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So I’m coming into Episode 4 feeling relieved that I am safe to bake another day. Caketastrophy is behind me and I am reminding myself that I have 2 wins. In fact, with Susan gone, I’m the baker with the most wins so far. That puts a pep in my step.
The mini challenge is announced, Cranberries… in a can… ok, I can work with this. I love cranberries, they have a wonderful tart flavor that pairs nicely with so many things. It is a perfect holiday flavor. I decide to make a cranberry crumb bar. There’s not a lot of time, and the crumb bar has the same ingredients for the bottom as it does for the top. I know I can make this quickly, like really quickly. So I decide to make some ice cream to go with it. White chocolate ice cream. Did you know I made ice cream? Well, I did. You didn’t see it in the episode though did you. In fact my whole inspiration for the challenge was the first snow fall. I found this cute mitten cookie cutter, and decided to cut my bar in the shape of a mitten, and then have this cute white ball of ice cream to go with it. Throwing the first snow ball. It was really cute, one of the first platings I did that Nancy really liked… but you didn’t see it did you. I was like, “where’s the ice cream I made?” Guess it got bumped for time… probably to make more room for the crisp-off between Melody and Padua. Padua wins by the way, with a crumble made of apples, pears, walnuts, caramel, cranberries and a beautiful anglais.
So main challenge time. There’s a bunch of harvest fruits and vegetables on the podium and I’m thinking Padua gets to pick his flavor and the rest of us have to battle it out for the rest of the ingredients.
But oh no, Padua gets to assign the ingredients… should have known. I’m thinking for sure he’s going to give me the corn, because I’m so “corny.” Alas, pomegranate. REALLY!!! Who bakes with pomegranates. The only thing pomegranate I’ve ever had is pomegranate juice. So I have think on my feet. I decide to make a clafoutis, which is a baked custard which traditionally is made with tart cherries with the pits still in. I think the pomegranate seeds will be a nice substitute for the cherries, and the tartness will be comparable. However, clafoutis batter takes about 5 minutes to make and 25 minutes to bake, so in a 90 minute challenge, I have to make something else. I think sorbet. I strain some pomegranate juice and pair it with mandarin puree which creates this beautiful pinkish color. It reminds me of a sunset and I start to think of the Thanksgiving that Rob and I went to Mexico, which is where I proposed. Boom, inspiration!
Sorbet also takes about 5 minutes to make, so I think I need to make something else. I decide to make a brown butter tuille to put on top of my clafoutis to have a crunchy element and I make tapioca pudding. I’m thinking a nice pomegranate caramel swirled in the coconut tapioca pudding will be a great addition to the dish. Good thing too because about this time is when Bobby comes out with a twist… marshmallows must be added to our dish. I grab the bag of coconut marshmallows and add them to my tapioca pudding to thicken it up. So lets recap… I made a clafoutis, a tuille, tapioca pudding, pomegranate caramel, and pomegranate mandarin sorbet. 5 things.
The judges don’t think my plate looks very holiday, but I am telling a very personal narrative, so I don’t care. Lorainne loves my clafoutis and tapioca pudding, and Duff chugs my pudding like a champ. All 3 judges loved my sorbet… that I made… did you know I made a sorbet?! Despite my tropical looking plate, I still made top 3. I’m pretty happy with that. I pushed myself with a difficult ingredient and made a lot of tasty things, including sorbet!