The Great American Baking Show Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: Pies and Tarts Week


On the fourth episode of The Great American Baking Show this year, Mary and Johnny gave to us a Partridge in a Pear Tart and two other challenges.

This week’s episode of The Great American Baking Show opened with the nigh-inevitable Game of Thrones reference. After all, the show airs in the winter here. We see that shout-out, and we’ll raise it another round. Brace yourselves, everyone: pies and tarts are coming.

Michael ended up leaving the competition before the Signature Challenge, since he became ill. As a result, six bakers had two hours to make a meringue pie as the Signature. Yes, blowtorches were involved.

Mary wanted pies in perfect proportion and proper crusts. She also didn’t waste time mentioning soggy bottoms to bakers. Meanwhile, Johnny emphasized the necessity of a well-set and well-thickened filling.

Amanda’s Whiskey Peach Pie. From The Great American Baking Show week 4. Image is a screengrab via ABC.

Signature Bake Results

  • JeremiahPassion Fruit Pie. Pass-ish. Tasted good, but had some issues balancing the meringue and filling.
  • PrachiCoconut Custard Pie. Pass-ish, as her crust was a bit soggy, but had a good flavor.
  • StephanieStrawberry Hibiscus Pie. Pass, with the complaint being too much meringue.
  • JennieChocolate Banana Cream Pie. Pass. Pastry cream stood out.
  • AshlynSpicebush Eggnog Pie. The closest to a fail of everyone here. Too sweet, not well-set, and lots of meringue.
  • AmandaWhiskey Peach Pie. Pass with flying colors, as Mary took a second bite and everything.

For the Technical Challenge, Mary assigned them her Partridge in a Pear Tart. Bakers had 1 hour and 45 minutes. Additionally, bakers had to make the pear-shaped tart without any molds as well as make a frangipane to put below the pears. Before she left, she advised them to make use of fridges and freezers.

Her recipe also didn’t include any advice on how thinly to slice the pears, how to arrange them, or anything helpful like that. She didn’t even mention where the bird was supposed to go!

From The Great American Baking Show Week 4. Image via ABC.

Technical Challenge Results

  • 6th: Jeremiah. Large pear, small bird, and underbaked in the middle.
  • 5th: Prachi. Her pears were haphazard.
  • 4th: Ashlyn. Gaps in the pastry.
  • 3rd: Stephanie. Thick pears, but decently baked.
  • 2nd: Amanda. Lovely flavor, just a bit overbaked.
  • 1st: Jennie. “Beautiful pastry,” said Mary.

In the pre-Showstopper confab, Mary and Johnny put Amanda and Jennie in the front-runner status. Meanwhile, Jeremiah and Ashlyn had slipped towards the bottom.

For the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers needed to make three dozen holiday party appetizers in the form of tartlets. They needed to use two different crusts and two different flavors. Finally, they had just four hours.

Both Mary and Johnny were looking for compact tarts. Mary especially didn’t want a crumbly tart.

Some people pulled out some very interesting flavors and ingredients, like grits, sea urchin, shiitake mushrooms, and more. Mary tried the sea urchin, and she made this face:

From The Great American Baking Show Week 4. Image via ABC.

She turned out to like it, though. Additionally, Amanda taught Mary what exactly pimento cheese is. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch this show just to see the very British Mary Berry react to American things like snickerdoodles and pimento cheese.

Prachi, while baking her tart shells, didn’t actually put parchment paper in, so they ended up being puffy and crumbly. Neither was particularly desirable.

Showstopper Challenge Results

From The Great American Baking Show week 4. Image via ABC.

  • Jennie: Shrimp & Cream Cheese Tartlets / Prosciutto and Date Tartlets. Great presentation, but a little too much pastry on her first round.

Ashlyn’s vol-au-vents. Image from The Great American Baking Show week 4, via ABC.

  • AshlynSpinach Vol-Au-Vents / Grit Tartlets. Those vol-au-vents were toppling, a sure sign of improper folding.
  • StephanieKalbi Short Rib Tarts / Chinese BBQ Shiitake Galettes. Well-folded, well-baked, great flavors.
  • PrachiMathri Tartlets / Vol-Au-Vents with Paneer Filling. One set of tarts was crumbly, even if it tasted good.
  • AmandaPimento Tarts / Carnitas Tartlets. Mary finished the entire pimento tart.

From The Great American Baking Show week 4. Image via ABC.

  • JeremiahSea Urchin Mousse Tartlets / Fig & Goat Cheese Tartlets. He handled that sea urchin flavor well, and definitely pulled himself up.

During the judging discussion, Amanda stayed high, Jeremiah moved up, Prachi moved down, and Ashlyn stayed down. Finally, Amanda won Star Baker, based on three well-done challenges. However, Ashlyn went home.

Next: Jenna Coleman Talks Playing Victoria

Next time on The Great American Baking Show, chocolate will test the bakers, and Johnny will give them an especially tough Technical Challenge.

The Great American Baking Show airs Thursdays on ABC.