They say never work with children and animals, but after the latest instalment of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, we reckon they should add caramel to that short but succinct list.
In a ‘Bake Off’ first, Tuesday’s episode of the Channel 4 show saw the bakers attempting to make what is supposed to be an oozing, silky soft toffee, but often resulted in something more akin to the contents of a sandpit.
Yup, things got very sticky, very quickly from the first signature challenge and didn’t get any easier as that hot, moist tent played havoc in the showstopper finalé.
Here’s what we learned...
1. Caramel is a bugger to get right.
Or as Julia put it: “The tricky thing about caramel is pretty much everything”.
2. Seriously, just buy ready-made.
If the caramel doesn’t burn it’ll probably crystalise. So you need to watch it like a hawk AND wipe the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush to stop it turning gritty. Just. Too. Much.
3. PeCAAN or PEEcan?
That is the question. Either Sandi can’t pronounce ‘pecan’ (with the emphasis on the ‘A’ rather than the ‘E’) or the rest of us (Prue Leith included, we might add) have been saying it wrong all our lives. Anyone?
4. Less is more (sometimes)
Never let it be said that an ill-advised Tetris-style display of Millionaire’s Shortcake will stand in the way of receiving the famous Hollywood handshake (well done Liam).
5. Prue is mean (sometimes)
Don’t shoot the messenger - even she said it after setting this week’s technical challenge in the hope that none of the bakers had ever made the Dutch treat of stroopwafels before (they hadn’t).
6. Don’t make your own stroopwafels
This was (possibly) the trickiest technical challenge in ‘Bake Off’ history, with not a single baker nailing it. To steal Noel’s line, (Amster)damn they’re tricky. Just like that other time-consuming and ultra tricky ‘Bake Off’ staple (puff pastry), just pick them up at your supermarket of choice. Job done.
7. Caramel week presented the opportunity to drop a whole host of new double entendres
James likes to “dip his nuts” in caramel, and who are we to judge? However, Steven wants to present our very own Queen with his “crown jewels in sugar”, which simply isn’t on. OFF WITH HIS HEAD.
8. Speaking of double entendres...
It’s taken four weeks, but we’ve had our first “erection”. Thank you Stacey.
9. Spinning sugar is a very messy business
But on the plus side, according to Steven at least, it makes for a cheap alternative to a hair transplant. Yep, that hot sweaty tent was definitely getting to the bakers this week.
10. But never mind the cakes and biscuits...
The biggest triumph of episode four was Prue’s Miro-inspired necklace. That woman certainly knows her way round an accessory.
‘Bake Off’ continues every Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4.