Vol-au-vents are delicate shells of puff pastry that can be filled with almost anything your tastebuds fancy. Some of these are filled with succulent beef tenderloin, and the rest with melted brie and cranberry chutney.
Flaounes hail from the island of Cyprus, where they were traditionally made at Eastertime. The sesame-covered pastry is filled with a golden mound of sharp, salty cheese and studded with plump raisins that give your tastebuds a burst of sweetness when you bite into one.
Taking advantage of seasonal fruits, I made a strawberry-rhubarb frangipane tart, trimming the rhubarb to make a pattern of squares with a strawberry border. To me, this tastes like a summer afternoon in a garden, surrounded by almond blossoms and fruited vines.
Dobos torte is generally made with five to seven thin cake layers filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. My Coffee and Walnut Dobos Torte consists of two tiers of six layers each, one filled with coffee buttercream and one with praline buttercream. The cake is flavored with finely chopped walnuts and covered in chocolate ganache.
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.
The savarin is one of many yeast-leavened cakes that come mostly from continental Europe. My savarin features the bright spring flavors of rhubarb and elderflower. When combined, all the elements of this elegant dessert worked really well together. It was a delicious combination of flavors and textures that made it perfect for a springtime tea.
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.