This Dessert Had Every Great British Baking Show Contestant Struggling

Ah, The Great British Baking Show! The good-natured yet surprisingly addictive baking competition has had its competitors desperately staring at the oven since 2010, and a decade later, it's still going strong. As anyone who has watched the show can attest, the unlikely concept of an amateur baking contest has produced some incredibly alluring reality drama as the contestants all try to create their most delicious, technical cakes and pastries in order to woo the judges and win the season. It may not be all flour, sweat, and tears, but it's often surprisingly close. There's even the occasional scandal, such as the time the show made a mess of Japanese culture

The ongoing season 11 has seen its share of baking-themed drama, too, as the show's five remaining competitors were tasked with baking an obscure treat from the 17th century — that also happened to be a particular favorite of judge Prue Leith (per Digital Spy). As you can probably guess, things didn't go too well. "Sussex pond pudding is my absolute favourite pudding and they made a complete mess of it," Leith commented after the challenge.   

But what is this mysterious, ultra-complex dessert that had every Great British Baking Show contestant struggling?

The Sussex pond pudding challenge turned out to be too challenging

The Dessert Week of The Great British Baking Show got intensely technical, but the challenge that sent the competitors on their knees had nothing to do with complex geometrical shapes or molecule shenanigans. Instead, they had to make two Sussex pond puddings, which are sweet, old-timey suet puddings that are filled with butter and sugar. Curiously, they also have a whole lemon inside.

On paper, this might not sound so difficult once you've gotten over the "entire lemon" part. In practice, however, having a 17th-century recipe thrust upon them shook the remaining five competitors pretty badly. "I mean, does anybody even eat this in 2020?" one of them wondered.

Despite initial worries, the bake seemed to go rather well for everyone ... that is, right up until the moment they put the puddings on the plate for judging, and the majority of them deflated and started leaking. Some even collapsed into pieces. 

In the end, contestant Laura won the ill-fated challenge, but the Sussex pond pudding-loving Leith had to concede that the winning effort was "not that much better than the rest." All in all, one can't help but feel that enthusiastic home bakers won't be trying this recipe in a hurry — and if they do, they can be proud if they get it right.