RECAP | THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF season three episode seven

Claire: Bessie's teats go untouched today!

We're back, and it's free-from week! That means that certain ingredients or types of ingredients must not be used in each challenge, whether it's dairy, eggs, gluten or sugar (they should really have a nut-free week, that'd stump a few of them). I'm going to a wedding this weekend (very excited), and one of the cake tiers is vegan. I think I know where the recipe's from, so it should be delicious. Mel's been going around the park 'stealing' dogs to give to the bakers. Oh dear.

Signature Bake: Dairy-Free Fruit Tarts

The thing about this week's bakes is that they're fairly self-explanatory. The bakers need to make six fruit tarts that must have a filling, fruit and a glaze in an open pastry case. Matt would like the bakers to get creative with oils and coconut milk, and Maggie would like the pastry to be crisp and buttery without the butter.

Rae made fig and frangipane tarts. Her shortcust pastry substituted coconut and olive oils for butter, and it was decorated with fig and pomegranates. Raeesa may have put the glaze on too early, because it all soaked into the tart and the judges couldn't see it. When he cuts the tart, Matt tells Rae that the pastry is brittle, pausing before he adds that it's a good thing. Maggie says that the pastry is buttery, but the frangipane is quite dense - it's a different texture without the dairy.

Rob made lime and strawberry tarts. His pastry used vegetable shortening instead of butter, and they were filled with a lime and coconut custard. The judges are looking for something decorative after last week. Rob nearly ran out of time in this challenge, which affected his tarts. The pastry was blond, and they weren't in the oven long enough to bring out the flavours of the lime and coconut.

Dave made raspberry and chocolate tarts with maple syrup in there somewhere (probably the pastry), because we hear Dave say that he loves maple syrup. Me too! There is almond flour and coconut oil in the pastry, and Dave has made a dairy free dark chocolate ganache. He's made this recipe before because his aunt can't have dairy. At the end of the challenge Barb sees that Dave's made seven tarts (just in case one doesn't work out), and jokes that they were supposed to do eight. Matt and Maggie love the presentation of the tarts and say they'd buy them from a patisserie, but the flavours were too rich, which is an achievement without dairy. Unfortunately they were also a bit hard to handle because the pastry was crumbly.

Chris mentions the infamous 'soggy bottoms,' which makes me wish that we had a pies and tarts episode this season. There are still three left, so it could happen. Anyway, Chris made lemon tarts. His almond pastry substituted lard for butter, it was filled with a lemon curd and topped with kiwifruit, blueberries and raspberries. Matt thinks kiwifruit is a bit 'twee,' which is a choice of words they should have unpacked more. The judges love the flavour of the curd and Matt doesn't mind the kiwi, but the pastry was too thick and more like a biscuit.

Claudia made tropical tarts. Her shortcrust pastry was made with non-dairy spread, the filling was a guava and coconut mousse dome (MasterChef's favourite shape) surrounded by strawberries. Claudia had some issues with her mousse because she wasn't sure how much gelatin to add. Matt tells her that he'd prefer soft over too firm and that 'rubbery balls ruin the whole tart,' which didn't get quite the same reaction as his 'symmetrical balls' comment last week. The mousse is too firm, but Maggie loves the flavours of guava and strawberry together.

Last week's Star Baker in our hearts, Barb made raspberry and chocolate tarts. She substituted avocado for cream in her chocolate ganache and added some coconut oil and cointreau, saying 'If in doubt, add more grog.' Barb used pork lard as a butter substitute in the pastry, and the tarts were topped with raspberries, which apparently feel like nipples (Barb is the best. #JusticeForBarb!). The tarts had beautiful brittle pastry and the judges loved the avocado chocolate ganache, which they tasted during the challenge. Matt says it's great and he can't tell that it's dairy-free.

Technical Challenge: Gluten-Free Tiramisu

This week's technical challenge is Maggie Beer's gluten-free tiramisu, and she's looking for smooth edges and well-defined layers. She'd also like the bakers to 'set and forget'. Over in the potting shed, Maggie tells Matt that she uses gluten-free flour for the savoiardi (I'm going with Barb and calling them spongy biscuits) and almond meal to make the amaretti biscuits. The syrup is coffee, quince and vino cotto, and the mousse is quince and vino cotto to give the tiramisu the Maggie Beer twist.

