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.
Ciabatta is Italian for slipper, which these long, flat loaves resemble. The recipe for this technical challenge is, of course, Paul Hollywood’s. He specified that he was looking for a strong crust with a crisp, floury surface and an irregular crumb structure with big, visible air holes. Designed as a sandwich bread, ciabatta will hold up to the hardiest fillings as well as the heat of a panini press.
Hot cross buns are not as sweet as sweet rolls, but the added fruits and spices give them a flavor profile on par with any holiday bread. I’ve used cardamom in mine to add warmth, while the orange zest and cranberries lend their sweetness. The orange-and-honey glaze gives them just the right finishing touch with both its tangy sweetness and glossy sheen.
This challenge for the bakers in the Great White Tent was to make 24 petits fours: 12 sponge-based and 12 biscuit-based. I decided to make mini Bakewell tarts and tiny tiramisu cakes.
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).
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.
I decided to make the best fruit tart I could muster using the building blocks of some of the best pastries on the planet—pâte sucrée for the base, crème patissiere for the filling, and beautifully arranged and gorgeously glazed fresh fruits and berries on top.
Harry Potter loves treacle tart so much that he smells it when he is in the presence of the love potion Amortentia. Treacle tart is also so quintessentially British that its main ingredient, golden syrup, originated in the U.K. and is still sold under the original brand name—Tate & Lyle. When I opened the bottle it smelled a lot like pancake syrup, but when I tasted it…Mmmmm! It had a sweet buttery flavor unlike anything I’d ever tried before. I can see why British expats pine for it here in the U.S.