Best Baker in America review: Tropical flavors inspire summer desserts


Is it summer vacation yet? On this week’s Best Baker in America episode, the bakers are inspired by tropical flavors and summer desserts.

Best Baker in America seems to have summer on the mind. While the bakers might not be hitting the beach in this week’s episode, the desserts and flavor inspirations are channeling some tropical destinations. Are you ready to book a dessert getaway?

In this Food Network competition, these professional bakers need to showcase their finesse, skill and knowledge of all types of desserts. After last week’s smashing successes, the week’s challenges took an even more impressive turn. Are you ready to flambé?

For this week’s Skills Challenge, the bakers had to create floating islands. This old school, French dessert has a meringue floating in a crème anglaise. While this dessert offers a lovely visual, the technique is quite difficult. From a perfect meringue to a flavorful crème anglaise, this dessert is definitely not for the novice.

Overall, these desserts were extremely creative. From the layers of textures to the elevated flavors, the bakers really swung for the fences. While there were a few missteps, the desserts were quite well done.

The difficulty with this dessert is the texture. In many ways, the dessert is soft on soft. While the key is to have pillowy mouth feel, it is counter-intuitive to more modern desserts that focus on layers of texture. In a way, the flavors have to be seriously on point.

Winning the skills challenge was Jeffery. This challenge was the first time that his dessert was a top choice. Could he finally be showcasing the immense talent that he possesses?

Before talking about the Master Challenge, there was an underlying flavor theme in this week’s Best Baker in America episode. The use of saffron was everywhere this week. While common in a paella, the use in desserts isn’t as prevalent.

While a few bakers got the balance correct, a few desserts were too savory. It is curious to see several desserts with similar flavors in the same episode. Although an interesting ingredient, the home baker might want to leave this ingredient to the well-trained professionals.

For the Master Challenge, the bakers had to create a Bombe Alaska. It is like a Baked Alaska, but the whole dessert is flambéd. Who doesn’t love a little fire with their dessert?

Additionally, the dessert needed to feature mango. In a way, the use of mango was a little disappointing. So many desserts had mango sorbet. Granted, each dessert needed a mango element, but it would have been nice to see something more, creative or just different.

One baker thought completely out of the box. Joshua created a mango chili margarita popsicle. The dessert was far from the tradition Bombe Alaska but it really worked. Although the flame from the tequila was a little weak, the flavors and presentation definitely earned Joshua a top spot.

Jeffery continued to his high praise in the Master Challenge. His Indian flavor inspired Bombe Alaska used a visually impressive chocolate cage. As the flame rose, the chocolate melted to reveal the dessert. It was a sight to see.

While his dessert was slightly leaning, he used creativity in both presentation and flavors. Again, the saffron was used in his dessert, but it was more subtle. Although the flavors were slightly competing, the dessert was another top choice.

For the majority of the bakers, their desserts were nice. While that description sounds a little bland, the desserts weren’t as impressive as they needed to be. With a challenge that included fire, Food Network fans might have been wanting more. In a way, some of the desserts seemed a little safe.

Additionally, the bakers seemed to have technical issues. From Joshua’s leaning tower to Julie’s weeping bombe, it seemed like the bakers needed more time in the kitchen. Granted, this dessert is difficult due to all the components. Still, everyone seemed a little off their game.

Unfortunately, two bakers suffered big mis-steps in the kitchen. Edet had a lovely idea for his dessert. The monochromatic color scheme to mimic a sunset made perfect sense with the theme. Unfortunately, he had too many technical issues with this dessert.

The meringue was too soft and was almost broken. The whole dessert basically flattened out. It was a melting sunset at best.

Also, Michael was a bottom dessert. Previously, he has been a top baker in challenges. This week’s dessert missed the mark on several layers.

While he tried to create a crunch layer for texture, the moisture in the dessert destroyed it. This layer left an almost unpleasant mouth feel. Additionally, the meringue was too thick for the dessert.

But, Michael’s flavors of mango and basil were smart. That element saved him from elimination.

The baker sent home on this week’s Best Baker in America episode was Edet. Since both of his desserts had technical issues this round, it was apparent that he would be leaving.

Looking at where the competition stands now, it isn’t clear if there is a clear frontrunner. All of the bakers have had both high points and failures. Can anyone string together a series of impressive bakes?

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What did you think of this week’s Best Baker in America episode? Did the judges send the right baker home?