The bake is fairly uneventful, but there are a few highlights. Claire teased dave about the length of his spongy biscuits saying that he'd measured them wrong, and Rob chanted "coffee" at the coffee machine. That clip was in the beginning montage and I wasn't sure if it was for the bake or he really needed caffeine. Claudia says something about "layers of pleasure," which Claire says should be the title of her cookbook. I would buy it. Raeesa put whipped cream around the whole tiramisu instead of just the top when she was decorating. When asked about it (she would have been first otherwise), she said she did a Rob: "panicked and threw cream at it."

From last to first, we have: Dave, Barb, Claudia, Rob, Raeesa and Chris. Raeesa's whipped cream cost her first place, but this is Chris' first technical win! It's also the first time I've remembered the order without writing it down (it gets easier as the cast gets smaller). Chris and Raeesa are both up for Star Baker, while Rob and Dave are in trouble.

Showstopper: Sugar-Free Trifle

After two weeks of (signature) challenges I'd love to eat - sausage rolls and waffles - this week's showstopper is one that I don't really want to eat at all. At least they look fantastic. ANYWAY. The bakers need to make a trifle without refined sugar, and they do quite well with fruit nectars and other substitutes. The trifle must contain cake or biscuits, custard or a creamy filling, and jam or jelly.

Dave made a rose trifle with lychee jelly, almond dacquoise and rosewater cream topped with fresh raspberries. He used agar agar to set his jelly instead of gelatin because it can set in fifteen minutes. The judges warn that rosewater should be used with 'great restraint' - we all remember last year's ombre cake challenge. Dave used coconut sugar and stevia as his sugar substitutes and learns that Maggie's not a particular fan of stevia. The judges say that the trifle is refined elegance and love the texture. There's a little too much rosewater for Matt, but it goes so well with the lychee and raspberry flavours that it doesn't matter.

Barb made a family friendly Christmas trifle, which means it's alcohol-free as well as sugar-free. Her berry jelly is set at an angle, which she layers with blueberries, swiss rolls and crème anglaise. Maggie asks about the alcohol, but Barb is making a syrup instead. Everyone's already had a few at Christmas lunch, there doesn't need to be grog in the dessert as well. The judges reaction to the trifle's appearance is simply 'woah.' It's beautiful to eat and the jelly is excellent, but it's drowned out a bit by the cream.

Rob made a berry trifle with berry and cherry infused jelly (say that five times fast), date-sweetened custard and jam filled swiss rolls. He uses agave nectar as a sugar substitute in the jelly and sponge mixtures. The judges warn him that he needs to do something great to stay in the competition. Matt loves the wobble of Rob's trifle, and they describe the jelly as 'beautiful,' but there's a little too much custard.

Claudia's trifle has figs, orange and mandarin jelly, cream and honey-sweetened custard. There's grog in there somewhere, and Claudia used muscavado sugar and agave nectar as sugar substitutes. Maggie says it's one of the most beautiful things she's seen, and the judges love the mandarin and orange jelly. Once again, there's too much cream. It seems that this group is a little too fond of cream, but they make great jelly, so does it really matter?

Raeesa talks about how she's always on fad diets, so she's made things without sugar before. Her pineapple trifle has pineapple jelly, roasted pineapple, dried pineapple slices and some sugar work. Mel's a Queenslander, so she's drawn to pineapple like a moth to a flame. The judges say it's stunning and beautiful. They love the layers and can tell just by looking at it that there's not too much cream. They love the flavour of the pineapple with the coconut, and Matt says "kill me now," so it must be pretty good. He then says that she's nailed it, and Maggie thanks her for bringing them something so spectacular. It seems like we might have a new Star Baker in the group.

Chris made a GIANT Black Forest trifle (Maggie said his crepes were too dainty last week), which means this group has now made a black forest meringue, crepe cake and trifle. There are so many layers of vanilla and chocolate cake, cherry jelly, cream and custard that he's written which layers go where on the container. The judges are shocked speechless, which might be a first for the show. The flavours are great, but the judges say that since it has custard it doesn't need cream at all. Then the thing with the giant spoon and ladel happens so nothing else matters.

Raeesa is Star Baker this week, and Rob is sent home. Farewell Rob, except I'm sure I'll see you on Twitter. It was a pleasure to meet you in Perth a couple of weeks ago, and thanks for the cider that I practically had to scull before I went to a comedy show.