This German cake is "built" by baking 20 very thin layers, one on top of another, under a broiler. Finally, it's coated in chocolate and decorated with vanilla icing.
These two versions of baklava give a nod to the multicultural background of this ancient dessert. The pistachio-orange is a traditional combination, while the macadamia, coconut & lime baklava incorporates Hawaiian flavors. Just as every country that claims baklava as its own has added its own distinctions, I've incorporated both new and traditional flavors in mine.
Doughnuts — or donuts, as they're more popularly known in the U.S. — have strong ties to Americana, from the Donut Dollies of World War II to the invention of the automatic donut-making machine. So my doughnuts are inspired by another slice of Americana — the state fair. These are my maple-bacon doughnuts and sweet-corn doughnuts with spiced apple filling!
Povitica is a traditional Eastern European holiday bread. The key to its distinctive spirals is to roll the dough so thin it's practically see-through, then spread it with a thin layer of chocolate and walnut filling before rolling it into a sausage-like log that is folded into the pan. This rolling and folding also gives it a cake-like texture and delicate crumb that practically melts in your mouth.
A krantz, or kranz, is like a babka in that it is made of enriched dough swirled with chocolate, cinnamon or a fruity filling. Mine is filled with sweetened orange butter and fresh blueberries, with a hint of cardamom for a spicy warm glow.
The bakers in the Great White Tent were given the challenge of making 24 éclairs — 12 each of two different flavors. I chose to make Key lime éclairs topped with toasted Swiss meringue and chocolate éclairs filled with a stracciatella cannoli filling.
Kouign-amann (pronounced queen ah-mon) is, IMHO, the “queen” of pastries. A cross between a croissant and a morning bun, this laminated little-piece-of-heaven-on-earth hails from Brittany, in northwest France. The main difference between kouign-amanns and croissants is a layer of sweet, crispy caramelized sugar on the outer edges of the pastry.
Almost every culture has its own version of a hand-held savory pie. One such hand pie is the empanada. These are filled with caramelized onions, figs, bacon and goat cheese. Served hot or cold, these pocket-sized pies make an excellent main course for a picnic or an easy snack on a road trip.
Dobos torte is generally made with five to seven thin cake layers filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. My Coffee and Walnut Dobos Torte consists of two tiers of six layers each, one filled with coffee buttercream and one with praline buttercream. The cake is flavored with finely chopped walnuts and covered in chocolate ganache.
A favorite of three Swedish princesses in the early 20th century, the prinsesstårta has become a modern classic. Delicate layers of sponge cake, raspberry jam and cream are covered by pastel green marzipan and crowned with a single fondant rose. This is the technical challenge that inspired me to Bake Through the Bake Off.