Episode 8, GBBO 2013, Showstopper

A Dairy-Free Novelty Cake

The brief for this challenge had three components. It had to be completely dairy-free, it had to be a vegetable-based cake (think carrot or zucchini) and it had to be in a 3D novelty shape. Mine is a red velvet beet cake in the shape of a coconut cocktail on a sandy beach.

Episode 8, GBBO 2013, technical challenge

Hazelnut Dacquoise

The nuts in this particular dacquoise, obviously, are hazelnuts, but that’s just the start of the flavor profile here. The delicately chewy meringue layers are sandwiched with a coffee custard, topped with swirls of chocolate ganache and caramelized hazelnuts, and surrounded by even more chopped hazelnuts to give it a beautiful finish.

Episode 8, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

A Wheat-Free Loaf

Rye has less gluten than wheat, which results in a heavier loaf with a tighter crumb. This recipe yields a smallish, dense but flavorful loaf, reminiscent of what you find in Europe, perfect with smoked fish and sharp cheese for a wonderful midsummer smorgasbord!

Episode 7, GBBO 2013, Showstopper

Puff Pastry

Because the week I made these fell toward the end of Wisconsin strawberry season, I wanted to celebrate this short but oh-so-flavorful season with strawberry-themed pastries: strawberry mille-feuilles with basil-infused mascarpone cream, strawberry Nutella turnovers and chocolate pecan palmier "butterflies" with strawberry hearts.

Episode 7, GBBO 2013, Technical

Religieuses

Its name means “nun” in French, and this popular pastry is found in patisseries and boulangeries all over France. Made of pâte à choux and filled with pastry cream, two buns, like little cream puffs, are stacked on top of each other and decorated to look like nuns dressed in their habits.

Episode 7, GBBO 2013, Signature

A Suet Pudding

Roly-poly puddings are rolled up like a Swiss roll and filled with jam, dried fruits, or treacle and breadcrumbs. At one time, because roly-poly was often steamed in an old shirt sleeve, it was also called shirt-sleeve pudding, dead man’s arm or dead man’s leg. My roly-poly is filled with an apricot-walnut filling and decorated with candied walnuts.

Episode 6, GBBO 2013, showstopper

Sweet European Buns

Two different types of sweet European buns. That was the brief for this technical challenge. I chose saffron-infused St. Lucia buns and poppy seed snails, known as Mohnschnecken.

Episode 6, GBBO 2013, technical challenge

Apricot Couronne

The couronne is similar to the king cake, or Roscón de Reyes, which was traditionally served on Epiphany to celebrate the coming of the Magi to meet the infant Jesus. This version uses an enriched dough with a sweet, fruity filling that is shaped into a circle like a crown, or, in French, couronne. A warm apricot glaze gives it a golden sheen, followed by a thick drizzle of rich, white icing and a generous sprinkle of sliced almonds for a rich, royal teatime treat!

Episode 6, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

A Sweet Tea Loaf

This challenge was for a sweet yeasted bread, traditionally served at teatime, often flavored with fruits and spices. My loaf is a cherry and chocolate chip bread. I used glacé cherries to try and recreate the flavors of one of my mom's favorite confections, chocolate-covered cherries, in a tea bread.

Episode 5, GBBO 2013, showstopper

A Biscuit Tower

I really wanted to capture the essence of a treasure box with this biscuit (i.e., cookie) tower, or the delight a young child gets upon opening her mother’s jewelry box — all those glittering beads and sparkly jewels! And now that it’s done, I just can’t get enough of it!