Episode 8, GBBO 2014, Signature Bake

A Sweet Fruit Loaf

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.

Episode 7, GBBO 2014, Showstopper

Éclairs

The bakers in the Great White Tent were given the challenge of making 24 éclairs — 12 each of two different flavors. I chose to make Key lime éclairs topped with toasted Swiss meringue and chocolate éclairs filled with a stracciatella cannoli filling.

Episode 7, GBBO 2014, technical challenge

Kouign-Amann

Kouign-amann (pronounced queen ah-mon) is, IMHO, the “queen” of pastries. A cross between a croissant and a morning bun, this laminated little-piece-of-heaven-on-earth hails from Brittany, in northwest France. The main difference between kouign-amanns and croissants is a layer of sweet, crispy caramelized sugar on the outer edges of the pastry.

Episode 7, GBBO 2014, Signature Bake

Savory Pastry Parcels

Almost every culture has its own version of a hand-held savory pie. One such hand pie is the empanada. These are filled with caramelized onions, figs, bacon and goat cheese. Served hot or cold, these pocket-sized pies make an excellent main course for a picnic or an easy snack on a road trip.

Episode 6, GBBO 2014, Showstopper

Dobos Torte

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.

Episode 6, GBBO 2014, technical challenge

Prinsesstårta

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.

Episode 6, GBBO 2014, Signature Bake

A Yeast-Leavened Cake

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.

Episode 5, GBBO 2014, Showstopper

Three-Tiered Pie Tower

The inspiration for my three-tiered pie tower comes from the turducken, which is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Rather than debone and stuff three kinds of poultry, I made a separate pie for each bird, dubbing my creation “a poultry excuse for a pie tower,” otherwise known as a Fowlty Tower. While the turkey pie is the epitome of comfort-food-in-a-crust, the duck pie is a gourmet feast of flavors. The chicken curry pie offers a nice contrast to the other two — the warmth of the curry offset by the slightly sweet mango chutney.

Episode 5, GBBO 2014, technical challenge

Mini Pear Pies

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!

Episode 5, GBBO 2014, Signature Bake

A Custard Tart

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!