18/09/2013 07:58 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Great British Bake Off: Biscuit Towers And The Trouble With Tuile

Biscuits are dangerous. Fact. British people spend as much annually on biscuits as fruit and the average child scoffs 47 packets of the addictive discs every year. According to The Telegraph, 25 million have been injured during a tea or coffee break with 500 landing themselves in hospital after taking on the crunchy fiends.

While I might be afraid of the Bourbon and being bullied by the thuggish pack of custard creams in my cupboard, there isn't a biscuit big enough to scare this year's brave Bake Off contestants. Thus week they tackled the perils of Tuile, appeased the cruel mistress of tray bakes and produced biscuit towers of Babel.


We've made it to the half-way point and the pack has separated into distinct groups - the front runners: Christine, Ruby and Kimberley and the living-on-the-edgers: Howard, Glenn, Beca and Frances.

It was a battle of the Bakewell in the signature challenge. As the top three ladies went head-to-head, exam-fraught Ruby's uncharacteristically soggy bake was trounced by Kimberley's symmetrical Florentine squares and Christine's crumble topping.

Praise is no longer enough for Kimberley after last week's star baker award. She's embraced the philosophy of Kaizen, which basically means Kimberley is turning into a well-buttered baking machine. All you measurement guesstimaters, haphazard icers and sloppy sifters beware. Kim 3.0 is coming for you.

At the other end of the tent Frances knocked out banana-flavoured Jenga and Howard made a suspiciously healthy sounding cake that turned out to be reassuringly full of butter and sugar and with all the health benefits of a chocolate-coated brazil nut or a kilo of dried mango.

Meanwhile Sue and Mel took us on a historical interlude to explore the history of the Quakers and the Tottenham cake - a cake born from a culture of frugality and simple living that's now associated with a football club rooted in an industry of cash and excess. Luckily for Bake Off, more is more as Glenn's homage to extravagance proved.

The Tuile technical was meant to be a test of who could bend paper thin crisps of piped batter. In reality it became the challenge of who had the highest pain threshold as everyone descended into a concentric fear spiral, holding biscuits like molten lava over spoons. Except Kimberley, who made some last week, naturally.

Ruby, who had taken exams in Wittgenstein and Nietzsche earlier in the week, couldn't fold her way out of a paper bag. Glenn had a five-way with biscuits that just couldn't stop touching each other but it was all singing, all dancing Christine that came top of the Tuiles.

Just when you thought Mary and Paul's favourites might be in danger, Ruby created an ice cream version of the Minaret of Jam for the showstopper. And while it looked like she upended it in a fit of apologetic petulance, it tasted heavenly. Beca saved herself with perfect macaroons and Glenn made a cherry shortbread spiral that looked like a Fisher Price ring stacker.

It was baking disaster elsewhere as Rob tried to get Mary high enough on edible glue to overlook the patently inedible elements of his unappetising biscuit Dalek and Frances' haberdashery tower toppled. Did she cry? Did she storm out? Nope, this year's most unappreciated baker smiled, shrugged and presented it without apology only to receive a telling off for being tower-less. She joined Kimberley and Howard on the naughty bench.

Unsurprisingly it was Christine's clock house that won her a second star baker title and scientist Rob was exterminated, never to produce a bread octopus or a Pythagoras pastry again.

So - it's the ladies who are on top, outnumbering the men two to one as we go into sweet dough next week, with the sugary promise of booze, monster buns, twisted rings and doughy peaches.

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