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The Not-So-Great Defector Bake Off Loses Its Cool In Custard Week

Ice cream cones from the show.
Screenshot via Netflix

Welcome to a new series called The Not-So-Great Defector Bake Off, where Kelsey and Chris attempt to complete the technical challenges from the newest season of The Great British Bake Off in their own home kitchens, with the same time parameters as the professional-grade bakers competing on the show.

The timer eventually sounds. You can’t stop it. For every minute of however long the timer has given you—in the case of Week 7 of The Not-So-Great Defector Bake Off, it was two hours and 45 minutes—you have battled like hell, frenzied, spinning and sprinting and cursing, flinging utensils and ingredients all over the place, at times managing two or three distinct precision cooking projects simultaneously, right at the edge and sometimes over the edge of your capabilities. Skill and risk and focus and 100 percent of your available physical energy have been poured into the task. And then, wherever you stand, however distant you are from the intended outcome, the timer sounds, and it’s over. Whatever you did, however unlovely and unpalatable your creation, you have for sure labored determinedly and with your whole self to complete a very difficult challenge.

The experience of working this hard and well should come with a feeling of satisfaction. Let me tell you, often it does not. That is a surprising takeaway from attempting the technical challenges of The Great British Bake Off. The finished product itself ultimately has an outsized role in determining your level of satisfaction, and it is brutally unforgiving. A bake that never comes together feels at least as miserable as all other failures. A bake that is 90 percent successful sneers at you with that 10 percent imperfection. There simply is not enough time to produce a perfect bake, and even if you did, the luck involved would echo around in your battered skull, reminding you of how close to disaster you were led by your own inadequate skills. And even if the bake is perfect, because you didn’t have a say in the construction of the recipe there’s not even any guarantee that you will enjoy eating it.

The feeling at the end of one of these technical challenges is usually not one of accomplishment, or success, or satisfaction. It is the feeling of having narrowly survived an ass-whooping. And then you immediately have to turn around and clean up an utterly demolished kitchen.

This was Custard Week on The Great British Bake Off. The technical challenge was to make Prue Leith’s Pistachio Praline Ice Cream Cones, entirely from scratch. Ice cream! Yum! Welcome to Hell.

Chris Thompson: Kelsey, how did you feel when you learned that we would be making ice cream and ice cream cones this week?

Kelsey McKinney: Thank you so much for asking. I felt as if Paul Hollywood had personally slapped me across the face. How did you feel? 

CT: I had some confidence, because I’ve made ice cream before. But then I saw that the equipment required a waffle cone maker and cone rollers, and my enthusiasm dropped away entirely. This shit makes me crazy.

KM: See, I had only tried to make ice cream one time and failed dramatically, so I was feeling less confident about that. I also was very annoyed by this because, as readers may have noticed, none of those things is baking!!!! But you very quickly found a way for us to make the cones without those tools, which I’m sure we will come back to. This was great because I would rather die than buy a waffle cone maker.

CT: I would like to emphasize that once again we have been denied an opportunity to, you know, bake something during this baking challenge. And it’s not like there are no baked custards! 

KM: I would have loved to fail at making a flan! That would have been fun! Who cares if they’ve made it on the show before? The show is about BAKING, theoretically! 

CT: Yeah! A saving grace here is that I love ice cream very much, I love pistachios very much, and pistachio ice cream with little crunchy bites of praline in it sounds delightful. I was excited about having some nice homemade ice cream in my freezer.

KM: This is so funny! I actually do not love ice cream very much on account of me having stress-induced lactose intolerance. But I fucking love a waffle cone, and pistachio ice cream is my favorite kind of ice cream! So I was a little excited about the potential end results even as I cursed god (Prue). 

CT: Shall we get to it?

KM: If we must!

Ingredients and Shopping

KM: I have a confession to make at the top of this week’s blog, would you like to hear it? 

CT: Certainly.

KM: My aunt’s very kind friends (Rebecca and Mark) are readers of Defector dot com, and they became so enraged by my shenanigans and bad behavior that they shipped a whole big ol’ bag of caster sugar to my house!!!!!!!! 

