“A thousand leaves.” That’s the literal translation of mille-feuille. While its elements seem relatively simple, this delicate pastry is greater than the sum of its parts. The beauty of a mille-feuille is in the perfection of each layer, from the crispy, flaky pastry to the silky smooth cream. This technical challenge uses Paul Hollywood's recipe, which utilizes rough puff pastry, raspberry jam, Chantilly cream and fresh raspberries.
For my iced buns, I made a nutmeg-scented roll filled with raspberry jam and almond diplomat cream and frosted with amaretto icing, and a cardamom-scented bun filled with walnut frangipane and Chantilly cream and frosted with maple icing.
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.
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!
Made with enriched yeast dough, viennoiserie are often eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. I used puff pastry to create my Passion Fruit Curd and Cream Cheese Danish, and Spiced Plum and Frangipane Kites.
With changing leaves and sweater weather come fall treats like caramel apples, chai tea and spicy hot chocolate! My 3-tiered cake is an homage to my favorite flavors, ranging from praline and coffee buttercream to spice cake with a salted caramel drip!
This technical challenge uses Paul Hollywood’s recipe for six sweet and six savory pretzels. The savory pretzels are made with traditional pretzel dough sprinkled with coarse salt and sesame seeds before baking. The sweet variety has poppy seeds and orange zest mixed into the dough. After baking, it’s brushed with orange syrup and garnished with candied orange peel.
My Chicken Curry Gala Pie features layers of coconut rice, curried chicken, peas, roasted butternut squash and, of course, a continuous hard-boiled egg throughout. This Signature savory picnic pie is to be served outside the pan, so the pastry must be strong enough to hold up to all those fillings.
The challenge seemed simple enough: Bake a chiffon cake. My plan was to create a yin-yang cake, contrasting the traditional flavors of a black forest gâteau (dark chocolate and cherries) with a lighter version featuring amaretto and almond flavors: a black-and-white forest gâteau. This is a cautionary tale of the cake that almost wasn't.
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!