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.
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.
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."
Scones, Victoria sandwiches and lemon tarts are all historically British bakes. While this "back to basics" challenge may seem simple enough, it takes a lot of time management skills to juggle all three at once. Mine didn't turn out perfect (bubbles in the custard, scones too pale?), but I was proud of the results. Judge for yourself how well I did!
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.
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.
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.
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.
These mini pear pies remind me of apple dumplings, but with a twist! Instead of being wrapped in a sheet of pastry, poached pears are surrounded by a long thin spiral of rough puff, which makes the texture light and delicate. Serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and your guests will sing your praises!
Although it may not qualify as an authentic tiramisu, Mary Berry's version of this iconic Italian dessert still features sumptuous layers of creamy mascarpone, a tender sponge soaked in coffee and brandy, and a generous sprinkling of grated dark chocolate. Now that's amore!