Last Monday, the Holiday Baking Championship said goodbye to the only Canadian. (Holiday Baking Championship)

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

'There are Christmas miracles, look at me'

  • Dec. 5, 2019 12:00 a.m.

It was sparsely filled cherry curd vanilla cupcakes that led to a Malakwa woman leaving a U.S. baking show this week.

“I had so much fun,” said Janet Letendre after the judges told her it was time to return north.

“I’ll keep giving ‘er.”

Letendre was the only Canadian competing on the Holiday Baking Championship, an American show on the Food Network. She had made it to episode five out of eight.

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In the recent episode, the first challenge was turning panettone, an Italian Christmas bread, into an entirely new dessert.

Letendre said she had never tasted panettone before.

“I don’t know what it is. Except that it’s a fruitcake,” she said with a chuckle.

Although the judges said it was simple, they loved the taste. (Holiday Baking Championship)

Letendre decided to brush her panettone in butter, roll it in brown sugar, hollow out the centre and stuffed it with vanilla custard. She then decorated her dessert with sugar cookies.

The judges noted it was the most festive bake.

“When I saw it, I wanted to burst into holiday song,” said Lorraine Pascale.

Another judge, Duff Goldman said although it was simple, the custard was silky and smooth, making it delicious.

Geoffrey Blount, from Myrtle Beach, won the challenge for his panettone mousse cake, which used panettone five different ways: panettone sponge, panettone infused mousse, panettone mille-feuille in the middle, panettone truffle and a panettone tuile on top filled with isomalt.

“This really tastes like panettone but much better,” said Pascale after a fork full.

For the next challenge, the contestants got a pair of pyjamas to inspire a design for a holiday cupcake pull-apart.

Letendre got a pair with ballerinas.

“This is going to be good,” she said. “I know I can pipe this.”

Mid-challenge while Letendre was whipping up sour cream vanilla cupcakes, the contests got thrown a curveball. They had to incorporate a filling.

Letendre was assigned a cherry curd, which was concerning, as curds take time.

“This one is going to be hard,” she said.

Due to the amount of time required for making the curd, Letendre had little time for decorating.

“I’ve never decorated cupcakes so fast.”

When she presented her bake to the judges they noted multiple problems.

“You’ve certainly matched the pyjamas, but I’d like to see a bigger ballerina,” said Nancy Fuller, one of the judges.

“Hopefully it’s absolutely delicious because it doesn’t sound like a real page-turner,” said Goldman.

While the judges liked the cupcakes, they found the filling skimpy.

“It’s not a filling, it’s a staining,” said Goldman.

Along with Letendre in the bottom was Dwight Penney from Pittsburg for his lacklustre designed cupcakes with fondant candy canes.

However, it was time for the only non-American to leave.

“There are Christmas miracles, look at me. I’m a small-town girl sitting here that just did the Holiday Baking Championship,” said Letendre in her final interview on the show. She had tears in her eyes.

As Letendre leaves the kitchen for the last time, the remaining competitors engulf her in a bear hug.

“Goodbye sweetheart,” said Fuller. Letendre blows her a kiss.

After Letendre leaves, the episode fades out with final words from Penney.

“She was awesome.”

There are five out of ten bakers left.

Holiday Baking Championship is on Monday nights at 6 p.m on the Food Network.

After eight episodes, the last one standing will win $25,000. Although Letendre didn’t win, she did get to take home her pair of pyjamas.


 

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