And so to the Show-stopper. How exciting! And it was (ta-dah!!) fondant fancies, which people of my generation used to buy as a special Saturday tea-time treat in the seventies and eat in front of Final Score (“Heart of Midlothian/Queen of the South – late kick-off.” Ah, happy days!) Those were supplied by Mr Kipling and were always perfectly lovely, but the contestants seemed to find it lot harder than Mr Kipling to make them. Well, he does make exceedingly good cakes.
At least they didn’t have to make savoury fondants, which might have been a step too far, but only two different kinds. Again, they seemed to make a lot of fuss about this – as I recall, Mr Kipling made three kinds, pink, yellow, and white, which seemed to give the contestants loads of choice, but for some reason they did as contestants on the shows always do and went for complicated flavours like Earl Grey and Lavender (I may have been making that one up). Andrew gave himself the added challenge of making his fondants musical, apparently to illustrate his love of music. First we’d heard of it.
When making fondant fancies there are a lot of things to remember. There’s the fact that you should make the Genoise the day before so it’s easier to cut, which, as Mary Berry pointed out, would be hard for the contestants, who only had a morning to do everything (“Mwah-hah-hah-ha!”). There’s the fact you should sieve your flour, which poor Selasi failed to do, and was subsequently scared by Mary Berry into redoing his sponge. She does a nice line in “I’m not sure that’s a terribly good idea” faces which scare the contestants considerably more than Paul Hollywood’s patented “piercing stare”. There’s the fact that you should coat your fancies in buttercream, to ensure a smooth finish to the fondant, something which Andrew described as “Fun for the first couple and then more and more boring”, a discovery which has led to the abandonment of many a decorating project. Jane, indeed, found it so fiddly that she missed it out completely, coming as close as any contestant has in this series to saying “You know what? Frankly, I can’t be arsed”.
This led to her fancies being marked down – as M Bez pointed, you could could see all the crumb through the fondant. And indeed you could. Commando fondant fancies! That would never do. Candice had displayed her fancies, fnarr fnarr, on a toy piano (and where did that come from?), but it was Andrew’s fondant orchestra which won the day. Maybe Mr Kipling is his grandfather. And we said goodbye to Selasi, with whom it was always a pleasure, never a chore. Always so chilled that you could, to borrow a phrase from Douglas Adams, keep a side of beef in him for a month, he bowed out with grace. He works in the financial sector, and I hope they know how lucky they are.
More – the final! – shortly!