Episode 5, GBBO 2013, technical challenge

Tuiles

Tuile is the French word for tile, and these thin, delicate cookies are often curved in the shape of a French roof tile. They can be either sweet or savory and are usually served as a garnish, or tuiles can be molded into serving dishes for ice cream or other desserts.

Episode 5, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

A Traybake

The challenge for this episode was to produce a traybake with layers of complementary flavors and good textures, each element made from scratch, and cut into identically sized squares or rectangles. I chose a pastry-based recipe, a rhubarb frangipane tart.

Episode 4, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

A Double-Crusted Fruit Pie

Ideally, I would have waited until the pie was completely cooled to cut into it, but what tastes better than a piece of warm, freshly baked pie? Cutting into it too soon meant that the piece fell apart and the juices ran all over the bottom of the pie plate when I took it out, but I didn’t care! The flavors of the peaches and the warmth of the spices (especially the ginger) made for a great-tasting pie.

Episode 3, GBBO 2013, technical challenge

Floating Islands

Îles flottante, eggs in snow, floating islands … a rose by any other name … would still be a dessert consisting of poached meringues floating on a sea of crème anglaise, a vanilla-scented custard thin enough to pour (also called pouring custard).

Episode 3, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

A Trifle

Despite its humble beginnings, the trifle has become quite an elaborate affair. Nothing to be trifled with, really. It is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate — with layers of sponge or biscuits, fruit and custard, and either jam or fruit-flavored gelatin, all topped with whipped cream or meringue and decorated with fruit or nuts or crumbled biscuits.

Episode 2, GBBO 2013, technical challenge

English Muffins

While English muffins are fairly simple to make, they do take time. The key to a good flavor and lots of little holes inside is a long, slow rise. Unlike most yeast breads, English muffins are "baked" on the stove, usually on a hot griddle or cast iron frying pan. This makes them nice and toasty on each side, but still slightly squidgy in the middle.

Episode 2, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

Breadsticks

The popularity of grissini spread throughout Italy and even as far away as France, where Napoleon, in the early 1800s, established a stagecoach courier service between Turin and Paris to provide him with a regular supply of what he dubbed “les petits bâtons de Turin” (the small sticks of Turin). For my grissini, I chose a basic recipe, adding my own touch by using a homemade “everything bagel” seasoning mix to flavor the breadsticks.

Episode 1, GBBO 2013, Signature Bake

A Sandwich Cake

Orange and cranberry is a classic combination, and the spices make the whole cake smell and taste very Christmasy. Having just discovered cranberry curd this holiday season, I wanted one more excuse to incorporate it into my baking repertoire.

Episode 10, GBBO 2012, technical challenge

Fondant Fancies

Fondant fancies are little cakes, often layered with jam or marzipan, covered with a thin coating of fondant and usually adorned with icing or sugar paste flowers or other intricate decorations. Watching The Great British Bake Off bakers making their fondant fancies was quite entertaining, until I had to do it myself. Trying to create 25 identically sized, uniformly coated miniature cakes can be extremely frustrating, not to mention messy!

Episode 10, GBBO 2012, Signature Bake

A Pithivier

For this signature challenge, Paul and Mary specified a pithivier with a savory filling. It being the end of summer, I had plenty of tomatoes, a few sweet peppers and a freshly made batch of pesto on hand. I love how roasting vegetables brings out the sweetness by caramelizing their naturally occurring sugars. It does the same to garlic, mellowing its flavor.