There was garland, there was eggnog, and there was yuletide cheer. You guessed it: it was Holiday Week on the Great Canadian Baking Show.
This week’s episode had possibly the best host introduction yet — Daniel Levy and Julia Chan start the show by walking away from the bakers tent to go on vacation, after mistakingly assuming that “holiday week” was a break from the show. Cheesy? Yes. Did it make me laugh? Also, yes.
Both hosts were particularly delightful this week. The puns were less forced and Levy again proved he had the best job in the world as the baker’s taster.
The first challenge was to create a yule log, or a Buche De Noel, a traditional French dessert that involves rolling sponge cake with layers of cream, with a chocolate coating. The desert should have an equal spiral of cream and sponge, which is difficult to achieve because it requires the baker to tightly roll the cake without breaking it.
Vandana’s classic chocolate yule log with chocolate cream and raspberry flavours was a crowd pleaser. Linda’s pumpkin rendition with caramel cream cheese icing and chocolate bark looked absolutely gorgeous. James tried something different and instead of covering his log in chocolate, he created a bark patterned log — twice as he forgot butter in the first batch. The outside was impressive; however the inside looked a bit squashed, as per typical James style.
The technical challenge was Rugelach, a Jewish cookie that looks a bit like a croissant and has an apricot and chocolate filling. I had a few issues with this technical challenge, but my primary concern was that everyone’s dough was undercooked. I guess even the Great Baking Shows are not exempt from the typical “reality television” mantra that something has to be more challenging so as to create unnecessary drama. For example, not including how much time a treat takes to cook will ensure that absolutely no one gets the task right. Sure, leave them to guess ingredient measurements or how to assemble a dessert, but the time it takes for something to cook is a fact any baker would need to know. It sets the tone for everything else they do. I felt so bad for all the bakers who did the best they could with the information they were given.
The final show stopper challenge was a gingerbread structure. Notice the word “structure” and not house. Bakers were given free reign of what they wanted to create, and it resulted in some truly unique gingerbreads. Vandana’s treehouse for her so was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She had so many small details and the fact that the house sat on a gingerbread tree stump really set her apart. Linda also created a truly stunning barn with stained glass windows and an iced roof.
Terri’s animal sanctuary was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, her windows melted and she overdid it with decorations. Sabrina also didn’t have a great week – her Rockefeller Center was a bit simplistic, despite it being one of the tallest structures.
At the end of the day Terri, who wowed us with her family-themed desserts on a weekly basis, was sent home this week. Vandana was named star baker for the second week in a row!
Next week will be the semi finals. I am beyond sad this show will be ending soon. I’ve grown to love each one of these bakers. Everyone should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments. I’ve loved Terri since day one – she loves to add little fun details to her bakes that make her treats stand out.
But, someone has to go home each week, right?! Next week should be a crazy whirlwind.