Well, we’ve reached the end of another terrific season of The Great British Baking Show. Only three bakers remain: homemaker Nadiya Hussain, stay-at-home dad Ian Cumming, and trainee anesthetist Tamal Ray. All three finalists have wowed us with their daring flavors, creativity, and heart. Join us as we recap the finale and weep tears of joy like literally the entire time. Recap of the Season 3 finale of The Great British Baking Show… here we go.
Signature Challenge: 16 Iced Buns with Filling
For their final signature challenge, the bakers have three hours to make 16 filled iced buns. They can be any flavor, as long as they make two different types. According to Paul Hollywood, an iced bun is “a thing of beauty.” The tricky part about making a bun is using enriched dough. The bakers need to know how to get the right consistency and ensure that the buns and icing become soft, not crisp.
Tamal wants to make his 16 buns with royal icing. For the first half, he’s making a citrus marmalade filling; the other half will be filled with apple and creme pat. If you’ve been paying attention, we’ve been #TeamTamal since Bread Week, who endeared himself to us with his love of cheese. Ian is going HARD on the signature and makes two separate doughs. He flavors them with elderflower, lemon curd, and spices. Nadiya is also adding spices (cardamom and nutmeg) and decides to create half of her buns round. Paul is skeptical (typical) but Mary Berry — the sweet British Grandmother we all wish we had — is in full support of her round buns.
Tamal runs out of time and his creme pat doesn’t set. He ditches that idea and ends up coloring his royal icing and plopping that on top of his buns. During judging, Mary and Paul talk about how his timing has been an issue the entire season. Despite the lack of creme pat, they end up liking Tamal’s citrus marmalade buns.
Ian’s icing is a little messy for Mary’s liking, though he’s got some nice filling. Paul disagrees and thinks his flavors are all wrong. Nadiya’s buns are where it’s at. The piping is neat, the jam is on point, and the round buns work well. So well that Sue has to wipe down Paul’s mouth.
Technical Challenge: Raspberry Mille-Feuille
The bakers have two hours to create a pastry we can’t even pronounce. Paul has chosen a mille-feuille because he remembers that Nadiya, Ian, and Tamal all had issues during Pastry Week. Here’s what they have to say about the technical challenge:
Nadiya: “I can’t even say it.”
Tamal: “I know what it looks like, so that’s a big advantage over most of the technicals we’ve had.”
Now comes our favorite phrase of the season: ROUGH PUFF. The bakers are instructed to create a rough puff pastry to be folded with grated butter. Even though the bakers receive minimal instructions, grated butter is CLEARLY stated in the instructions. Despite this, Tamal decides he doesn’t need to grate his butter and folds it in, chunks and all.
During the blind tasting, the judges are not kind. Tamal’s are a mess and the layers have mushed together. (WHY DIDN’T YOU GRATE YOUR BUTTER, TAMAL?) Nadiya’s mille-feuille ends up looking a bit neater, though her pastry is more shortcrust than rough puff. Ian’s pastry isn’t quite baked and the tops of his mille-feuille aren’t bonded with the raspberry. In the end, Tamal is third, Ian is second, and Nadiya comes in first.
Showstopper Challenge: A Classic British Cake
The final showstopper challenge is a three-tiered, classic British cake. The bakers have four hours to wow the judges with their creations. Sue wishes them luck and leaves the bakers with this gem.
Tamal decides on a sticky toffee pudding cake. He explains that the inspiration behind his design came from a photograph of an old Chinese ghost town. Sue stops him mid-sentence: “So let me get this straight — your classic British cake is based on an ancient, abandoned Chinese fishing village?”
Before they leave him to it, the judges tell Tamal to mind his time. He says he’ll be working until the very end, and Mary pipes, “What’s new?” Mary, you cheeky minx.
Ian wants to make five separate carrot cakes to place atop a cascading homemade structure. Sue asks Ian if he got the idea after eating strange mushrooms while foraging. Nadiya decides on a classic lemon drizzle cake. She explains that she and her husband got married in Bangladesh, where cake isn’t really featured in weddings (!). We see clips of Nadiya’s family saying how proud they are of her and how excellent her cakes truly are.
Outside the tent, past contestants and family members are picnicking in the garden while awaiting to hear the results. They’re asked which baker they think will take the crown, and they are so sweet and polite while answering, hesitant to admit that they should even have a favorite. Back in the tent we see all three of the bakers running around, trying to beat the clock. Tamal is focused on his sugar work, Nadiya is busy with her marshmallow fondant, and Ian is attempting to correct a math crisis. Once the clock ends, the bakers all come together for a hug. They are a jumble of mixed emotions; the culmination of weeks of hard work, stress, and sacrifice have finally come to an end. Tamal is crying. Ian is crying. Nadiya isn’t crying (yet).
Onto the judging!
Nadiya: The judges try pieces from all three tiers to find that the texture of the lemon drizzle is the same in each. There’s a good, even bake all around and the flavors taste exactly the same. Her overall design and the addition of the pink flowers and jewels make this a stunning showstopper. Paul notes that the marshmallow fondant all around the outside is wrapped smoothly and tastes spot on.
Tamal: Even though sugar work isn’t something he’s used to, the end result is spectacular. Mary calls it breathtaking. Both Paul and Mary were doubtful about the sticky toffee pudding flavor as a cake. Mary claims she was “expecting to make rude remarks about how it’s pudding” but admits that Tamal has done exceedingly well.
Ian: His cascading waterfall carrot cake is quite the construction, according to Mary. Both she and Paul are impressed with the creativity of his design, as well as the massive iced carrot down the middle. Paul notes that it’s a classic looking carrot cake with a twist. After tasting, Paul calls it one of the best carrot cakes he’s ever had. The flavors, textures, and the look are spot on.
Inside the judges tent, Paul and Mary are trying to pin down a winner. All three finalists received excellent remarks on their showstoppers, which makes this one of the toughest decisions yet. Back outside, the bakers join their friends and family. Everyone is eating cake, the sun is out, and spirits are high. Finally, the winner is announced: Nadiya Hussain wins Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show!
Through tears, Nadiya shouts, “There has to be a mistake!” She’s had an emotional journey throughout the entire season; as a stay-at-home Mom for a decade, she always felt like she had something to prove. Her ideas, flare, and passion were all in her bakes and according to the judges, she nailed the final three challenges. Even Mary Berry gets choked up while talking about Nadiya. UGH. WE CAN’T WITH THIS SHOW. (But we so, so can.)
Sue: “Tents. Bunting. Glastonbury. Glyndebourne. I love a classic British event!”
Mary (on Nadiya’s iced buns): “Why shouldn’t a bun be round?”
Mel: “MY buns are round.”
Everyone cries. (Except Paul Hollywood.)
A Few Recipes
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