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Great British Bake Off 2020: our LIVE thoughts on the semi final

The Great British Bake Off semi final is always a rollercoaster of doughy emotions, so we wanted to ride it with you. We will be reporting as the episode airs – fingers crossed for plenty of lovely layers and no soggy bottoms

Hi! Lindsey here,  Associate Editor at Real Homes and Great British Bake Off superfan. Like many, I dream of being on GBBO, but fear means that will never happen, so I spend every episode live texting my cousin a running commentary instead. This week you get to share in that commentary as we are gripped by the semi final, so follow our live coverage (of the prerecorded episode) which will be taking place right here. 

As well as my internal monologue about half-baked mishaps and Prue Leith's extravagant necklaces, I will be sharing the funniest Tweets about the show too. 

Join us to share in the highs and lows, the handshakes and the soggy bottoms. You have plenty of time to get the kettle on, find some good biccies – hell, you could whip up a batch of muffins if you are quick – and get comfy on the sofa.

Refresh

Essential kitchen buys for Bake Off fans – everything you need for a GBBO experience at home (minus Noel, Matt, Prue and Paul)

KitchenAid Black Friday deals – get your hands on the Holy Grail of kitchen appliances, for less

The dream kitchen according to Bake Off finalists – we asked previous contestants what they look for in the perfect kitchen

While we are waiting for the Great British Bake Off to start, let's have a recap of who we have left....

Hermine:
In my opinion, the most consistent baker of the competition. She has delivered on style and taste throughout, though may have played it safe which means her talents are quietly bubbling rather than boiling over. She has been Star Baker twice which is more than the other semi-finalists.

Dave:
A bit more of a risk taker, Dave has had a more tumultuous time in the tent with some big wins and a few noticeable fails – including his technical challenge last week. He has been Star Baker once and his decoration has been strong throughout, which rises in importance as the competition goes on.

Laura:
After some very strong weeks at the start, Laura has seemed less confident in recent weeks with a few near misses (and a couple of collapsing cakes...). However, she has a deserved place in the semi-finals and got Star Baker in pastry week which could bode well for tonight.

Peter:
The youngster of the group, 20 year old Peter's competitors might have 10 years on him, but he proved his experience by getting Star Baker in the first week. He has remained strong throughout, despite having a bit of a wobble last week where he was close to elimination. Flavours have been a strong point for him so we hope to see something special this week.

This week is patisserie week by the way. For the uninitiated that is French for 'fancy cake'... It's not, it is 'pastry' but covers other sweets and the more elaborate cakes. Think your macarons, your petit fours, your mille-feuille etc etc.

That means we can expect top-notch icing, perhaps some fancy sugar work and undoubtedly someone having a breakdown making creme patissiere....

You have 15 minutes to get the kettle on and pick your baked good of choice. I have gone decaf coffee (don't want to get overexcited do i?) and those biscuits that are more chocolate than they are biscuit. 

While your brew is steeping, let's get some predictions in. I am thinking Peter will come back fighting after his little scare last week. It could go one of two ways for Laura – fingers crossed she keeps her cool. I think Hermine is safe (I hope so, she has been my quiet favourite). Dave? Lovely Dave – just don't mess it up on the technical. I am thinking Dave and Laura bottom two though.

Ooooo five minutes to go. My biscuits are gone already by the way. Aiming to get to at least the first ad break before going for a top up. 

Talking of biscuits, that was a bit of a weak one this series. The Showstoppers looked amazing but the best biscuits are never the pretty ones are they? They are the chewy cookies, the buttery shortbread and those basic ones you made and squidged with the back of a fork as a kid. That said, I do love good gingerbread. But is it a biscuit? It says bread in the name. Discuss.

It has started! Strong shirt game from Noel Fielding this week. Could this set the tone for the levels of design we can expect this week.

The teaser is showing that this was a week where everyone got far too hot and everything melted. That is pretty much standard for Bake Off now...

Laura has a funky shirt on too. And Dave. And Peter! The conspiracy theorist in me would say this is a sign of sort. Hermine is the odd one out! What does it mean?

Savarin for the Signature Bake. That's like a posh donut ay it? 

Hermine is going rum and apricot glaze with Chantilly cream. Laura is also doing a rum baba with fruity kiwi, passion fruit and pineapple. That sounds pretty tasty but, liking the simplicity of Hermine's.

Dave is going a bit out there with the flavours with honey, mango and tequila in his. They are all liking booze, but clearly Dave is the person you want at your party.

Peter's savarin is non-alcoholic and square instead of round. You do you Peter. The elderflower and strawberry flavour sounds pretty nice but we all know the judges love a bit of tipple in their bakes.

The heat is making this a tricky one already. They will all have sweaty savarins in a minute. Oo er.

Hermine has got the chocolate out. She is going to regret that. Hot day baking should not include cream, chocolate or ice cream and this week is going to include at least two of those. The producers are a bit cruel.

No Hermine! They looked fine! Hermine has decided to start again as she wasn't happy with hers. The rest have got to soaking theirs in booze/syrup. And they are already piping. Ahhh looks like my funky shirt theory was right. Pray for Hermine!

