“A thousand leaves.” That’s the literal translation of mille-feuille. While its elements seem relatively simple, this delicate pastry is greater than the sum of its parts. The beauty of a mille-feuille is in the perfection of each layer, from the crispy, flaky pastry to the silky smooth cream. This technical challenge uses Paul Hollywood's recipe, which utilizes rough puff pastry, raspberry jam, Chantilly cream and fresh raspberries.
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.
Flaounes hail from the island of Cyprus, where they were traditionally made at Eastertime. The sesame-covered pastry is filled with a golden mound of sharp, salty cheese and studded with plump raisins that give your tastebuds a burst of sweetness when you bite into one.
No matter how you spell it ("pita" or "pitta"), these ancient flatbreads are pretty versatile: fill them, wrap them, or dip them. Of the two varieties--Greek pitas or pocket pitas--mine turned out more like the pocketless kind, but they're still delicious!
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.