Best Baker in America recap: Huckleberry tower tumble

Kitchen station detail, as seen on Best Baker in America Season 4. Photo courtesy Food Network
Kitchen station detail, as seen on Best Baker in America Season 4. Photo courtesy Food Network /

While huckleberries might be delicious flavor, the Best Baker in America recap had a few too many pits to be the perfect dessert treat. Even though the bakers were ready to climb the heights of this Rocky Mountain delight, the reality is that there were too many stumbles along that path.

As the third episode of Best Baker in America Season 4, the bakers are starting to find their groove. Even though everyone is a talented pastry chef, this Food Network competition is not about making a signature dessert. This baking competition is about pushing the boundaries showcasing the bakers’ multitude of talents.

For the primary challenge, the bakers had to create a franken-dessert from Carla Hall’s imagination. The reality is that Hall seemed to dream up this dessert idea. While many dessert combinations can be a perfect match, this idea might have stumbled before it left the mixing bowl.

The bakers had to create a huckleberry embuche. It was basically a croquembouche and/or pastry tower with the featured flavor of a blackberry pie. While this idea may not seem too extreme, an unexpected twist had the bakers in the dark, literally.

When the power went out mid-challenge, everyone seemed to be at a loss. While Aaron had to run through the hotel to find an oven in time, the whole event seemed to break the façade of the Food Network baking competition. Granted, everyone knows that the “set” isn’t all it seems. Still, it is like knowing that the original Iron Chef kitchen was really just a Food Network sound stage down the hallway from the Food Network test kitchen.

Where the huckleberry desserts get smushed on Best Baker in America?

Given that the competition is still early, a few mis-steps in this challenge were expected. And with the power issue mid-challenge, the judges might have offered a little leniency on their criticisms. At the same time, the desserts were either good or just really bad.

The top dessert of the week was from Aaron. Although his color was a little harsh (or maybe that was the appearance on food TV, the judges appreciated not only his execution and flavor but also his creativity. The tower coming out of the pie crust was a nice touch.

More importantly, Aaron’s flavors were on point. Although some people might have questioned his use of the prickly pear with the huckleberries, the flavors offered a lovely balance. Overall, his dessert was a big hit. Given his extra sprint to another kitchen, the win was well deserved.

As for the other safe bakers, they were somewhat expected. At this point in the baking competition, the desserts are either safe or a fail. In this case, the fails were quite obvious.

Which Best Baker in America desserts headed to the bake-off?

Unlike last episode, four bakers would participate in the bake-off. They were Yassmeen, Clarice, Michele, and Katrina. It is interesting that two episodes in a row had top bakers fall to the bottom. Although Michele’s dessert had technical flaws, his tower was not as bad as the other three desserts. Maybe the judges wanted to prove a point about too much emphasis on decorations.

For the bake-off, the bakers had to create a gelatin dessert. Although Utah loves their state approved dessert, many people do not leave room for gelatin. Then again, these desserts were not Aunt Edna’s old fashioned mold.

Looking at each of the desserts, they stood as a reminder that gelatin can be a vehicle for creativity, but it needs to be done well. While Katrina and Michele proved their technical expertise, Clarice and Yassmeen might have needed a little less wiggle to their jiggly dessert.

Although Clarice had a gelatin that didn’t quite set and Yassmeen went a little too far with the sparkling wine flavor, both desserts were not worthy of the Best Baker in America title. Listening to the judges’ banter, it seemed that more credit was given for dessert aspiration than actual execution.

In the end, Yassmeen was sent home. Even though Clarice has been in the bottom multiple times, she squeaked through to bake another day. It will be interesting to see if she can skate by on a challenge again.

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What do you think of this group of bakers? Are this season’s challenges a little too far outside of the box?