The Great Australian Bake-Off Season One – The Semi-Final

Only four contestants are left but only three of them can bake their way into the final! Who will they be?

This week is pastry week. I personally thought most weeks were pastry week- obviously not!

For their signature bake- they want a gluten-free fruit tart! It must serve eight people and must be delicious. Lucky they have 2 and a bit hours!

Monique is doing a fig and goats cheese tart. Kerry thinks she’s taken the safe route throughout the competition- but she’s stepping up this week. Her face was priceless. Nancy is doing a walnut crust and gorgonzola filling with poached pears. Jonathan is doing a strawberry cream brulee tart. He uses a good technique of wetting the pastry and slightly cooking it to make it fit the mould.

Maria is doing a raspberry tart. They are all doing quite well so far. An hour remains. When the contestants begin plating up, Nancy’s fragile pastry begins to break down.

To the tasting and Jonathan’s colour is good and the flavours are delicious. Dan notices some of his filling has split. Nancy’s tart is also praised highly. Maria’s Linzer tart is next. Again, great presentation and magnificent flavour.

Monique’s is last and it looks a little raw. Luckily the textures and flavours are there. Unfortunately, the pastry was not cooked.

Now time for the technical challenge! They have to bake six croissants in FOUR hours! Unfortunately, without pictures, this is looking like the hardest bake yet!

Contestants at least have no problem making their jams. The first three hours fly by- only an hour remains!!

Monique stuffs her croissants up by placing them at the bottom of her oven and causing them to bake too fast. She thinks she’s gone.

It’s now time for the judging. Maria’s croissants have a marvellous shape, butteriness and flavour. The fact Nancy has done two jams is looked upon favourably. The croissants were buttery and rich. Monique’s ‘sad yet recognizable’ croissants need help and the jam lacks strawberry. Jonathan’s croissants are a bit volume-less as well. It lacks salt.

The ranks from worst to best are Monique, Jonathan, Nancy and Maria.

It’s now onto the show stopper.

Today, they have to make a strudel! They have to make one large strudel with their choice of fruit or savoury ingredients. They have 2 and a half hours.

Nancy is doing pear and chocolate strudels and twisting them together to make a wreath strudel. Monique is doing a simple apple strudel. Maria is going for a spiced fig and apple strudel while Jonathan is going for an apple, pear and walnut strudel.

Watching this strudel making is quite fascinating.

It’s a relatively pain free bake despite the difficulty. The contestants seem more worried about how they’re going to present it than anything else.

Jonathan’s strudel is first for tasting. It’s crisp but the apple is a bit off colour. Luckily the flavour is there but wasn’t exceptionally vibrant.

Monique’s is next and while it is nice and crisp with nice flavours- it may be a little overcooked. It’s not the best.

Maria’s has a lot of uncooked pastry. Maybe these contestants should have worried more about the strudel.

Nancy’s is last. It’s quite a good attempt.

Now it’s time for the results. The star baker this week is… Maria!

The contestant going home is… Monique!

So, with that, Nancy, Jonathan and Maria are the GABO finalists!!

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