Julia's expressions have become increasingly remarkable as the series goes onLOVE PRODUCTIONS

Given the hell that was caramel week, the safety of puddings couldn’t come at a better time for me. The episode met my comfort food desires in so many ways: homely and quite predictable, it lulled me into a sugar-infused bliss, but at the same time it offered enough sass not to feel as brain-deadening as reading Homes and Gardens. Because how could well-baked puddings not?

The signature marked the epitome of comfort in the back-in-the-good-ol’-days sense: a steamed school pudding. No steamed anything came anywhere near my school – hello industrially boiled potatoes – so I was united with Liam in being a bit dazed about the concept.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Julia’s terrified look gracing a new wave of memes.”

Despite my lack of steamy pudding action at school, I’m pretty sure that the standard school puds weren’t as handshake-worthy as the ones in the tent. Paul was lured to give out some heavy hand action by an amazing trio of puddings: Yan’s mango, ginger and coconut and Stacey’s Bakewell-inspired creations had the Hollywood hand shaking straight away, as did Steven’s lemon sponge with blackcurrant drizzle – even if the process of making it involved a less than appetising industrial-size syringe for injecting liquid into the sponge (I couldn’t but agree with Yan’s description of the tool as “that’s the sort of thing you make cows with”).

For a moment, I thought that the bakers had managed to avoid the perils of sogginess and stodge altogether, but Kate kindly brought the puddings back to the level of school food I’m used to. While her creation may not have achieved much, at least it brought out the sass in Prue: “That’s not custard, that’s a big mistake.” Ouch.

The technical moved into hardcore food porn territory, presenting the audience with a positively dripping spectacle of peanut butter filled molten chocolate puddings. For the bakers, though, it wasn’t all happy drooling: as the puddings had to be prodded straight out of the oven, this meant staggered start times.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Julia’s terrified look gracing a new wave of memes as she was left alone in the tent to start off the challenge, but even so, she wasn’t quite as horrified as the judges were at some of the bakers’ offerings. To me, Yan’s puddings (served in an anatomically very male formation, because “if you’re gonna serve a cake, serve it phallic”) looked deliciously moist, but Prue couldn’t obviously switch off her sassy mode: “If you like undercooked cake mixture, you’d like it.”

After last week’s caramel carnage, I’m not sure the judges should be complaining – and given that the estimated baking times ranged from Kate’s 35 minutes to James’s eight, the results looked remarkably edible. I’d pick their puddings any time over getting my fingers sticky on last week’s stroopwafel attempts.

“Thanks, Paul, but puns really aren’t a pie you should be sticking your finger in.”

While steamed and molten puddings fall into the easy viewing category for me, the showstopper moved into the territory of fine art: the ornamental trifle terrine called for an excellent sponge, a perfectly set custard or mousse, and a jelly that should hit the golden middle between slush and solid. Oh, and the bake had to have both inner and outer beauty as cutting into the cake was to reveal an additional layer of design skill.

Sophie took the opportunity to bring in an oh-so-trendy international touch to her baking once again: back in biscuit week, her limoncino flavour was inspired by teaching army personnel to ski in Italy, and now she revealed a fascination with Japanese patisserie, translating into a raspberry, yuzu and white chocolate bûche. The judges were gobsmacked by the result – and the viewers at Paul’s attempt at a bûche pun. Thanks, Paul, but puns really aren’t a pie you should be sticking your finger in.

For me, more impressive was Steven’s translation of the US flag into a trifle, which showed the stripes on the outside but stars on the inside. The style was somewhat cramped by an utter lack of substance, however, leading Paul to declare that “I don’t like rubber.” I’d happily give Steven’s rubber a go, though.

But what really got my heart racing was Liam’s dribble debacle. His ‘Cheers Lads’ named creation was inspired by his obviously very artsy uni friends, featuring a brownie base layered with a chai latte panna cotta, orange jelly and chocolate mousse. Unfortunately, the setting process was less than artsy, and Liam propelled into misery mode, repeatedly stating the obvious: “It’s dribbling! And it’s a mess.” Very well observed.

On a plus side, though, what better place to be when things go wrong than the Bake Off tent full of puddings?

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