CT: Whoa!! Is this in any way a violation of Blogger Ethics? Checking the tablets now and I think not.

KM: I think it could be counted as a regression of my personality, but I’m not sure! I was not very happy to have received the caster sugar on account of my ongoing bit of refusing to buy it, but I did use it. What was I supposed to do, not use it? Rebecca and Mark must have thought of this. They are sneaky. 

CT: I’m sure it performed much as your makeshift caster sugar has performed.

KM: We’ll get to it in the next section. It was not my friend, I will say that. Did you have all of the required ingredients this week, Chris?

CT: I was not able to find pistachio oil, which I think I have never seen before. I used walnut oil, reasoning that because it is a nut oil it is at least spiritually similar to pistachio oil.

KM: Me either! To me, it is very beautiful that I chose to buy almond oil for the same exact reason. We are in sync. After so many weeks in the tent, this is a beautiful coordinated dance. 

CT: Yes! Also I had to make a second trip to the store because the large quantity of coconut oil that had lived in my kitchen for ... a very long time had finally expired. But this was fortuitous, because I was able to find refined coconut oil, which is neutral and thus hews to the recipe more closely than the unrefined stuff collecting dust in my pantry. 

KM: This was so funny to me, when you had to go to the store for the coconut oil, because I use so much coconut oil in my day-to-day cooking that I somehow had refined coconut oil right next to my three other coconut oil jars in my little Lazy Susan of oils and shit. 

CT: I was excited to see the coconut oil in the recipe because my wife went through a phase a few years back of making chocolate shell and coconut oil fudge, and so I was familiar with how it behaves in this kind of recipe. 

KM: Ooooooooooh! I want the chocolate shell. 

CT: Hmm, Kelsey, I feel that you in fact made the chocolate shell when completing this week’s technical challenge. It’s just coconut oil and melted chocolate.

KM: Wow! I am an artiste!!!! Though it’s unclear if I did that. We can get to that in a bit. 

Stage One: Measuring, Mixing, Chilling, and Churning

CT: I was very nervous when I started my timer this week, because this challenge has SO MANY steps. Just an incredible number of things to do and manage. But I knew that the first part would be to make an ice cream base and then chill it. Prue’s recipe calls for a crème anglaise base. Have you ever made crème anglaise before, Kelsey?

KM: I want to apologize to the readers for this week’s column being late. I have had to go to 500 book meetings this week and so what scared me most about this challenge was the fact that the time was TWO HOURS AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. Because I did not have this kind of time, I was forced to do this challenge at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Awful vibes. Also I had never made crème anglaise, so I was terrified. 

CT: Even across Slack I could feel that this challenge had saddled you with a terrible burden.

KM: I was sad about this, actually! I love doing the bakes and going CHAOS MODE. But I was not thrilled about being forced to make ice cream, which I have failed at before for unknown reasons. Anyway, how did you begin the 500 steps in this recipe? 

CT: I was super afraid of the crème anglaise, just because all custards are finicky and the time sensitivity in this challenge would make it very punishing to have to redo the custard. I started by dissolving the caster sugar in whipped egg yolks, and heating up the milk and cream in a small saucepan. This got away from me a little bit due to my old nemesis, which is heat control. My milk boiled and I had to cool it and wait a while before I felt comfortable using it to temper the egg yolks.

KM: I can state that it was in fact punishing to redo the custard. How hot was the milk supposed to be exactly? I had truly no idea what to do, so I basically did the same thing I’ve been doing for all the custards this season: make milk hot and add to eggs and sugar. 

CT: Yes, I mean that’s basically it. I don’t know what the temperature should be, but I reasoned that nothing good would happen if I added something boiling hot to egg yolks. I figured a simmer was the absolute hottest temperature I could allow, and even then I would need to proceed very gently.

KM: Well, aren’t you a smarty pants? I did not have this impulse and dumped my milk in the bowl, whisked, and returned it to the stove. It (incredibly) took me 10 whole minutes of that softly cooking while I ran around doing other things to realize I had made scrambled eggs in milk. 

