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.
Originally called Omelette Norwegge by the French, Baked Alaska was renamed this side of the Atlantic to mark the purchase of the Alaskan territory by William Seward. My Baked Alaska was inspired by the frozen Italian treat spumoni and features a pistachio joconde sponge, chocolate ganache and cherry almond ice cream. It takes cake and ice cream to a whole new level!
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!
My Raspberry-Lemonade Saucy Pudding forms a custard-like layer underneath a citrusy, light sponge — almost like a soufflé — while it bakes. I used Meyer lemons, which are sweeter and less acidic than regular lemons, and raspberry coulis for extra flavor and a colorful flair. For just a little effort, these puddings look impressive and pack a flavorful punch!
This showstopper challenge was to make a filled loaf. It could be stuffed, rolled, twisted, braided—you name it. But it had to look good as a centerpiece, too. I settled on a tear-and-share featuring the Mediterranean flavors of my favorite pizza — pesto, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers — with a side of roasted tomatoes, feta cheese and balsamic reduction.
This showstopper challenge was for a filo pie, either freeform or baked in a tin, and could be either sweet or savory. My pie is based on the flavors in an Indian samosa.
From the time custard was invented, this magical, golden concoction of eggs, milk and sugar has been intimately tied to pastry, as the name is derived from the French crouste (for "crust") and the Anglo-Norman crustarde, meaning "tart or pie with a crust." These custard tarts feature a simple, sweet short-crust pastry, with the addition of a small amount of ground almonds for a nutty flavor and added crunch. Done right, the custard should come out smooth and creamy, and the crust should be nicely browned (no soggy bottoms!).
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.
This was a complicated challenge. The brief was to create a four-layer meringue dessert with “exciting fillings,” in the words of Mary Berry, “that will complement the meringue.” Once I had decided on the elements of my dessert, I laid out my plan: Two layers of dacquoise alternating with two layers of chocolate French meringue separated by coffee buttercream and fresh, whole raspberries.
What’s the difference between crème caramel and flan? Apparently nothing, when you’re talking about the dessert baked with a golden caramel sauce that tops a creamy, light yellow custard base when it's turned upside down and popped out of its ramekin. But this technical challenge is for crème caramel, and since I have pledged to tackle every challenge set before the bakers in the Great White Tent, I will do my best to create the best crème caramel I possibly can.