The week’s episode of the Great Kiwi Bake Off was a right old sausage-fest, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Tara Ward power ranks the grand finale.
This is how we roll on the Great Kiwi Bake Off: sausage-fests and tight buns aplenty. After ten glorious weeks, 12 amateur bakers, a shedload of soggy bottoms and one collapsing birdhouse of love, we’ve finally arrived at the GKBO final.
The end is nigh. Which amateur baker will leave wearing a crown of pastry swans? Who will end up sobbing into their dry nuts, and who will eat their way through an entire tray of sausage rolls meant for her daughter’s birthday party the next day? Okay, that last one is me. I’m eating my feelings because I can’t cope with the fact our blessed GKBO journey has come to an end. Why, Fleischlschneider, why?
Our final four bakers gathered in the kitchen for the last time, ready to rip out their hopes and dreams, dust them in icing sugar and present them on a platter to the judges. The final was everything they’ve worked so hard for: a two-day picnic-themed spectacle of three bakes, 24 identical sausage rolls, 12 perfect Chelsea buns, and one illusion cake. A cake that doesn’t look like a cake, as I live and breathe? Oh science, never change.
The tension was palpable. “It’s so exciting!” judge Sue said, as she rocked the finale in a fur coat fit for a quintessential Kiwi picnic. Madeleine Sami and Hayley Sproull did the Lord’s work in keeping everything light, while Dean jammed his pinky into the Chelsea bun void and muttered something about “dough development”. Annabel stayed cool under pressure, Stacey nearly disappeared in a cloud of oven fog, and who had thyme for Jeff’s dad jokes?
Pick me, I’ve got all the thyme in the world.
This is it. We’ve reached the end of the sausage roll road, we’ve swallowed the last piece of GKBO’s spongy nubbin of happiness. There are no more moves left on the puff pastry checkerboard of life, so shroud me in a blanket of stretchy dough and lock me away in a shortbread coffin. I’ll eat my way out when I’m ready, but in the meantime, let’s roll into the GKBO power rankings for the final time.
Hannah epitomised the generosity and kindness that radiates out of GKBO, after she alerted her fellow bakers to a snag in Dean’s technical bake recipe. That Dean, such a trickster!
Alas, Hannah’s dreams of victory were thwarted by breadcrumbs and burnt buns. Nobody likes burnt buns, especially ones you have to eat, but Hannah refused to lie down on a bed of charred pastry. Giving it her final shot, she whipped up a spectacular picnic basket illusion cake and an apple filled with mousse. It was incredible, it was a-moussing, it was bloody great work.
There are many reasons to love Stacey, but the main one is that she reckons tomato sauce is a vegetable (fact). Stacey whipped up some ‘Southland Man’ sausage rolls made only of meat, cheese and tomato sauce, and as someone raised entirely on Southland pastries, I can confirm they made me the woman I am today. Who wants vegetables in their sausage rolls? No one, Stacey, that’s who.
Stacey’s buns were “nice and tight”, her pastry so flaky Sue wanted to run her thumb through it, and her illusion cake was astonishing. I mean, just LOOK at it. That mustard is flying higher than a cock on a pie, who thought we’d ever see that blessed day?
“Let’s get this party hot,” sang blue-eyed Jeff. Turn that oven right up to grill and open the door, because Jeff was in the final for a good time. He won the technical bake and free styled his Showstopper while he waited for wife Alyssa to bring supplies from New Plymouth. “He runs the risk of being mediocre,” Sue worried, but when has an orange that tastes like an apple been mediocre? Almost never, Fleischlschneider.
In other news, Jeff also made a loaf that looked like a loaf, which took the illusion cake situation to a whole other level. If an illusion cake is not an illusion cake, is the illusion that there is no illusion? Makes you think.
Best of all? We finally got the answer to the question that’s been plaguing us for the past 10 weeks:
Queen of tarts, queen of hearts, supreme winner of the first season of the Great Kiwi Bake Off. Annabel set the bar high in the first week, nearly fell at the final hurdle, but rose again like a well-proofed loaf to claim sweet, sweet victory.
“I feel like I’m dreaming,” a shocked Annabel said. It’s no dream, because Annabel was in control from start to finish. Her pastry was light, her illusion cake was a fish and chip extravaganza, and her sausage rolls kicked every other sausage roll’s arse. Let’s chuck some broccoli in our coffee and raise a toast to the finest amateur baker in the country, thy name is Annabel.