CT: Oh no! No!! So you had to do it over?

KM: Mhm. I had to do it over. I only had nine eggs left so I was like, Well, THIS HAS TO BE IT. But this turned out to be a mistake that I could not recover from, long-term. 

CT: Yeah, the long timer to me indicated that cooling and freezing the custard into ice cream would be the main challenge. It’s scary to feel that you have to hurry along with something like custard, which can be super finicky and alchemical, but also to know that you will probably not have time to finish properly if you have to start again.

KM: I FLEW through the custard the second time, but it worked because I ladled the hot milk into the eggs and that was calmer for the eggs, I guess! I was behind the rest of the challenge though. 

CT: I also used a ladle to add hot milk to the eggs. Then when that was all incorporated I put the mixture back into the saucepan over low heat, because it was very watery and would need to thicken up in order to be called a “custard.”

Ladling hot milk into egg yolks and sugar.
My wife took this photo.Chris Thompson/Defector

KM: Aha! So this was my mistake the first time! How long did you cook it to make it less watery? I feel I may have not cooked long enough, as I was terrified of making the gross eggs again. 

CT: I don’t know exactly how long but I will say that it thickened surprisingly quickly, so that I very hastily yanked it off the heat. Here was another potential inflection point: We had to bring it down from steaming hot to a reasonable temperature before it could be churned, and time was very much a consideration.

KM: Once mine coated the spoon back I was like, “That’s enough for you!” And dumped it into the bowl inside the ice bath! 

CT: The ice bath! I did not read the instructions very carefully, and my normal way of cooling an ice cream base before churning would be to just sock it into the fridge for a very long time. Normally, in a technical challenge, you accelerate cooling by going from fridge to freezer, but this presented two problems, for me: One, my freezer in my kitchen is crammed full of the sorts of shit that piles up when you have a small child in your home. Two, my small basement freezer has several pounds of good frozen seafood and meat in it, and I was not willing to take the chance on defrosting this stuff by putting steaming hot custard in there alongside it.

So I too did the ice bath, but because I am not a careful reader, I thought I had invented it.

KM: Wow you have two freezers!!!!!??? I loved this part of our conversation before the bake, when you were so concerned about your fancy seafood. I would have done the same! Prue can make us miserable but she cannot hurt us more than we hurt ourselves. I’m proud of you for inventing the ice bath! Ingenuity!!! When did you realize it said ice bath on the instructions? 

CT: Literally more than 24 hours after I finished this challenge. I am a stupid moron. The whole time I thought I had outsmarted the instructions.

Crème anglaise in an ice bath.
Do not use this method without my permission, as I have invented it!Chris Thompson/Defector

KM: Oh my god, Chris! Hahahahahah! 

CT: So I used a large mixing bowl full of salted ice water, gently put my bowl of custard into it, and left it on the counter until it was no longer steaming. Then I stirred it a bunch and put the whole setup into the fridge, to accelerate the cooling. Here the instructions say to make the praline, but I was afraid of this step, too, and so instead I made the pistachio paste, which was extremely straightforward. I just threw pistachios and walnut oil into the food processor and let it run until it got pasty. 

KM: I learned about the salted ice water from you so I also did that, and then I also moved the whole thing to the fridge. The pistachio paste I made by using a spice grinder to make the pistachios really fine and then added oil slowly! I only needed like three tablespoons of oil! 

CT: Oh that’s a much nicer method, I bet your paste came out way smoother and better than mine. This never even occurred to me.

KM: I made this decision mainly because my food processor is my aunt’s from the early 2000s, so it is large and has so many parts and I hate cleaning all of them! My paste worked perfectly. My one triumph! 

Surprisingly, this is the best looking thing I made!

CT: I’m super impressed by that, that’s your good cooking instincts shining through. Did you make the praline next or were you ready to start churning by then? Honestly a lot of this was a frantic blur for me.

