These mini pear pies remind me of apple dumplings, but with a twist! Instead of being wrapped in a sheet of pastry, poached pears are surrounded by a long thin spiral of rough puff, which makes the texture light and delicate. Serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and your guests will sing your praises!
Blood oranges have a short growing season, so I wanted to take advantage of this purple-fleshed fruit while I could. Although the color of the custard doesn't reflect the deep jewel-tones of these citrus gems, if you close your eyes and take a bite, the sweet tangy flavor of oranges excites your tastebuds and fills all your senses with happy thoughts!
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.
Ciabatta is Italian for slipper, which these long, flat loaves resemble. The recipe for this technical challenge is, of course, Paul Hollywood’s. He specified that he was looking for a strong crust with a crisp, floury surface and an irregular crumb structure with big, visible air holes. Designed as a sandwich bread, ciabatta will hold up to the hardiest fillings as well as the heat of a panini press.
Hot cross buns are not as sweet as sweet rolls, but the added fruits and spices give them a flavor profile on par with any holiday bread. I’ve used cardamom in mine to add warmth, while the orange zest and cranberries lend their sweetness. The orange-and-honey glaze gives them just the right finishing touch with both its tangy sweetness and glossy sheen.
The brief for this showstopper challenge was a 3D biscuit scene, so I decided to make something reminiscent of my own childhood, The Sledding Hill. Using gingerbread for the base, I covered it with fondant and meringue "snow," then added gingerbread people and nut-shortbread trees.
This delicate, lacy cookie is traditionally made with almonds and orange flavors, reminiscent of Italian baking, but the use of butter and cream is evidence of its French origins. Mary Berry's version uses a variety of dried fruits and nuts and then, after baking, is brushed with a decadent layer of dark chocolate.