Rugelach and tiramisu proved to be the undoing of Dan Raymond on the Food Network's "Holiday Baking Championship" competition.
Raymond, a SUNY Schenectady graduate and adjunct professor, was the baker eliminated on Monday night's show, leaving four remaining bakers to vie for the $25,000 first prize and baking championship.
"This has been an amazing journey," said Raymond, one of nine bakers at the start of the competition. "I had a wonderful time. And I'm ready to go home and get ready for the holidays."
(Read an interview with Raymond.)
Lerome Campbell of Naples, Fla., Douglas Phillips of Ayer, Mass., Sarah Lucia Tafur of Miami and Chantal Thomas of Windsor, Conn., move on to next week's show.
The five competitors were asked to update traditional rugelach with unexpected new flavors in the first half of the hour-long show and then asked to make tiramisu out of the judges' favorite ingredients -- plus maple syrup -- in the second half of the show.
One judge said Raymond's rugelach, which appeared flat instead of rising, had too much fat and sugar, while some liked the flavor.
Raymond then created Coconut Tiramisu with Hazelnut Sponge and Maple Hazelnut Crunch. Nonpareils sat on top of the dessert. Judges said it had strong coconut flavor but "the hazelnut crunch left judges with a bad taste from the nearly burnt caramel," said show host Jesse Palmer.
Raymond, whose dessert the previous week took top honors, was not helped by the fact that the judges were wowed by the creations of Campbell and Tafur, especially. It came down to Raymond and Phillips as the bottom two, and Raymond was told he would not be returning.
Raymond lives in Castleton and owns Zachary's Pastry Shoppe in East Greenbush.