In my quest to make a perfect crème brûlée, I tried different ratios of cream to milk and egg yolks to liquid until I came up with the ideal combination. I wanted to find out why my first batch failed, and, if possible, come up with a foolproof method, so I could share it with you.
Who can forget the famous lion bread sculpture from the 2015 season of The Great British Bake Off? That's what inspired me to make this sun-moon medallion bread sculpture, featuring a dark rye moon and turmeric-basil bread for the sun, surrounded by pesto and mozzarella stuffed rolls for the sun's rays.
These iconic loaves are synonymous with France. Tearing into the crisp, golden crust to reveal the chewy open-textured interior is an almost sensual experience.
This Rye & Stout Soda Bread is an homage to Irish foods and flavors. A thick slice of one of these rustic loaves goes just as easily slathered with butter and preserves with a mug of tea as it does with a bowl of Irish stew.
These delicate, crispy, wafer-thin cookies, sometimes called elephant ears, beavertails or shoe soles, are made with laminated dough using a technique called "inverse puff pastry." It creates even lighter, flakier results than regular laminated dough.
Biscotti, meaning "twice-baked," are crunchy biscuits ideal for dunking in coffee, tea, or if you want to be even more authentic, Vin Santo. Mine are studded with candied ginger and flavored with orange zest and cardamom, with chopped almonds for added crunch.
Black Forest cherry cake is made of multiple layers of chocolate cake filled with cherries and whipped cream and garnished with additional cream, cherries and chocolate. My retro interpretation incorporates a chocolate chiffon cake and dark sweet cherries with the traditional German flavor of kirschwasser.
Mary Berry's walnut layer cake features three layers of light, moist sponge with bits of walnut throughout, filled with vanilla buttercream and covered with what she calls "boiled icing" but what I recall from my childhood as "seven-minute frosting."
Madeira cake is lighter than a pound cake but denser than a Victoria sponge. Traditionally flavored with lemon zest, I've chosen to use blood oranges and jasmine green tea for a bright, slightly floral and not too sweet accompaniment to afternoon tea.
The pièce montée was the pièce de resistance for the 2014 season of the Great British Bake Off. I dubbed mine The Magic of Halloween. It features a dark chocolate cake with cherry filling topped with a pumpkin cake, which in turn is topped with a croquembouche. The profiteroles in the croquembouche are filled with orange pastry cream, drizzled with dark chocolate and spiraled with spun sugar. Spiced macarons and gingerbread black cats round out this tower of treats.