KM: I actually made the praline at some point while I was also making my second custard, I think. But the problem was that because the caster sugar was golden I could not use my normal color test for caramel!!!! So I pulled it perhaps three seconds too early. 

CT: Wait! They sent you golden caster sugar? Rebecca and Mark??

KM: Yes!

CT: Oh man, so in a recipe that called for regular caster sugar, you were honor-bound to use golden caster sugar.

KM: NO! Did it?!?! FUCK! 

CT: I’m sure it was fine! But I would say that your long struggle with the dreaded caster sugar has not yet been resolved. 

KM: Wow. I just went back and looked at the recipe and sure enough, I can’t read!!! I’m disappointed. But it did work. My praline just wasn’t as crunchy as I wanted. I also want to admit here that I toasted my pistachios for the praline because I was mad we didn’t get to use the oven. I don't know if that was right. 

CT: Oooh, that’s nice. I did not do this, but my ice cream would’ve for sure been better if I had. So you melted the sugar, threw in the toasted pistachios, and then what? I wasn’t very confident in how to proceed from there, and the sugar was like RAPIDLY hardening. 

KM: I couldn’t find my silicon mat even though I’m sure I had one! Actually, what I did was add water to the sugar to melt it, then when it was caramel, I poured it on a baking paper that I sprayed for some reason with canola oil and then I pressed the pistachios into it. It worked fine! But my caramel was undercooked so it didn’t get crunchy-crunchy like I wanted. 

CT: Ah, that was smart. I didn’t use water with my sugar, I just melted it dry in a saucepan. This worked great but it also really freaked me out how quickly it started to harden after I added the pistachios. Like, I would stir it and then the spoon would pull out a thread of caramel that would INSTANTLY harden. I managed to dump it all out onto a silicone mat and then I really didn’t know what to do so I threw a second silicone mat on top of it and just pressed down really hard to spread it out. It was very uneven but it was all I could come up with. It all happened with terrifying speed.

KM: Oh! I like that! That was a good idea, though. I was too scared to melt the sugar by itself. Wow!!! Honestly you might be a genius. You pressed it! That’s a gorgeous idea. I love it. 

CT: Thank you!!! I then shoved this into the fridge, which I think was an excessive step but I needed it out of my line of sight because it was freaking me out. At this point I decided that my custard was sufficiently cooled and I ran to the basement to get the ice cream maker. It’s worth noting here that approximately 43 minutes into this bake, I had already made crème anglaise and invented the ice bath, made pistachio paste, and made pistachio brittle. A lot was happening.

KM: I did not put mine in the fridge. I left it sitting atop the bucket that I use for compost for a full half hour while I made my pistachio paste and checked on my cremé and tried not to cry. All this time, I was listening to a playlist my friend sent me called CVS Core, so also my stereo was playing like Nickelback and Shania Twain. It was a real vibe. 

Stage Two: Churning, Freezing, More Mixing, and Improvising Cones

CT: Oh my god. CVS Core. How long did your final batch of crème anglaise wait before churning, do you think?

KM: I did not have a ton of time, and I knew that I would need to put it in the freezer forever, so maybe 15 minutes. I made sure it was cooler than room temperature, but honestly, it was not much cooler than that. I was already feeling defeated, so I just began churning it. How long did yours wait?

CT: I’m checking the Slack record and I really have no idea. Maybe like 30 minutes? I will say that it felt cold to the touch when it went into the ice cream maker. My biggest concern with making ice cream is that the mixture won’t be cold enough and it will warm up the bowl, and then it will be impossible for it to ever become real ice cream. I may have waited just a bit too long, in the end, to proceed to churning. Once I started churning, I went ahead and whipped together the cone batter. This was a whole stupid farce of a project.

KM: Wow! Thirty minutes is a long time! I want to talk about what kind of ice cream maker you used, if you don’t mind? I had the KitchenAid ice cream bowl attachment, which is part of why I had to wait so long to do this challenge because I forgot that you have to freeze that bowl for 24 hours beforehand. At this point, I want to blame the bowl, but I know that I am the problem. 

