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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Great British Bake-Off Runs out of Categories But Stays Calm and Carries On

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 10:01 AM

click image My idea of "advanced dough" - FLIKR
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  • My idea of "advanced dough"
There comes a time in a weekly baking contest when one runs out of categories: We've done cookies, cakes, yeasted cakes, pastries, pies, tarts, bread, and the rather large umbrella of "desserts."

"I know what!" says judge Paul Hollywood, who's disembodied voice speaks to me through my gold fillings (will he ever shut up?). "Let's make a category called 'advanced dough!"

"Whut?" says the very posh co-judge, Mary Berry. I'm with her, and so are my fillings, which were hoping for something in the caramel family. 

So this week it was the lazy idea of "advanced dough," which was mostly items you get for Christmas and pawn off on some elderly neighbor. First challenge was the infamous "fruit loaf," which we all know all too well from jokes we've made about doorstops. Martha made the only one I would actually eat, a spiced plum iced bread swirl. Luis, who is a real contender to win with his quiet strength, made a black forest treat, which baking enthusiasts know includes chocolate, cherries, and Ava Braun's famous secret ingredient, a tincture of Hitler's methamphetamine. 

The technical challenge was a Povitica, which is a nut roll, yet another "you shouldn't have!" gift from Auntie Edna. Our contestants appear to be somewhat dazed by now, as we are nearing the end and they are being haunted by menacing Kitchenaid mixers in pastel shades. Nancy seems to be the only one who keeps a totally cool head at all times, even when she screws up. 

The final "showstopper" made all us yanks chuckle, because it was doughnuts, those things you can get at a truck stop. One thing I've learned about Brits is that they are crazy for American doughnuts and waffles, only instead of "leggo  my Eggo" it's, "kind sir, do unhand my repast." At any rate, our heroes really showed what motivates them in life in this challenge: Luis made boozy "mudslide" and "mojito" donuts, something he could seriously market over here. Chetna braided some chocolate mousse inside a lovely parcel of goodness. Richard made toffee apple and rhubarb custard doughnuts, both rather ingenious. Nancy also went the alcohol route with her Lemoncello and almond doughnuts, which is frankly a combo that sounds disgusting.

Then there was my favorite, little sweet Martha, who reminds me of Jane Eyre's best friend at the orphanage... you know, the delicate one that dies from that 19th century grand combo, consumption and purity. Martha made unsuccessful glazed lemon and poppyseed doughnuts (ok, no points for creativity) and chocolate and passion fruit doughnuts (naughty!). Her lip trembled and her nose ran because she knew it was the end of the line: The world is much too harsh for such an unmolested poesy.

Everyone will miss you, Martha. Keep your chin up and your hand out of your mum's Oxycodone. 

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About The Author

Katy St. Clair


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