses the final episode.



The main difficulties by the final are abject terror and exhaustion!

The dynamic is completely different at this stage – it’s not about avoiding coming last, it’s about winning. It’s tinged with sadness as you walk around a pretty empty tent thinking “no matter what happens I’m not coming back next week”. While the incidental music in the show adds an element of drama for viewers at home, the silence in the tent is far more frightening.


The challenges in this episode were fairly straightforward.

Iced buns shouldn’t present too much trouble for bakers at this level but over-ambition combined with nerves can be a killer blow. Ian and Tamal both found this out, with Ian forgetting the sugar in one of his doughs and Tamal’s crème pat not working. In contrast, Nadiya turned out simple, beautiful, perfect iced buns and nailed it. The technical was fairly straightforward as they'd all made pastry earlier on in the series but the differences in their finishes showed the pressure they were under. For the showstopper, identical cakes should have again been straightforward, so it would have been more of a test in terms of time management, and how many elements they thought they could incorporate within the time.


The right person definitely won.

Not only did Nadiya show some fantastic skills on her signature and technical for the final, but she was by far the most improved person during the series. I remember her being so timid and shy about her baking abilities during the first few weeks, then blossoming to the confident, creative and skilled baker she became towards the end. It was a real pleasure to watch, and I think captured the real spirit of the Bake Off!

 

I really enjoyed the technical this week (much more than my own final week technical!).

I do a very nice mille feuille in my book with anise custard and poached figs. I felt that all the bakers made a good fist of it, and I'll definitely be making my own in my kitchen this week.

 

The showstoppers were interpreted so differently for this final that comparing them must have been very difficult indeed.

The sheer volume of Ian's carrot cakes was very impressive; especially his use of two separate mixes - very hard to get them exactly the same! Nadiya's wedding cake was really very beautiful; I particularly liked her use of her actual wedding jewellery in them. For me though, it was Tamal’s showstopper that was the most impressive. His fusing together of his two favourite cakes to make a sticky toffee fruit cake just sounded magnificent. His decoration was bold and skillful and particularly daring to attempt (and nail) sugar work in a humid tent. If he had been more consistent in his signature the final could have been a very different affair. Congratulations to Nadiya; not only had she been the most exciting baker of the series, but she had the stamina and focus to take it all the way to the end - a worthy and welcome winner!


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