And on to the technical, in which the contestants were required to make a Margarine cake, which is actually, to quote Andrew, “like a posh Vienetta”, made of layers of meringue, praline and buttercream. The whole is then wrapped in almonds and the top should have beautifully piped diagonal ganache stripes filled alternately with almonds and pistachios, for that killer professional effect. The whole thing looked so tooth-meltingly sweet that I could feel my dentist pricing up Ferraris as I watched. Mary, of course, yummed it down and stashed it invisibly where she stashes all the other calories she consumes, possibly in her hair.
Poor Tom! Coming as he does, I like to imagine, from a background where nothing goes to waste and “fine dining” means “on a plate”, he tends to struggle with presentation. I envisage his home life as a comfy chaos of wellingtons and labradors, hens perching on the plate rack above the Aga, supper served on a mixture of 1950’s china inherited from various grandmothers and plates lovingly hand-crafted at Mum’s pottery classes, a big casserole of bean stew in one of those large brown pots that were so en mode in 1975, and a chicken brick on the dresser. Please don’t tell me that he lives in Wimbledon and is training to be a derivatives trader. I’m sticking with my stereotypes, me.
At any rate, deprived of the opportunity to cover everything in chocolate, his Marjolaine (which I’m sure is a made-up thing named after a character in Game of Thrones and not a traditional French cake as Mary and Paul cunningly claimed) fell sadly short of dainty. Andrew, on the other hand, piped like he had been doing it all his life (“My First Piping Set. Age 3 and upwards”) and produced something you would pay quite a lot of money for in a shop if you like that sort of thing. Oh,Tom.The Curse of Star Baker strikes again!