CT: I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker. The bowl also has to be frozen, but we just keep the bowl in the basement freezer at all times, like that’s where it lives. At any moment I can just decide to make ice cream and I have a nice frozen bowl ready to go. It’s amazing, in retrospect, that I never do it.

KM: Wow. What a beautiful life, filled with the possibility of ice cream. Okay, so your bowl came out of the freezer also, and your cremé went into it and it churned, yes? How long did you churn it for? I churned mine for 35 minutes, after which it was still soup and I felt like a failure! 

CT: I think about 30 minutes? I feel like maybe the whole difference here is that my mixture was fully cold when I put it into the bowl, whereas yours was maybe just a smidge too warm.

Ice cream churning in a machine.
Frosty and green.Chris Thompson/Defector

KM: I think the difference here is that I made scrambled eggs first, which was not part of the protocol or the instructions! How silly of me! 

CT: OK, yes, I can see how that would affect the outcome.

KM: Did you begin your cones while it was churning? Can you tell the people about our Alternative Method of Cone Making™? 

CT: Yes. So, we obviously did not have waffle cone makers, as we are not FREAKS. I figured we had a choice between finding an alternative method or skipping the challenge altogether, but frankly we are too near the end of this season to risk being eliminated at this stage. 

KM: Yes, we want to get to the final! At this point, skipping the challenge wouldn’t have allowed us to move on! You were right, and I liked the method you found. The woman in the video was very calming. 

CT: So I found a video from this nice Irish lady who has a delightfully straightforward way of making ice cream cones in a skillet. 

Basically you just make a very thin circle of batter on a non-stick skillet and then very carefully flip it and cook both sides, and then you hand-form the cones while they’re still, ah, very super duper hot.

KM: Because by the time I began the cone process I was in a strange mood (saddened by my ice cream soup, frantic because of the time, thrilled because my terrible son Alec Bohm had just hit a home run!), I was very happy to be making the cones. The batter was straightforward, and the process was kind of like crepes. I was feeling so silly so I kept saying “really really thin pancakes” like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights as I spooned my dough onto my pan. 

This cone turned out to be too small.

CT: I would like to push back ever so gently against the characterization of the batter as “straightforward.” I truly had no fucking idea what I was doing with these ingredients. I didn’t know what texture I was looking for, what order to add them, or anything. I saw “egg whites” and because I really do not know what egg whites are for in cooking if you are not whipping them into peaks, I whipped them into soft peaks.

KM: Oh my god, did you!? Wow! That is not what I did but in retrospect it makes sense. I wish I had done that! I whipped mine by hand until they were frothy and a little bubbly and then I just kind of combined everything! Now that you are saying soft peaks, I realize that I probably thought this was “straightforward” because I did it wrong. I assumed the egg whites were a binding agent. 

CT: I think the likelier takeaway is that I was making this needlessly complicated. I whipped the egg whites to soft peaks, then dumped in the sugar and salt and … whipped to stiff peaks. Why? For what purpose? Then I just threw everything else into the mixer and let it go.

KM: No, I think you were right! I think that was the right thing to do! I felt like there was such little batter when I was spooning mine. But I did not really care enough at this point to be “thinking” so I guess I don’t have any regrets here. My batter tasted good, which was fun. 

CT: I also worried that I had so little batter to show for my efforts, I even took the bowl into the living room to show my wife. She shrugged in the manner of one who knows more than she can say, and I became grumpy and stormed off.

A bowl of batter.
Sure, fine, I guess?Chris Thompson/Defector

KM: I had so little time left by the time I got to the batter that I did not even think about any of these things. I got my batter together and immediately began making the cones. This went surprisingly well except for the fact that the cones were so fucking hot. Did you have this problem? 

CT: Oh yes. But I didn’t start making the cones right away. I heated up the skillet and then realized that I could get caught mid-cone needing to haul my ice cream out of the machine and into the freezer, and then all hell would truly break loose. So I waited until my ice cream was finished churning before I started making cones.

