We have to talk about Aurora Browne’s clothes. Her wardrobe is so good; it’s colourful and fun and cool. The only problem is that her outfits are overshadowing everyone else’s, except Bruno Feldeisen, who does look cool in his leather jacket.
Back to chocolate week on The Great Canadian Baking Show. I hope they don’t do something amorphous like make your fantasy out of chocolate. I’m not sure I want the bakers to have to dig deep into their chocolate fantasy worlds.
There is a lot of chatter about how chocolate is temperamental, which it is, but not enough focus on how Bruno Feldeisen is a chocolate master. He is literally one of the best of the best this country has to offer.
The Signature Bake is to make chocolate sandwich cookies, and yet, not one person makes an Oreo, the best sandwich cookie of all time.
Nataliia Shevchenko’s walnut and dulce de leche cookies are perfectly shaped little walnuts and remind her of home. Unfortunately, the judges don’t think they are flavourful enough.
Judge Kyla Kennaley says that she worries about using chili with chocolate, as Jodi spices up her cookies, which is a bit concerning. But in the end, she likes the flavours of Jodi’s churro sandwiches.
Jasmine Linton heads back to the liquor cabinet for her chocolate, port and blackberry cookies. She adds a little green leaf on her spritz cookies. I am increasingly impressed with Jasmine’s mature flavours and her artistic skills, and the judges are as well.
But it’s Chris Koo who wins this round with his chocolate meringues with dacquoise filling on a popsicle stick. Bruno bestows his highest compliment and compares them to a cookie from Paris. Mon Dieu!
Liam Harrap says he has trouble with conformity. We know that about you, Liam, and that’s why we love you. He miscounted his original bake and now has to make a few more cookies, but his second batch don’t look anything like his first.
Colin Asuncion makes pretty chocolate hearts with pomegranate filling that the judges like, but the real story is the bromance of Colin and Liam, who continue to pump each other up during stressful moments.
This is a stressful one! Bruno orders up a chocolate marquise, which is a four-layer terrine of cake, mousse, pistachio croquante and ganache. No one has any idea what he is talking about, but to pull it off, the bakers need to use four different techniques and a lot of freezer time.
They read the directions over, and realize that they have to assemble it and then flip it over, “whoop dee whoop” style, as Liam says.
Colin is filled with dread and fear as he moves through the different phases. You can see that some of the bakers are using rulers and thermometers while others are more freestyle. Freestyle isn’t usually a good idea when it comes to chocolate—or any kind of baking, really.
As the bakers unveil their upside-down, parchment-wrapped creations, you can see that most of the bakers did OK, except Liam, whose mousse is all “sploosy-sploshy” and looks suspiciously like his liquidy crème caramel from last week.
There were some gummy mousses and dry cake, but overall, everyone did fine. Liam’s unset mousse puts him last. Chris is on top of the gingham altar with his perfect mousse and overall excellent effort. Everyone seems honestly happy for Chris, who has been close to the top, but has never quite made it.
For the Showstopper, the bakers must make a box of chocolates with three different fillings and one solid chocolate centrepiece, which will be an indication of their tempering skills.
There is a lot of coconut and tropical flavours being used. Natallia makes a white chocolate suitcase and makes a set of chocolates with mango, lime and thyme and another with mango-passionfruit. She hand-dips some caramels, which are surprisingly messy.
Jodi also heads to the beach for her filling with variations on pina colada. She tempers by touch instead of a thermometer, which may or may not have been the cause of her first set of chocolates not working out. In the end, she is too light on the fillings.
Chris’s “memories of Singapore” theme is the most complex. He makes a lychee caramel, a mango lassi and a play on cendol, where he layers pandan, kidney bean and palm sugar inside the chocolate. His floral centrepiece is a bit of a rushed job, but his challenging flavours tell a story and teach the judges something new, which I think elevate his creation, and have been missing from this season.
Colin also tries some challenging flavours in his spooky chocolate set. The anatomical heart in the middle is surrounded by chocolate skulls and roses. The judges like the spicy hazelnut and the black sesame caramel, but the red wine cream roses do not win him any fans.
It looks like Liam is making a mess instead of chocolates, but his falling leaves turn out to look and taste good. He adds homemade marzipan to each of his creations, which may have been a little too much. The judges found his black licorice filling slightly strong, but as a fan of licorice, I volunteer to eat those ones. (I’m a bit strange, I prefer black licorice to dark chocolate. In fact, this challenge does not interest me at all.)
Jasmine’s bee theme is adorable. Her honey caramels and hibiscus cream-filled chocolates are good, but her honeybees filled with popping candy are a smart and whimsical play on the theme.
The judges discuss the day and it’s obvious that Jasmine and Chris are at the top, and Liam is at the bottom, along with our former superstar Nataliia.
I swear I could hear Aurora’s voice break when she announces who has to go home. No one wants Liam to go home, but at this point in the show, he just can’t keep up the pace on the technical challenges. Sorry Liam, we will miss your sweet humour and linguistic talents.
Chris gets a round of applause for being star baker. He says that the difference for him this week was that he remembered to bake just for the love of baking. Is he coming into his own now?
We will see next Wednesday on “international week”.
It’s really anyone’s game at this point, as any of the remaining bakers could rise to the top. Colin and Jasmine are here to play.
There were a couple of mentions during the show of the bakers being at home for a week. The show does take a one-week break in the middle of filming. The bakers can return home with a list of some of the upcoming Signature Bakes and Showstoppers to practice. Past bakers have told me that they rarely have enough time to practice all of the challenges at home, and have to make hard decisions on how to use their time in their home kitchens.
I hate the term “international week”. I get what they are going for, but it seems patronizing. I will probably bring this up again next week.