Summer Baking Championship episode 3: Getting radical with s’mores and more

Set detail, as seen on Summer Baking Championship, Season 1.
Set detail, as seen on Summer Baking Championship, Season 1. /

While the bakers drove home some delicious ice cream treats, Summer Baking Championship episode 3 shakes up the great outdoors theme in a radical way. From outrageous s’mores inspired desserts to stunning paris brest desserts, the top Food Network bakers are rolling forward to sweet success.

For the Summer Baking Championship episode 3, the pre-heat had the bakers create radical s’mores. While that classic campfire dessert has some devotees believing that there is only one way to make that dessert, these options are more than just marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate.

After winning both the pre-heat and main heat in Summer Baking Championship episode 2, Kyle was given another advantage. For the s’mores challenge, the bakers were placed into teams. Kyle was able to pick his partner and assign the other teams.

The idea of a “radical” s’mores had to bring not only execution but also creativity to the table. While some bakers decided to change the shape or even the texture, the reality is that the twist needed to be rooted in the classic dessert. Straying too far from the original was not warranted.

In addition, the dessert needed to be technically correct. A poorly made marshmallow or a soggy graham cracker is not going to get praise from the judges.

The most creative and well executed s’mores came from Carlos and Zoe. Their version of a high end candy bar had amazing texture. Even though it was a little sticky, it was perfectly satisfying. Also, the coconut yuzu flavor was bright and engaging. It was a clear winner.

For winning the pre-heat, the pair received an advantage for the main heat, creating a paris brest that incorporated a fresh fruit juice. Zoe and Carlos were able to choose their juice. Given that some of the options were beet and concord grape juice, it was a good advantage to have.

While Carlos was able to choose his juice, it was curious that he picked grapefruit juice. Usually, grapefruit flavors in Food Network baking competitions are not a smart choice. It can be hard to get the balance correct. Either the citrus is overpowering or the flavor is non-existent.

Thinking of the paris brest dessert, it was a technical challenge for the bakers. While pate a choux is used in various desserts, this particular recipe is more than just a well-made dough. It is about careful construction paired with varying textures.

While the mid-challenge nuts twist would add some texture, this component is equally as challenging. Raw nuts may not have a flavor appeal. Over-roasted nuts have a burnt quality. It is almost like the old fairy tale notion, everything has to be just right.

Overall, the majority of desserts were on point. The pate a choux was well-made. The creams were not broken or grainy. Even the flavors complimented each other. Any faults on the plates were either huge or quite subtle.

The two top bakers on Summer Baking Championship episode 3 were Alyssa and Zoe. Two top places are a big benefit for Zoe. Her ability to pick the passion fruit juice helped her paris brest. It was vibrant, in both flavor and color.

Alyssa redeemed herself after her sad eclairs from the previous episode. More importantly, it was her flavor choice that made a big impression on the judges. The caramel apple captures that summer fair fun. It was sweet, gooey, whimsical, and more. Overall, it was a perfect bite and earned her the win, stick and all.

Unfortunately, everyone could have predicted the baker leaving Summer Baking Championship even before the judging round began. Kyle did not finish his dessert. By choosing to fry the pate a choux, he took a huge risk. It did not pay off.

Although Kyle put food on a plate, it was not edible. The inside dough was raw. He had no decoration, did not incorporate the juice, nor did he add any nuts. It was huge miss. Even though he won both challenges in the previous episode, Kyle was eliminated in Summer Baking Championship episode 3.

Could a pattern emerge in Summer Baking Championship? Sometimes winning a challenge can be a blessing and sometimes a food television curse could become the kiss of elimination.

Be sure to watch new episodes of Summer Baking Championship on Food Network Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET or stream on discovery+.