KM: Wow. I have no memory of when my ice cream went into the freezer. But it must have gone in while I was making cones because I remember vaguely snapping some of the praline and putting it in the bowl so I could pour my soupy ice cream into it and mix it up. I had to run the bowl to the freezer because my cone was still cooking. Luckily, my cones cooked kind of slow (like a very very thin pancake) since I had the stove on minimal heat, so this was okay. 

CT: The praline really fucked me up. I pulled my ice cream out of the maker, spooned it into these fun little quart-sized ice cream carton things, and ran it down to the freezer, and I completely forgot to add the praline. I did not realize this mistake for some time.

But I found the cone-making to be very satisfying. My cones were all lumpy and differently sized, but they were unmistakably cones, suitable for holding ice cream.

KM: After all of this was said and done, I realized that because my ice cream was so soupy, it probably would have been a better idea to spoon it onto a baking sheet and freeze that. But that’s not what I did. 

I loved making the cones. That part, I would absolutely do again. Was it a little weird to make the cone, fumble with it because it was 500 degrees, and then whirl my arm in a big circle so it would harden and my hand wouldn’t burn? Yeah, it was a little weird! But the cones turned out adorable. Only one of them was too small. 

Wow! It's beautiful!

CT: I made little tinfoil cone-shaped holders for my cones and positioned them inside juice glasses, so that I could set down the formed cones before they burned my damn hands off.

A finished cone, resting inside a foil holder.
It's libel and defamation to make wisecracks about the disgraceful state of my crumb-and praline-strewn cooktop. Chris Thompson/Defector

KM: Wow! That was so smart. We are really chaotic evil and lawful evil today. My hands already don’t have a ton of heat feeling from all of my other bad decisions, so the whirling method worked and then I could just put the cones on a cookie cooling rack. By this point, I had given up all possibility that I would be filling all of the cones. I did not want to waste the good ice cream when I knew it would not be set! 

CT: At some point in here, immediately after bragging to you that this challenge could be handled easily via solid time-management practices, I realized that I’d forgotten to add my praline to my ice cream. I ran downstairs, grabbed the ice cream out of the freezer, ran back upstairs, spooned a bunch of it back into the bowl, yanked the praline out of the fridge, smashed it with a tenderizing hammer, and began stirring it into the somewhat frozen ice cream. I got enough of it into there that I was comfortable returning the ice cream to the freezer, but I had lost some very valuable freezing time.

KM: You did do that, yes. It made me feel optimistic until I read the messages immediately after that. This is such a stressful and yet beautiful string of messages to receive: 

CT: I had also left my final cone on a hot skillet during this correction, and burned it terribly. I went from feeling cool and collected to feeling like absolute shit.

KM: Noooooo! You should have fucked up at the beginning like me because by this point, I was so amazed that even one part of my bake had gone right that I was gleefully taking photos of my cones. At some point while I was making the cones, I also melted the chocolate in the microwave because my kitchen was a disaster and the thought of using the double boiler upset me too much. This turned out fine. I dunked my cones as I went. 

CT: I was so flustered after the praline incident that I burned my first batch of melted chocolate in a small saucepan, which I then had to empty out and wash before making a second batch. I still had plenty of time but I was coming apart badly and my kitchen was like a war-zone.

KM: NO!!!!! This” bake” was really created to hurt us, personally. I was so flustered by my kitchen and by the fact that my kitchen has fruit flies right now for an undetermined reason, that I took a break during my cone making to use the bug-killing zappy racket I have to zap a bunch of fruit flies. While I did this, CVS Core blessed me with The Fray’s “How To Save a Life.” I love art. 

CT: I think it’s just the season for fruit flies right now. I also have some of those assholes floating around in my kitchen, and it’s especially upsetting when the kitchen is in a condition of chaos.

KM: Yes! I felt like I was gonna lose my mind. At this point I messaged you to bitch about how the people on the show have people to help with their dishes, because I would have traded my left arm for that. 

CT: Yeah! It’s a huge advantage to not have to do your own washing and cleaning!

