With the Holiday Baking Championship finale in sight, which holiday desserts were the perfect present?
As the naughty and nice list gets shorter, the Holiday Baking Championship is reaching the finale. While the bakers have had ups and downs in the Food Network competition, each baker is only as good as the last bake. Could an upset occur just before the finale?
For this Holiday Baking Championship pre-heat, the bakers had to create a picture-perfect holiday trifle. While home bakers love this holiday dessert because it can be easy to make with store bought ingredients, these Food Network bakers need to be more than just layers of tasty desserts.
With randomly assigned flavors, the bakers made quick work of their three components, a custard layer, a jelly layer and a cookie/cake layer. Overall, the bakers achieved great flavors and distinct layers. The differences between the holiday trifles came down to decoration.
By looks alone, it was clear that Megan and Lorenzo would be on the nice list. From Lorenzo’s tres leches inspired holiday trifle to Megan’s pistachio trifle, both holiday desserts made the judges merry. The trifles had great flavors and textures.
The other bakers had aspects that worked, but each trifle had a little something missing. It was like the Christmas present that was last year’s model. It wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t anything exciting about unwrapping that gift.
From LaShonda’s orange slice decoration (didn’t Jon get sent home for using whole orange slices) and Juliana’s lack of peppermint flavor, these trifles wouldn’t earn a stamp of approval from Santa’s elves.
Still, it was only the pre-heat, but an advantage did await the winner. For winning the pre-heat, Lorenzo received an extra 10 minutes of baking time in the main heat. Given the difficulty of the next holiday dessert, that extra time would be helpful.
In a Holiday Baking Championship first, the bakers had to create a Charlotte Royal. While this dessert had appeared on Best Baker in America, it had not appeared in this Food Network baking competition. While the dessert is visually stunning, it is quite hard to execute in such a limited amount of time.
With randomly assigned flavors and a twist of a baked holly decoration, the bakers had a tall task to complete in the short amount of time. That perfect roulade with a cream center had the bakers frazzled. From issues with a pastry cream to lack of creativity with the holly decoration, these holiday desserts were either a shining star or a lump of coal.
The two top Charlotte Royale holiday desserts were clear. Megan and Eva not only delivered with flavor, but their holiday desserts were also pretty. While everyone has come to expect Megan to excel on her decorations, her flavors were on point. Although Holiday Baking Championship might seem like reindeer games, the bakers need to be aware of the competition aspect.
With her holiday dessert, Megan was smart with the flavors. She used chocolate four ways. Most importantly, she made a chocolate cookie which was a different flavor that any of the chocolate components in her holiday dessert.
Eva earned the judges’ praise because she brought a lovely ginger flavor to her holiday dessert. As Duff said, you can taste her baking experience in every bite. While she should have made a lemon cookie, overall her holiday dessert was impressive.
Since Megan’s holiday dessert was the total package, she earned the win. With her spot in the finale, Megan is on a roll. Having won three of the past four challenges, she is a strong contender for the Holiday Baking Championship title.
With her impressive ginger lemon Charlotte Royale, Eva earned a spot in the finale. While she can deliver flavors, it will be interesting to see if she can elevate her decoration for the finale.
Also, Lorenzo earned a spot in the finale. While the visual of his Charlotte Royale was impressive, there were some technical issues with his holiday dessert. From a slightly dry cake to too much gelatin in his cream, it was still good enough to earn him third place.
Unfortunately, the bottom two bakers had major technical issues. From LaShonda having to re-make her Bavarian cream with limited time to Juliana’s square Charlotte Royale sinking in the middle, these holiday desserts had execution problems.
Similar to other challenges, LaShonda continued to struggle with decoration. While she was just trying to finish, her decorations were off in scale. When a present is bigger than a tree, that magical winter wonderland is not based in reality.
Additionally, LaShonda had technical issues. When the judges compared her cream to a sweet omelet, that statement was not landing her on the nice list.
Juliana struggled with her cream as well. Making a square Charlotte Royale was ambitious and it didn’t pay off. The cream wasn’t set enough to hold the structure.
In addition, her coffee flavor overpowered the pumpkin. From lacking sugar in her cream to needing a better spiral on her roulade, there were a few mistakes.
Since one baker had to go home, the difference came down to the holly cookie decoration. Since Juliana made a better cookie that paired with her holiday dessert, she moves onto the Holiday Baking Championship finale.
Based on the judges’ comments in the pre-heat, it seemed like LaShonda was on thin ice. As Duff said, there are only so many challenges were lack of decoration can be overlooked.
With next week being the finale, which baker could earn the crown? It seems like it could be either Megan or Lorenzo. Then again, nothing has been predictable in this Food Network show.
Who is your favorite to win this Holiday Baking Championship season? Do you think that there will be a change in the naughty or nice list?