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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!