Dunking the cones was a nice satisfying little task that reset my psyche a little bit. All that was left after this was to make the chocolate drizzle and then proceed to assembly. 

Stage Three: Assembly

CT: At what point did you finally realize that your ice cream would not fully freeze before the end of the time?

KM: I would say the minute I poured it out of the churning device and into the bowl for the freezer. At no point while the bowl was in there did I believe that it would become ice cream. Did you have faith in yours after the praline incident?

CT: I was still somewhat hopeful. I decided that I would begin assembly with 10 minutes left on the timer, and when I pulled my ice cream I knew instantly, even before opening it, that it was not fully frozen. It was somewhere between regular ice cream and soft-serve ice cream, texture-wise. This was a bummer, but not actually a huge bummer. I figured I would just dump it all back into the carton and into the freezer after doing the assembly, and let it freeze the rest of the way.

KM: So you made all of your cones, though? All six of them? 

CT: Well, I made five of them. One of my cones is humongous, and I knew the runny ice cream would just pour out the bottom, so I didn’t fill that one. But the assembly was very simple. Two scoops of ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and a crumble of praline. This took a total of like two minutes.

KM: Yeah, I waited until there were five minutes left on the clock to check my ice cream because I know it does not take long to scoop ice cream. I have an ice cream scoop. I had already put it in a cup of hot water in case the ice cream was magically solid. When I opened the freezer, it was ice cream around the edges of the bowl where the ice cream soup was touching the bowl and still liquid in the middle. I was sad, but not that sad because I expected this, so I only made one cone. I did not want to waste the ice cream! I knew it would be perfect in another hour, and I WAS RIGHT.

CT: Ugh, that’s just crushing. I think you made the right choice to just make one cone.

The Finished Product

CT: So, Kelsey, how was the one finished ice cream cone?

KM: You know, Chris. They always say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is one: 

CT: Oh no!

KM: I am laughing very hard looking at this photo now. Look how bad it looks!

CT: I will say, the cone looks amazing. I love that you dipped the bottom of it, and the color is beautiful.

KM: I thought it was cute to dip the bottom. I fed this terrible cone with its mushy ice cream to my poor husband and told him it was a “deconstructed pistachio waffle cone.” But he really liked it. The ice cream tastes great and so does the cone. How did yours turn out? 

CT: My cones were great! The cones themselves are nowhere near as lovely as yours. Unbelievably, the only photo I have of all of my cones together is from before I put ice cream into them? But here is a photo of one lovely cone, with ice cream in it, fully finished:

Chris's finished ice cream cone.
Truly a towering achievement.Chris Thompson/Defector

KM: It is beautiful! Look at that gorgeous drizzle! The praline looks so crumbly and satisfying. I would pay $10 for this cone and I would love it with all of my heart. I also like this method of using a mug to support it. That was very wise. What did you do with all six of your cones when you were done?

CT: Four of them are still in the fridge, sitting in little mugs like this one. Weirdly, I am not actually a big fan of cones, and so I have not eaten one of them, but my wife and child crushed two of them. I had a few bites, it’s definitely very yummy with the chocolate on there.

KM: I’m hearing: Cones are for the girls. I ate one of my cones very happily once my ice cream was fully frozen and the Phillies were up by five runs, a full hour after the timer went off. 

CT: It occurred to me as I was doing this bake that next week—well, this week—is the quarterfinal of Season 13 of The Great British Bake Off. Wow! Can you believe we’ve made it so far?

KM: I can’t believe it! We are so talented! What a blessing it is that the technical is only one of three judged competitions and we are (presumably) so good at the other two that we have advanced without issue. 

CT: The quarterfinal this year is Pastry Week, and as fans of this show will know, the quarterfinal is always the last test before Patisserie Week, which determines who will compete in the season’s grand finale. What do you think of our chances of making it all the way to the final?

KM: I think our chances are 100 percent. However, if we do not get to fucking bake something next week, I may be sent to jail for burning the tent to the ground, so only time will tell! What do you think?

CT: I think the other contestants are in a world of trouble. We can’t be stopped!

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