Two different types of sweet European buns. That was the brief for this technical challenge. I chose saffron-infused St. Lucia buns and poppy seed snails, known as Mohnschnecken.
The couronne is similar to the king cake, or Roscón de Reyes, which was traditionally served on Epiphany to celebrate the coming of the Magi to meet the infant Jesus. This version uses an enriched dough with a sweet, fruity filling that is shaped into a circle like a crown, or, in French, couronne. A warm apricot glaze gives it a golden sheen, followed by a thick drizzle of rich, white icing and a generous sprinkle of sliced almonds for a rich, royal teatime treat!
This challenge was for a sweet yeasted bread, traditionally served at teatime, often flavored with fruits and spices. My loaf is a cherry and chocolate chip bread. I used glacé cherries to try and recreate the flavors of one of my mom's favorite confections, chocolate-covered cherries, in a tea bread.
When I think of the thin, flaky pastry surrounding a strudel filling, it reminds me of one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres served at fancy cocktail parties: spanakopita triangles! So I decided to make a strudel with a very similar filling—the fresh flavors of sautéed spinach, leeks and onions seasoned with lemon zest, nutmeg, fresh basil, thyme and a little bit of dill. I also used a combination of feta, parmesan and ricotta cheese.
For such a noble name, the queen of puddings is a rather humble combination of custard fortified with breadcrumbs, topped with a layer of jam and crowned with peaks of meringue (another theory on the origins of its name).
For this Signature Challenge, the bakers had to make two kinds of sponge puddings. They could be baked, boiled or steamed, but they had to be individually portioned, and each had to be served with its own accompaniment (a sauce or other topping). I decided to make a traditional sticky toffee pudding, mostly because I’d never tried one before and I wanted to know how it tasted. For my other pudding, I chose a simple rhubarb steamed pudding in order to use some of the rhubarb that’s been growing like wildfire in my side yard.