Episode 8, GBBO 2015, showstopper

Religieuse a l’ancienne

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!

Episode 7, GBBO 2015, showstopper

Charlotte Russe

With chocolate ladyfingers enfolding a mango Bavarian cream, topped with a layer of passionfruit jelly, this Charlotte Russe would have been my entry for the showstopper challenge in Victorian Week on the 2015 season of The Great British Bake Off.

Episode 4, GBBO 2014, showstopper

A Filled Centerpiece Loaf

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.

Episode 6, GBBO 2013, showstopper

Sweet European Buns

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.

Episode 5, GBBO 2013, showstopper

A Biscuit Tower

I really wanted to capture the essence of a treasure box with this biscuit (i.e., cookie) tower, or the delight a young child gets upon opening her mother’s jewelry box — all those glittering beads and sparkly jewels! And now that it’s done, I just can’t get enough of it!

Episode 10, GBBO 2012, showstopper

Chiffon Cake

The challenge seemed simple enough: Bake a chiffon cake. My plan was to create a yin-yang cake, contrasting the traditional flavors of a black forest gâteau (dark chocolate and cherries) with a lighter version featuring amaretto and almond flavors: a black-and-white forest gâteau. This is a cautionary tale of the cake that almost wasn't.

Episode 9, GBBO 2012, showstopper

A Choux Pastry Gâteau

Only the French would name a pastry after a bicycle race, but I messed with their tradition a bit. Originally, the Paris-Brest was filled with praline cream. I decided to mix it up and make a fruity variation, with mango curd as the base layer, followed by mascarpone cream and blueberries.

Episode 8, GBBO 2012, showstopper

A Gingerbread Structure

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.).

Episode 7, GBBO 2012, showstopper

An Enriched Celebratory Loaf

For my “enriched celebratory loaf,” I chose to make a king cake. I used a babka-like dough, and my filling was inspired by the colors traditionally found on top of a king cake: green for faith, purple for justice and gold for power. Combining lemon, lavender and pistachios with a poppyseed filling gave it an almost Middle Eastern quality.

Episode 6, GBBO 2012, showstopper

Showstopper Strudel

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.