Recap: Holiday Baking Championship 2.4 "Thanksgiving's Just Around The Corner"

Nov 23, 2015 by Sarah Moffatt

For the pre-heat challenge, the remaining 7 bakers were given an hour to transform canned cranberry into a delicious dessert. I think canned cranberry is super tart and just not very good to begin with, so I was interested yet skeptical of how this round of baking would go.

The cranberry dessert that stood out most to me was Maeve’s bacon, cranberry and rosemary bread pudding. I don’t need to try it to know it’s probably amazing. I mean, it has bacon! Aesthetically, it was beautifully composed and I really loved the touch of green with the natural rosemary on the plate.

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The worst-looking was by far Briana’s walnut, maple, cranberry “deconstructed” tart. The tart crust crumbled when she tried to pop them out of the tins, so she had to improvise, leaving a pile of mush. Despite looking less than appealing, the judges seemed to think it was delicious.

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The winner of the pre-heat was Padua. He made an apple, pear and cranberry crisp with a cinnamon anglaise, which was pretty much identical to what Melody made, though he executed it much better.

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For winning the pre-heat, Padua was given the first pick of the harvest fruits and vegetables – he picked green apples – before assigning out the rest to his competitors. Now this was a challenge! But, wait! There’s more! Throw in some random flavors of marshmallows and you’ve got yourself an ultimate challenge.

Adalberto was assigned butternut squash, which he transformed into a pudding cake. This was, hands down, his most beautiful work to date on the show. He created an amazing and festive cake even after losing time cutting his finger.

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Briana, once again, made a weirdly decorated dessert (what’s with the green and yellow smudges?) that is supposed to resemble a play on carrot cake. Normally, the bakers have a saving grace – either their dessert is hideous but taste delicious or vice-versa, but Briana had nothing going for her this time.

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I really hope Melody makes it to the finals for the simple fact that she embodies the word hysteria. She’s a nervous wreck that manages to pull it together long enough to make sometimes beautiful, usually delicious desserts for the judges. This week, the judges left her hanging for quite a while before they critiqued her sweet potato custard and swirled cheesecake. I find myself holding my breath for the poor girl because I fear she’s going to collapse any second.

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It was certainly no surprise who the winner and loser was the week. If Adalberto didn’t win this week, I probably would’ve stopped watching the show. His cake was outstandingly beautiful and seemed to taste good, too. Home-baker, Briana was sent home. I was sad to see her go, but between her and Haley, I didn’t see how she stood a chance. Props to her for being a self-taught baker and lasting longer than some professionally trained competitors!

Watch Holiday Baking Championship at 9pm ET Sundays on Food Network.

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