Best Baker in America recap: Modern classics proved quite flavorful


Only one episode remains till the finale. In this Best Baker in America recap, the bakers took on modern classics, with a nod to savory ingredients.

Four bakers entered the kitchen but only three would remain. All four bakers crave of the title Best Baker in America, but one will fall short of his dreams. In this Best Baker in America recap, the four bakers must create a visually impeccable mirror glaze dessert and a dessert tasting plate highlight two savory ingredients.

Going into the second to last episode, Best Baker in America’s title was up for grabs. So far, each of the remaining bakers have had highs and lows. There has been no real trend or front runner. Last week’s elimination proved that being on top in one challenge doesn’t carry over to another challenge. With that in mind, all four bakers needed to prove their worth this week.

Best Baker in America recap, modern desserts, photo from Food Network

The skills challenge, a mirror glaze cake, is a technically difficult challenge. For a mirror glaze cake, the glaze needs to be so shiny that it can cast a reflection. While you might not want to watch yourself indulge in these delicious desserts, the visual is always stunning.

The key to this skills challenge was combining technique with time management. These type of desserts have defined layers, which need to set. The bakers used liquid nitrogen to quickly freeze the components. Unfortunately, Adalberto chose the wrong molds and his dessert suffered from bubbles and bumps. These imperfections causes a major issue in appearance.

While the desserts were good, nothing was completely perfect. Still, Dwayne won the skills challenge. His German chocolate influenced dessert had a stunning mirror glaze. Although there was some debate over the balance of his layers, the mirror glaze won him this challenge.

Dwayne has been king of the skills challenges. While he reigns on the technical challenges, the master challenge has been his downfall. Would another skill challenge prove detrimental for Dwayne (like last week)? We’re not done with the Best Baker in America recap.

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The master challenge featured a trend in plated desserts. Savory ingredients are becoming more common in desserts. This challenge required the bakers to create two desserts, one featuring fennel and the other featuring chiles.

Chiles in a dessert isn’t a new concept. Chocolate and chiles is quite common. The heat is often balanced by the bitter, sweet chocolate. While chocolate and chiles is a good idea, I wished that the bakers had tried something more inventive. Now, I don’t know exactly what that dessert would be. Yes, a chocolate, chili truffle is yummy, but I can get that anywhere these days.

Best Baker in America recap, modern desserts, photo from Food Network

Overall, all eight desserts were quite impressive. If I were to choose two desserts to eat, they would be Andy’s mango chocolate dessert and Thiago’s fennel dessert. The two desserts that I would take a pass on would be Adalberto’s pecan pie and Dwayne’s fennel panna cotta. Yes, I picked from different bakers because no dessert tasting menu was my personal favorite.

Best Baker in America recap, modern desserts, photo from Food Network

Andy did well in this week’s master challenge, again. While some people might see his plated desserts as visually dated, I think that classic is always in style. Impeccable, visually stunning desserts don’t have an expiration date. Andy’s chocolate dessert was smart and creative. The combination of chocolate, mango and chili was smart. The play on flavors worked well. While I personally dislike goat cheese, the fennel/goat cheese combination was on point. The brininess from the goat cheese works well with the licorice forward fennel. Andy was a top baker and made it to the finale.

Thiago was in his element for this modern classics master challenge. He understands how to incorporate savory ingredients into the dessert. Even more impressive was the visual presentation. His ice cream that looked like a piece of coconut was genius.

Using lots of techniques, Thiago proved that he wanted a place in the finale. The combination of flavors and textures was spot on. The molten chocolate cake with the spicy caramel would be a favorite on any dessert menu. Too bad I can’t get a bottle of that caramel. I would stock it in my pantry. Thiago won the challenge and moved onto the finale.

Best Baker in America recap, modern desserts, photo from Food Network

Unfortunately, Dwayne and Adalberto struggled in the master challenge. While there wasn’t a major flaw in either’s dessert plates, the bakers struggled with highlighting the required flavors. Dwayne’s dessert was controversial for an additional ingredient. Two judges disliked the hickory flavor, but Jason Smith had the Southern baker’s back. The smoky, woody flavor from the hickory should pair well with the chili and chocolate. Maybe it is just a Southern acquired taste.

The only complaint against Dwayne was that his desserts weren’t modern enough. Personally, I would have a better tasting dessert than a visually modern one. Still, Dwayne’s desserts suffered because the savory ingredients weren’t the predominate flavors. If the dessert needs to have a savory note, that flavor should be hidden.

Best Baker in America recap, modern desserts, photo from Food Network

Adalberto also struggled in this challenge. First, his sorbet was an unnatural green color. He should have just scrapped that part of his dessert. The fennel dessert didn’t bring the fennel flavor. Apple was the dominate flavor. While the mirror glazes brought him redemption from the skills challenge, the flavor was his downfall.

As for his chocolate chili dessert, the pecan pie didn’t bring the spice. It was a good pecan pie, but there wasn’t enough heat. The chocolate truffle was a spicy knockout, but the dessert needed to be a composed plate, not just a truffle.

Based on both the skills challenge and the master challenge, Adalberto was sent home. His bold personality was as vibrant as his desserts. I know that if I’m traveling, I will seek out his pastry shop. While he might not have earned the title of Best Baker in America, he is definitely a top baker in America.

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What will the finale bring in Best Baker in America? Who knows what extreme, huge or elaborate challenge that the judges will create. I will be watching. Don’t forget to check back for the Best Baker in America recap.

Who do you want to win the title? Share your comments below or share your thoughts on social media @FoodSided.