These iconic loaves are synonymous with France. Tearing into the crisp, golden crust to reveal the chewy open-textured interior is an almost sensual experience.
This Rye & Stout Soda Bread is an homage to Irish foods and flavors. A thick slice of one of these rustic loaves goes just as easily slathered with butter and preserves with a mug of tea as it does with a bowl of Irish stew.
These delicate, crispy, wafer-thin cookies, sometimes called elephant ears, beavertails or shoe soles, are made with laminated dough using a technique called "inverse puff pastry." It creates even lighter, flakier results than regular laminated dough.
This German cake is "built" by baking 20 very thin layers, one on top of another, under a broiler. Finally, it's coated in chocolate and decorated with vanilla icing.
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.
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.
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!
This technical challenge uses Paul Hollywood’s recipe for six sweet and six savory pretzels. The savory pretzels are made with traditional pretzel dough sprinkled with coarse salt and sesame seeds before baking. The sweet variety has poppy seeds and orange zest mixed into the dough. After baking, it’s brushed with orange syrup and garnished with candied orange peel.
From the time custard was invented, this magical, golden concoction of eggs, milk and sugar has been intimately tied to pastry, as the name is derived from the French crouste (for "crust") and the Anglo-Norman crustarde, meaning "tart or pie with a crust." These custard tarts feature a simple, sweet short-crust pastry, with the addition of a small amount of ground almonds for a nutty flavor and added crunch. Done right, the custard should come out smooth and creamy, and the crust should be nicely browned (no soggy bottoms!).
While English muffins are fairly simple to make, they do take time. The key to a good flavor and lots of little holes inside is a long, slow rise. Unlike most yeast breads, English muffins are "baked" on the stove, usually on a hot griddle or cast iron frying pan. This makes them nice and toasty on each side, but still slightly squidgy in the middle.