Nearly tasting time. I wonder who has made their Prue-approved levels of booziness. 

Prue's diet of cake and booze has done her no harm. Still reeling about her age reveal last week. If I look that good at 80 I would be smashing the booze too. 

This tweet did make me laugh though.

Tasting time. Hermine's look great and Paul is loving the flavour. Though Prue and Paul agree her savarin dough was a bit off.

Time for Laura's. Can we agree pipettes do not look appealing in food though? I don't care if is a practical way to serve extra syrup on your rum baba – it reminds me of labs and we were expressly told not to eat in labs at school at risk of death (or something similarly terrifying to stop us). Prue and Paul weren't put off though.

Daves look a bit special but that glass is not conducive to ramming the lot in your gob. More appreciation from the judges, even if they did think the curd should have been in, not under the savarin.

Peter has nailed it! He just got a Paul handshake. They did look pretty and he didn't have to bribe the judges with booze either.

So Hermine is lagging behind for now. The rest had a good round with Peter inching ahead.

Time for the technical. This week they are making a Danish cornucopia. That sounds suitably difficult. The bit at the start of The Hunger Games where they had to grab their weapons and provisions was called the Cornucopia. Fingers crossed this doesn't turn into a battle to the death!

Also, more chocolate work. There will be tears. I am calling it.

Moment of appreciation for Prue's necklace. It isn't as good as the one that made her look like a human game of Kerplunk from the series before last, but she wears what looks like a child's craft project with so much flair.

We have tears! Laura is crying. I called it. (Please stop crying though Laura).

Peter is first in the oven with his cornucopia pieces. Looking neat of course. Dave seems cool but Hermine is rumbled and Noel's offering of getting in a trench coat with her on his shoulders, and his 'horn of plenty' (that is the nickname for the cornucopia) sticking out hasn't helped. 

We have biscuits out of the oven now. Laura has accepted defeat by the looks of it. Admittedly her biscuits are channelling her lack of confidence too – they are particularly anaemic...

Construction time! This seems pointlessly fiddly – all that time building and I would smash that in two minutes. Maybe this is why patisserie is lost on me...

Hahahahaha I take it back. I am so glad the cornucopia are that daft shape. Dave's looked pleased to see Paul and Prue. 

Peter and Laura's are a bit sad but Hermine's is rocking it at the end of the row. She is back in the game, even is they are a little overbaked...

So end of the technical. Fourth place is Laura, third is Dave, Hermine in second place and Peter in first. My prediction for Star Baker could be right. On to the Showstopper!

What she said....

We are back in the tent. The Showstopper is making a cube cake, whatever that is.

Construction is a strong point for Hermine and Peter so this could be what saves Hermine from the bottom two.

Peter is going chocolate, raspberry and pistachio and a mirror glaze. They sound pretty tasty, though the presentation in the illustration does not look that exciting.

Hermine is going offroad. She has changed her recipe! I said she played it safe – not today. She is doing coffee and praline and chocolate cherry so flavour-wise a winner. Fingers crossed for her. They have lots of kirsch in though so 

Dave is going for chocolate (milk, dark and white) which as we said before, doesn't go down well on hot days. They look at bit like Mister Kipling French Fancies in the illustration – wish I had a box of those now!

Laura's go. Blackforest gateaux inspired so a similar flavour to half of Hermine's. She is doing mirror glaze too and Paul says it is one of his favourite cakes. So, while she is keeping it fairly simple, done well she could take the lead.

Isn't this meant to be the next day? They are all wearing the same clothes? Do they make them do that?

Maybe Paul wanted to wear the same shirt again because it makes his eyes pop. (Flashback to my 90-year-old nan going on about his eyes.... gross).

This was probably one of the worst challenges for a hot day. 

Poor Hermine's cakes are a bit sad looking but Dave has made a temple of wow. They better taste as good as they look.

Laura's actually look worse than Hermine's. I don't think mirror glaze is all that any more anyway but it might be all the gelatine that pits me off. 

Judgement time.

Dave up first. Paul likes. The caramel does look amazing and while chocolate was both a simple choice and a risky one on a hot day, Dave has delivered.

Ah Laura. What a mess. At least they taste good. She may have redeemed herself, even if the first bite is with the eyes.

Time for Peter. The judges like the look and taste. I think he is well on the way for Star Baker.

Right Hermine. You got this. They look a bit sad, but at least she finished them. Paul loves the flavour of the cherry ones. The coffee ones were not so great. Poor Hermine.

Who is making it into the final?

Chat time and the judges agree Peter and Dave have done well and Laura and Hermine are bottom two. Prue is like the disappointed teacher who expected Hermine to do better.

Star Baker is Peter! Well deserved and like I said – he came back fighting after a bad week last week.

And going is... Hermine. Very sad as she has been the best baker throughout the competition. Clearly a bouncy cube cake is unforgivable.

That's it for the Great British Bake Off semi final. Next time:

  • Laura makes a mess
  • Prue dresses like a Mondrian work of art
  • Peter looks nervous

We are excited for the final even if it is sans Hermine.