It’s time for a sugar rush as Great British Bake Off reaches the semi-final stage

Four bakers face tonight’s patisserie week challenges

Tonight's the night – it's semi-final time for the four remaining Great British Bake Off contestants and it's patisserie week, so expect lots of drama.

First they'll have to wrestle with paper-thin filo for baklava – not one but two types of which they will have to present to judge Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

The technical challenge tonight – the second last in this series – is schichttorte, a multi-layered rainbow cake type confection from Germany. There are 20 different coloured sponge layers in this cake, and they’re cooked under a grill; what could possibly go wrong.

Finalists Nancy Birtwhistle, Richard Burr, Luis Troyano and Chetna Makan will then give their creativity full rein when they turn their hands – and their imaginations – to entremets in the showstopper challenge. Entremets, the literal meaning of which is "between courses" in French, also describes a multi-layer mousse cake with contrasting and complimentary flavours and textural contrasts. This being Bake Off, they'll have to produce not one but two variations on this theme.


If tonight's action inspires you to put on your pinny and get baking, here are three lovely cake recipes from Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect, her latest book, published by Dorling Kindersley (€30), which is a step-by-step manual with more than 100 sweet and savoury recipes and lots of tips and helpful photographs showing the dishes at various stages of the preparation process.


M&S has jumped on the GBBO bandwagon, showing amazing prescience by releasing for sale its version of the complicated Kouign Amann, which was the pastry technical challenge on the show just a fortnight ago.

But, as M&S Bakery Product Developer Jenny Bateson explains, the buttery French pastry has been in development for the store for some time.

"We first saw the Kouign Amann at a specialist bakery in New York. It's taken over a year to perfect our recipe and technique. When we saw it on Bake Off we knew it would be a real hit with our customers and made sure we had it on our shelves within the week."

Packs of two Kouign Amann are in M&S now, €3.69.