'Bake Off' week 8: Heatwave and heartbreak for fans as show favourite leaves

Katie Archer
Contributor

With a place in the semi-final of The Great British Bake Off to play for, the temperature was always going to be rising in the tent in this episode – and that was without the added pressure of a heatwave to deal with, and then the departure of another fan favourite really sent things into meltdown.

We were back to more conventional themes this time with pastry week – which nonetheless seemed to strike fear into the hearts of many of the bakers.

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And what really, really didn’t help was that it just happened to take place in the UK’s heatwave of 2019 – the worst possible conditions for chilled pastry.

There were pies galore, a meltdown over a Technical disaster, plenty of moody glaring from Paul Hollywood, and of course Henry didn’t let us down with his commitment to wearing a shirt and tie.

Who cares if there’s a heatwave when you’re appearing on TV and are intent on looking smart at all times?

If you haven’t seen the episode yet, be prepared for devastation at the final result, which had viewers weeping all over again.

Fans at the ready: This was the quarter-final of The Great British Bake Off...

The Signature Bake

If there’s one thing that could threaten to scupper even the best-practised pastry week, it’s a heatwave – and that’s exactly what the bakers got.

Luckily things weren’t quite as dramatic as last year’s scorcher, which saw Rahul’s glass jar shatter in the blazing sun during the final, but a hot, sticky tent is certainly not a good environment for a puff pastry, which likes to stay cool.

The bakers had to produce a crisp, delicious savoury tarte tatin first, and we were left wondering how on earth Alice has got to the quarter-finals of Bake Off without ever having eaten a tarte tatin.

As soon as she came out with the show’s kiss of death - saying at the start of the challenge that she absolutely couldn’t make something with a soggy bottom and absolutely didn’t want to be turning hers out of the tin in the final minute - we instantly knew she’d doomed herself to both.

Soaring temperatures meant that Alice had to hold a desk fan up to her face, while David wrapped a wet tea towel around his head, but as far as Henry was concerned it was no excuse to let standards drop, and he refused to remove his tie.

There was a horrifying moment at Rosie’s bench when a spider ran across it towards the plate where Paul Hollywood was serving up a slice of tarte tatin, and somehow no one seemed to notice it. Could it be the spirit of Helena, back in the tent?

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Steph smashed it with her flavours of goat’s cheese and shallots, while Henry had the best round with his crab salad tatin, which Prue Leith loved so much she took a slice for her lunch.

Who won the Technical Challenge?

Evil judge Paul decided that heatwave week was the best time to task the bakers with making a Moroccan pie using incredibly thin, delicate sheets of pastry.

In tribute to Michael, who left last week, this time it was Steph’s turn to burst into tears during the Technical, and our hearts broke for her as Noel Fielding hugged her and she admitted: “This is one of my biggest fears, not being able to present something.”

But if anyone can master a tricky Technical, it’s Star Baker Steph, and although she didn’t get a great result she did manage to pull herself together and make a pie.

However, she was absolutely not amused by lime ball, the greatest game in the tent since Henry dropkicked that ball of dough the other week.

The challenge also saw a cameo from comedian Adam Hills, who stood in for Sandi Toksvig during a time call.

Finally, success for David!

He no longer repels first place as he was crowned the Technical winner for the first time ever, and we were all punching the air along with him.

And despite Rosie’s pie completely falling apart, it still tasted so great that she bagged second place.

The Showstoppers

Pies!

This was our sort of challenge – a tower of vertical pies, all stuffed full of delicious fillings.

At least, Henry reckoned his would be delicious, and when Paul dared to question him, he had the best comeback ever.

We’ve never seen Paul look quite so hostile as he did when Henry asked whether he liked meaty pies. It would have been enough to send most bakers running screaming from the tent.

As usual, David created the most amazing edible structure imaginable, but like the pies of Rosie, Alice and Henry, his suffered from being too dry.

Pretty much everyone fell apart under the pressure and the heat in this challenge, with sadly few of the pies managing the status of “delicious”.

In fact, pie-hater Steph produced the only perfect pie of the challenge, a lovely oozy curried carousel design that safely put her through to the semi-final.

Who won Star Baker?

She’s gone and done it again!

Now four-time Star Baker Steph can say she’s won 50% of the weeks this series.

It was hugely well deserved, especially after that mouthwatering pie in the Showstopper round.

Who was sent home?

We’d all feared that this was finally the week Henry’s luck ran out, as did the tie fan himself by the end of the second task.

Sadly, Henry was absolutely right, and this week his time was up after a very disappointing vertical pie on all levels.

He shared the sweet story that he’d first met Paul outside of the Bake Off tent and shook his hand when he was just 12 (so, what, two years ago?), and now he can say he’s won his very own Hollywood Handshake as a contestant. Shut up!

Fans were of course devastated at the news, as over the weeks the baby-faced baker had become a firm favourite thanks to his smart outfits and hilarious one-liners.

We, too, are gutted to see him go – who can compete with his Paul-baiting for the final two weeks?

The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.