Best Baker in America recap: Bakers whip up marvelous meringues


To be the best, the most challenging tasks must seem effortless. In this week’s Best Baker in America recap, the seven bakers must tackle French macarons and meringues.

Desserts are more than just sweet treats. Sometimes they are a feast for the eyes. Carefully plated or visually stunning, these desserts can have your mouth salivating before one morsel hits your tongue. The delicate meringue can be a dessert component that can baffle bakers or make them a star. In this Best Baker in America recap, the bakers showcase their skills with meringue.

Best Baker in America recap, meringue, photo from Food Network

Basically, this week’s episode is about eggs. While many savory chefs know that a simple egg dish can be a true cooking challenge, meringue, made from egg whites, can be equally as challenging for bakers. To use eggs, or egg whites well, bakers need strong skills. Luckily these bakers have those skills.

In the skills challenge, the bakers must make a French macaron. Since the macaron only has three ingredients, egg whites, sugar and almond flour, the delicate macaron leaves no room for error. The key to a perfect macaron is a chewy center, a perfect foot (the little ridge), uniform size and the eggshell like crust.

Best Baker in America recap, meringue, photo from Food Network

If you’ve had a perfect macaron, it will melt in your mouth. Yes, that $3 a macaron is totally worth the cost once you’ve tasted a good one. If I could figure out how to make them at home, I would.

As the bakers create two dozen macarons in two flavors, a few bakers struggled with this challenge. Brittani had oven issues, which completely messed up her macaron. Cheryl, who won last week, had appearance issues with her macarons.

One baker had this challenge in his back pocket. Adalberto owns a macaron company. This challenge was made for him. While there is no prize for winning the skills challenge, Adalberto won the macaron challenge. His blueberry mojito macarons were sublime.

But, one challenge doesn’t make a Best Baker in America recap. The master challenge awaited the bakers. While classic desserts are making a comeback, people want a modern twist on that classic. Of course, grandma’s cake taste great, but it’s the Food Network. These bakers need to step up their game.

More from FoodSided

The master challenge required the bakers to create a modern twist on the classic Baked Alaska dessert. A Baked Alaska features cake, ice cream and torched meringue. But, the judges don’t want to see that old stodgy dessert from the Betty Crocker days. These desserts need to have the classic components with a twist.

Of course, that challenge is still a little too simple for someone who wants the title of Best Baker in America. The bakers also have to incorporate strawberry into the dessert. Nothing is, or should be, simple in this baking competition.

Best Baker in America recap, meringue, photo from Food Network

Watching these bakers conceive their version of a Baked Alaska is intriguing. Some bakers are instantly looking for an unusual twist. From a deconstructed dessert to a riff on a childhood favorite, the creativity is inspiring for the home baker. Sometimes a dessert doesn’t have to be exactly what the recipe states. Using the flavors or certain components can bring the spirit of the dessert to every bite.

Still, creativity isn’t a replacement for execution. A poorly executed dessert is a poor dessert even if it is the most creative item on the table. The bakers have to find the balance between the two components. Flavor and technique will always trump creativity.

One baker took creativity to a new level. Dwayne made a deconstructed Baked Alaska. Using a shortbread, not a cake, the flavor was more reminiscent of a strawberry shortcake. But, the presentation of the dessert was quite unique. By plating each element separately, a person could create his perfect bite. This dessert found the balance between creativity and execution. Dwayne was the top baker.

Best Baker in America recap, meringue, photo from Food Network

Cheryl seems to be the ultimate competitor so far. Her Baked Alaska featured creativity in her flavors. Combining strawberry with passion fruit was unusual but delicious. One composed bite was stellar. Plus, her presentation was on point. The peaks of meringue were delicate, yet flawless. The torched meringue was picture perfect. She is definitely the baker to watch.

Personally, I would have enjoyed eating Andy’s dessert. The strawberry vanilla bomb sounded delicious. Plus, there was a strawberry fritter. Who doesn’t love fried dough?

Best Baker in America recap, meringue, photo from Food Network

Unfortunately, two bakers struggled with this Baked Alaska inspiration challenge. Thiago struggled with his dessert. While the reference to the classic kids’ ice cream treat was creative, his execution was faulty. The meringue was hidden and his dessert layers’ proportionally off. If he had executed this dessert better, it could have been a winner.

Susana struggled as well. Her dessert wasn’t bad, but it was boring. Boring desserts aren’t going to win Best Baker in America. Plus, her meringue was faulty. The torched meringue melted, which is a definite technical problem. While Susana is a good baker, she won’t be the Best Baker in America.

Next: Halloween Baking Championship: Wickedly sweet witches

As this week’s Best Baker in America recap comes to a close, let’s ponder which bakers are in the lead. Cheryl is definitely at the top. Two wins have her as a big threat. Dwayne should also be a top contender. His desserts are creative. Lastly, I would put Brittani in contention. Her desserts have inventive flavors.

Will my predictions come through? Tune in next week or read our Best Baker in America recap. Until then, what’s dessert are you craving? Who’s baking up a sweet treat this weekend?