Translated “old-fashioned nun,” the religieuse a l’ancienne is a towering feat of patisserie consisting of three tiers of éclairs stacked vertically, with disks of shortcrust pastry supporting each tier. On top are two cream puffs, one atop the other, representing the head of the ancient nun. Mine looked more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Mary Berry’s mokatines feature a genoise sponge sandwiching a layer of coffee buttercream, surrounded by almonds and decorated with coffee-flavored crème au beurre, then topped with fondant icing. These tiny cakes pack quite a punch with coffee flavor. But for a coffee lover like me, that's not a problem!
Cream horns are so reminiscent of ice cream cones that I wanted these to reflect my childhood memories of licking ice cream, trying to catch every last drip before it slid down the side of the cone. My first flavor is a classic, Neapolitan. My second flavor is a personal favorite, peaches & cream, which we would make in an old-fashioned ice cream churn on special occasions in the summertime.
Doughnuts — or donuts, as they're more popularly known in the U.S. — have strong ties to Americana, from the Donut Dollies of World War II to the invention of the automatic donut-making machine. So my doughnuts are inspired by another slice of Americana — the state fair. These are my maple-bacon doughnuts and sweet-corn doughnuts with spiced apple filling!
Povitica is a traditional Eastern European holiday bread. The key to its distinctive spirals is to roll the dough so thin it's practically see-through, then spread it with a thin layer of chocolate and walnut filling before rolling it into a sausage-like log that is folded into the pan. This rolling and folding also gives it a cake-like texture and delicate crumb that practically melts in your mouth.
A krantz, or kranz, is like a babka in that it is made of enriched dough swirled with chocolate, cinnamon or a fruity filling. Mine is filled with sweetened orange butter and fresh blueberries, with a hint of cardamom for a spicy warm glow.
The brief for this challenge had three components. It had to be completely dairy-free, it had to be a vegetable-based cake (think carrot or zucchini) and it had to be in a 3D novelty shape. Mine is a red velvet beet cake in the shape of a coconut cocktail on a sandy beach.
The nuts in this particular dacquoise, obviously, are hazelnuts, but that’s just the start of the flavor profile here. The delicately chewy meringue layers are sandwiched with a coffee custard, topped with swirls of chocolate ganache and caramelized hazelnuts, and surrounded by even more chopped hazelnuts to give it a beautiful finish.
Rye has less gluten than wheat, which results in a heavier loaf with a tighter crumb. This recipe yields a smallish, dense but flavorful loaf, reminiscent of what you find in Europe, perfect with smoked fish and sharp cheese for a wonderful midsummer smorgasbord!
Free template! I made this gingerbread Eiffel Tower as part of my challenge to bake through the Great British Bake Off. This was my gingerbread structure for the showstopper challenge in series 3 (The Beginnings on Netflix, season 5 on PBS in the U.S.).