GBBO's Caramel Week Is The Stickiest Of Wickets

A candy bar twist, Crystelle collapse, and cactus surprise

Welcome to Caramel Week on The Great British Bake Off Baking Show, and a trepidatious welcome to the newest member of the GBBO family, Danny Oven Glover. I'd love to welcome Mr. Oven Glover into the tent with sort of enthusiasm warranted for a strapping young lad such as he, but staring into those soulful, ebony googly eyes, I can't help but wonder why we're over halfway through the season and have yet to see Mr. Spoon. I'm starting to worry that in the off-season he "went to live on a farm somewhere," and this glove is being shoehorned in to keep people from asking too many questions. Of course now all I have is questions, so by the final in three weeks, I better have either proof-of-life or #justiceformrspoon.


Signature Bake: Fancy-Ass Caramel Tarts

The most important thing we have to discuss this week is Chigs. In. Glasses.

A smart pair of glasses make any man look at least 10 times sexier, which is why by time the technical rolled around, both of my ovaries had exploded. Where was this look on squirtin' holes week?


Despite the fact that my body is currently flooded with ravenous desire, I shall do my best to turn my attention to the tarts, which is what's important here. Caramel, as you likely know, is a bit of a faff when it's hot outside. This is why the producers of The Great British Baking Show film this programme outdoors in the dead of summer, inside a PVC tent filled with ovens, sweltering stage lights, and tons of heat-emitting electrical equipment. Plus, all the sweating helps keep Paul's jeans tightly adhered to his taut, chiseled buttocks.

As we near the final all our bakers are trying to step up their game, but though they came into Caramel Week with big dreams, the heat did all it could to deflate them. Take a look at this slideshow of the baker's sketches compared to the tarts they actually turned out:


Technical Challenge: Fancy-Ass Twix

Twix are quite possibly my favorite candy bar, and according to Paul Hollywood, they are utterly incredible when dipped in tea. Being the upstanding journalist that I am and wanting to fact check this red hot revelation, I tried to steal a Twix out of my kids' "secret" Halloween candy stash, but those little bastards ate them all! So since I don't know what Twix in tea tastes like, I can't do my job properly and society is suffering for it, which is why neither of them will be getting Christmas presents this year.


Showstopper Challenge: Some Sort of Caramel Dessert with a Delicate Sugar Dome Because That’s a Totally Normal Thing for Someone to Know How to Make

The day before Crystelle's grandfather died, he bought her a tiny little cactus; now that cactus is all grown up and Crystelle's best friend. Remember earlier in the season when I said how I couldn't find anything to write about Crystelle because she didn't have "a thing"? Well, she's got a thing now.


Last week's Star Baker was the source of all the drama in this week's showstopper circus, which is surprising because she comes off as the type of person who would make sugar domes in her spare time. Her showstopper is ambitious: a coffee peanut ganache on a peanut biscuit base, topped with caramel mousse and caramel sauce, enrobed in a rich chocolate mirror glaze, accented with shards of peanut brittle and middle class miso caramel, topped with an array of buttercream cacti, all underneath an isomalt terrarium dome. Let's take a look at this gorgeousness:

Crystelle unmolds her isomalt dome at the 15-minute mark, and it breaks. She makes another one, and it breaks. Third one? Fucked. With 10 minutes left, she decides to try a completely different method of dome building she's never done before, and anyone with a heart is fully aware that at this point, Crystelle is dying inside. And who comes swooping in to make sure she's okay?


Oh hey look it's Chigs! Again! There's three minutes left, and he knows to get out of the way, because Lizzie knows her way around a balloon, and sometimes it's best to leave the work to the pros. Know what kind of people know a lot about domes? Engineers. Know what Giuseppe's doing?

Oh hey he's doing absolutely nothing! Again! No shouting words of support or sage nuggets of engineering wisdom; no, he's hiding in the back and trying to avoid any sort of eye contact. Where is Jürgen during all of this? No idea. I'm not going to be upset about it, though, because I don't want to look too much into anything Jürgen might be doing off camera.

With seconds to spare, Crystelle at last succeeds in making a dome, and immediately thrusts herself into Lizzie's arms instead of putting the dome on her cake, which was exactly the right move. If there's been anything disappointing about this season so far, it's that Lizzie has not been in every single scene, and I applaud any and all attempts to rope her into the action.

Crystelle pulls off the comeback of the season, completing her showstopper with just seconds to spare, then smiling and nodding as Paul Hollywood told her about all the ways it sucked. Lizzie also faltered, scaring the shit out of me because I can no longer imagine life in the tent without her. Chigs and Giuseppe did good enough to survive another week, and Jürgen returned to top form to nab his third Star Baker. And, right on schedule, the final of our midfield bakers departs right before the quarterfinal. George, it was nice to know you, even if you never let me get to know your dancing dog. Still pissed about that.