GBBO semi-final sweet desserts

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Following Martha’s departure from the tent last Wednesday, the remaining four bakers returned for the semi- finals stage, battling to win a coveted place in the Great British Bake Off 2014 final.

On Wednesday, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry asked the culinarians to bake 24 portions of Baklava in three and a half hours.


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Nancy challenged herself with her breakfast flavoured baklavas

Baklova is a rich, sweet pastry made of filo dough, chopped nuts and honey.

"A filo is one of the most difficult pastries," said Paul while Mary pointed out that the bake was "all about top notch pastisserie".

A traditional baklava requires water, flour, vinegar and a little oil. Primarily, they should have a paper-thing pastry with an incredibly stretchy dough.

Unusually, Chetna opted to add cocoa to the traditionally un-flavoured dough for her chocolate and orange bake and a plain dough for her masala chai baklavas.

Other flavours included Luis' Indian rose rolls, Nancy's coffee and chocolate and breakfast baklava and Richard's rose and pistachio and walnut and almond baklavas.

A baklava filling should be dry and surrounded with a wafer thin pastry that must be handled with care.

Tension was high as Richard worried for the colour of his baklavas while Nancy was concerned her honey and chocolate filling was boiling together in the oven.


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Chenta's range of flavours impressed the judges

In judging, Nancy's baklavas were deemed too pale but had a crisp crunch and were original while Luis' rose cup-shapes concerned Paul.

Meanwhile, Richard’s classic baklavas impressed Paul and Mary. "I think that’s a winner," said Mary.

Chetna’s baklavas received mixed reviews by the judges as her bakes appeared heavy with its thick layers but had a good colour.

For their semi-final technical challenge, the bakers were required to make a bake from Paul's recipe- a "little German tricky pastry" with 20 wafer-thin layers in two hours.


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Paul and Mary expected the perfect layered cake

The most surprising element to the bake was the fact that it must be frilled, not baked.

The bakers were required to make a simple batter but thinly layer the alternating-coloured sponge in the tin before grilling.

With such a tricky bake, the contestants were also challenged to make a chocolate glaze that had to be cooled to the perfect temperature in order to set.

With the pressure of the bake intensifying, Chetna forgot to make 20 layers and created an 17-layered bake, while her fellow contestants struggled with their white chocolate glaze.


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The grilled cake needed to have 20 layers

When Paul and Mary came to judge the bakes, Nancy's cake was said to have a good shine but with perfect layers.

Perfectionist Paul Hollywood counted each of the layers in the baker's cakes and noticed that Chetna was missing layers, while he noted that Luis' bake had perfectly even layers and a good flavour and Richard had a perfect webbing design on his German cake.

In the end, Luis won the technical challenge with his cake being called "pretty faultless" by Paul.

For their semi-final show-stopper, the remaining four bakers were asked to create two different types of 12 entremets in five hours.


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The bakers worked furiously against the clock

"Each entremets has to be a work of art," said Mary while Paul pointed out that they were looking for "precision, beauty and elegance."

With the challenge to use a variety of techniques, the contestants pulled out all the stops to impress the judges and make it through to the Bake Off finals.

Luis opted to make a pomegranate and pistachio and cherry and chocolate entremet, while Nancy decided to bake a raspberry nonnettes and a lime and Passion fruit variety.

However, Nancy’s decision to cover her entremets with a white chocolate glaze worried Paul as, traditionally, you should be able to see the layers of the bake.


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Luis' eye for design wowed Paul and Mary

Meanwhile Richard tested his skills by making pink grapefruit and hazelnut mocha entremets while Chetna chose to bake chocolate, orange and hazelnut pastries.

Ultimately, Richard's bake was said to have a great finish with perfect layers
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"It's delicious…its extremely good," praised Mary.

When it came to judging Nancy's entremets, the judges congratulated her for the lovely texture and refreshing flavours while Luis' were called elegant with a perfect glaze.

Despite Chetna's bake having a good blend of flavours, her bakes failed to wow the judges, and ultimately she was sent home from the semi-finals, while Richard was crowned Star Baker for a shockingly fifth time this series.

Tune in next Wednesday at 8pm on BBC One for the GBBO finals.

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