Holiday Baking Championship Season 9 premiere: Pies or cakes for the win

The sugar, spice, and holiday sweetness are filling the Food Network kitchen because Holiday Baking Championship Season 9 is here. The favorite judges, Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman, and Carla Hall are back for another season with 12 bakers vying for the title. In the first episode, the heated holiday dessert debate is on the table. Who will earn supremacy, pies or cakes?

According to Food Network, Holiday Baking Championship Season 9 premiere, “Snow Days” features the following:

Season’s greetings! Host Jesse Palmer gets some welcoming inspiration for the first Preheat as he challenges the 12 bakers to create meringue pavlova wreaths in yummy fall flavors. For the Main Heat, Jesse settles a long-standing debate over the best holiday dessert by dividing the kitchen into the pie team and the cake team. The better bake wins immunity for their whole team, and judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Carla Hall send one baker from the losing team home.

Looking at the preheat challenge, it is much harder than it seems for the first challenge of the season. Creating the perfect meringue pavlova takes a deft hand. That light, airy meringue needs to melt in the judges’ mouths. Even though it is often paired with fruits, finding a way to bring fall into that flavor experience will be key for the eventual winner.

Moving onto the Main Heat, the battle of pie team versus cake team may not seem like an even fight. Although there will be no piecaken on the table, the reality is that it is hard to compare those two desserts. Even if the flavors are similar, the textures impact the eating enjoyment.

The key to winning this challenge might be the best executed dish. Uncooked pie crusts, poor crumb on a cake, and other technical issues could cause a baker to be sent home. No one wants to be the first baker eliminated in Holiday Baking Championship Season 9.

New episodes of Holiday Baking Championship Season 9 air on Food Network Mondays at 8 p.m.