Oh dear! I am now more or less a fortnight behind. I need to get a wiggle on, or I shall be writing the last posts in my Corbyn commentary after Christmas and finishing the feminism epic in 2018. So much to write about! But meanwhile, back in the tent, the Curse of Dessert Week struck again, as the bakers were tasked with making 24 mini-mousses as the spring sunshine blazed down outside. Every dessert week takes place in unseasonably high temperatures – remember the baked alaskas of Bingate? How do they do it?
I used to think that Paul and Mary bribed the BBC weather people with baked goods, but in the light of recent events I can only conclude that Love Productions are in league with the devil. Cue spooky music. And with the heat rising, both actually and metaphorically, whose mousse would set to the desired moussey consistency? (My spell-check keeps trying to change “mousse” to “mouse”, and whilst my cats would doubtless prefer a mousey consistency, I suspect it wouldn’t go down that well with Paul and Mary, who wanted a light silky texture and tiny bubbles which burst in the mouth, rather than a furry coating and tiny bones which burst in the mouth. I’m guessing here; I’ve never actually eaten a mouse, and neither, to be fair, have my cats, although they have seriously chewed a couple.)
But on to the mini-meese! Jane was going all out and making six separate mousses. Six!!! She also created an amazing pastry wrapper for her meese by stencilling white fleur de lys onto a baking sheet, chilling them and then putting a chocolate sponge on top. Mary was visibly impressed by this, and you have to go some to impress Mary. Clarice was being Clarice and making a difficult task more difficult by fancying it up with hidden sponge and champagne jelly. She was so busy she forgot to pout, despite the corpse bride lipstick (thanks, Rhik Samadder). Everyone was challenged by the heat and worried about whether their mousses would set, except for Andrew, who was cool as a cucumber and looking more than ever like the lovechild of Basil Brush and Tintin.
And what of Tom, dear challenged Tom, The Puppy Who Can Bake? Tom was in all kinds of trouble, since in his world dessert is known as pudding and consists either of bread and butter pudding or crumble made from hedgerow blackberries and apples from the orchard, thrown together at the last minute and banged in the oven in a Pyrex dish which Granny and Grandpa got as a wedding present*. I do, though, suspect his family of being creme fraiche aficionados. I can never understand creme fraiche. You have your custard, your cream (pouring or clotted) and, if you want to be modern, your ice-cream. Who needs anything else? Bloody foreign sour cream, coming over here, putting our English accompaniments out of a job! When was the last time you saw a proper jug of British custard, egg-yolk yellow and topped with a skin thick enough to bounce on? Never, that’s when! Ah, yes. Brexit may be a tragic disaster in almost every other way, but at least when the pound has imploded, Marmite has become the only usable currency and the desperate middle classes are fighting in Tesco over the last jar of pesto, we’ll still have Birds Custard! Swelling music, waving Union Jack, chorus of “There’ll always be an England”, etc.
But I digress. Dear Tom’s losing streak continued to his mousses, as he unaccountably decided to pipe them in order to create what he called “A hipster’s picnic”. Unfortunately they looked rather unappetisingly like prawn sandwiches, which is great from an ironic point of view and, as Paul Hollywood pointed out, would have been perfect if the task had been to create a picnic themed dessert, but was a bit cr*p as fulfilment of a dainty mini-mousse brief. And the mousse was tough. As Tom himself admitted, he had to go. Andrew duly became star baker, and well deserved, since he has, as Mary pointed out, “a lovely finish.” Fnarr, fnarr!
More, the Tudor quarter-final, tomorrow!
*In my fantasy of Tom’s life, anyway 😊