Like any good supervillain and/or reality TV judge, Paul is an easy target for Hollywood ire. In the soft program of television – The Great British Bake Off — Hollywood plays bad cop to co-judge Prue Leith’s good cop, stubbing her toe into freshly baked bread and spoiling the delicate Swiss rolls as cracked and dry, even though they were lovingly made by retired NHS workers who bake them every Sunday. In the morning with his grandchildren. Hollywood is the kind of judge that reality television was made for: with a laser stare and a button-down shirt. But no matter how irritating his reaction makes people, the audience and the bakers can’t help it. Everyone still wants to impress Paul.
One way to find catharsis is to scream angrily at the screen as Hollywood criticizes another absolutely delicious Black Forest gateau within an inch of its life. Next? Become a judge yourself. This week, Hollywood releases bake, His first cookbook in five years and a compendium of more than 80 recipes he calls “my best recipes for the classics.” oh? We will be its judges.
In an effort to put the judges themselves to the test, six Eater editors with intimate experience both eating and baking American desserts set out to test some of Hollywood’s most American dishes. Were they accessible or were the instructions slimmed down as a technical challenge? Did the ingredients make sense? Was the process correct and was the result delicious? Were there any wet bottoms, or worse, underbakes? In a snafu, Eater editors were from recipes originally used Bakeis the UK version, so ingredients like Bird’s Custard Powder had to be specially-ordered and fine-grained caster sugar substituted for regular sugar, a more standard American ingredient.
“A good bake is a good bake no matter where it’s baked,” Hollywood wrote in an email to Eater. ‘ are curious about what they can transform and expand into recipes that stand the test of time. Sure, sure.
But the question remains: Is Hollywood itself worthy of a Hollywood handshake?
Key lime pie
Over email, Hollywood told me his favorite American recipe for baking key lime pie. “Was in Miami and made it with a chef there and loved it,” he wrote. This description is short, sweet and to the point, like a recipe for Hollywood Key Lime Pie. The UK version I originally read called for digestive biscuits or hobnobs, which, if you can believe it, I already had, but once I had access to the US version, I was relieved to see that Hollywood knew what it was: a graham cracker crust. or bust. The actual telling is whether he called for actual key limes or just regular limes, the latter being a common suggestion given the limited regional reach of key limes. What do you know? “Here I adapted the recipe for regular lime,” he writes.
The thing about key lime pie is that most people can cook it and that’s why it’s so good. All you need is an egg yolk whisk with a can of sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lime zest, and voila. You have a perfect summer dessert in very little time. I appreciate that Hollywood’s recipe has less than seven actual steps—that’s just the right number to complete a key lime pie. Because of Hollywood’s call for simplicity, the result tasted like key lime pie—tart and creamy with a buttery crunch from the graham cracker crust. However. When Hollywood told you to “whip heavy cream and load it into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch fluted tip,” I only did it because I imagined getting scolded by him. no am doing In the future, I’ll do what I always do and just dollop a dollop of whipped cream on top of the pie. the american way — Dena Evans, staff writer and Eater Philly editor
Paul Hollywood Apple Pie was far from my best. Of course, it could be my fault. I was cooking from a version of the recipe that used British measurements and ingredients, so it felt like a typical American apple pie from the get-go. I had to make exchanges and adjustments. In the recipe I was working on, Hollywood called for Braeburn apples, caster sugar, and something called custard powder. I swapped Braeburns for Granny Smiths, opted for granulated sugar, and ordered custard powder from Amazon, only to open a canister of powder to realize it was essentially cornstarch.
It turned out that there was a fully Americanized version of the recipe that I should have been using, which actually calls for cornstarch. I chose the correct apple variety, but found that for some reason it wasn’t a one-to-one switch and I used one less apple than called for. But even if I had done everything right, I’m not convinced it would have been a good pie, or at least not the kind of apple pie I’m used to. The crust, which included two tablespoons of powdered sugar, was difficult to work with. The corned beef, sprinkled on top of the bottom crust to protect the bottom from the batter, wasn’t the hack Hollywood promised. The recipe also called for making apple stock with leftover apple peels and cores and cinnamon sticks, which added a lot of time but ultimately little flavor. And it may have been due to the off-apple ratio (pink ladies were the second variety in the game) but the resulting sweet, savory filling was more tart than (almost) healthy. It worked well as an ice cream topping, but for my time and money, I’d go back to Nicole Rooker’s Sour Apple Pie (not really sour!) from her cookbook. startled. That’s an apple pie that needs flavoring. – Monica Burton, Deputy Editor
A take on what Mr. Hollywood calls the “All-American Hero of Bake”—blueberry muffins—are delicious and flavorful, and just the kind of sweet I want for breakfast with my coffee. However, there’s just one problem: it’s not a muffin. The golden, blueberry-studded domes that result from this recipe are, in fact, some hybrid between scones and Southern-style biscuits, baked in a muffin tin, with blueberries inside. How does it come? Well, first he eschews oil, which is frequently used in American muffins, for butter—lots of it—which gives the dough more flavor. That’s true! But that makes it less like a muffin. Equally un-muffined? The batter (I don’t call it batter) is mixed by working the butter into the flour with your fingers and pouring the wet ingredients into the well in the middle. I added more blueberries, a move that I feel any natural-born muffin eater on this side of the pond would agree with. Still, despite not being an actual muffin, what came out of the oven was good, even great, and less cloyingly sweet than the American classic. Paul Hollywood invented the bisquenfin, and I’m on it. – Lesley Suter, Special Projects Editor
New York Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake
I’m not the target audience for Hollywood’s New York cheesecake. I live a few blocks from Juniors, the chainlet that inspired Hollywood to create this recipe. City Bake series. So I can walk 15 minutes to get a slice or spend the better part of a day baking this brownie-cheesecake mashup. It starts with a sponge base (like Junior’s), adds a layer of chocolate brownie batter (Hollywood’s addition), then rolls in cheesecake batter (Junior’s). After an hour of baking in the fridge and four more, it turned out great, even with my mistakes (the water bath got into the tinfoil I had wrapped around the pan; the top got too brown). The cheesecake had a lactic smack on the tastebuds and the brownie was as rich as the ganache, but they played surprisingly well. Perhaps it was thanks to the sponge, which remained doggedly fluffy under the wet layers. If you can while away a day in the kitchen (or you’re pining for cheesecake from the other side of the Atlantic), bake it—just plan to share. Junior’s serves its cheesecake in mountain slices, but I can’t imagine it being more than a thin slice of ultra-sharp presentation. – Nick Mankal-Bitel, editor
Note: A 9-inch springform pan will not fit in a 9-inch baking dish for a water bath, so get a larger pan or bend a 9-inch tinfoil pan, like I did.
Of course, I was skeptical about the potential of these brownies, because I’ve seen Paul Hollywood regularly bastardize brownies under his own auspices. The Great British Bake Off. So I imagined that this recipe would commit another crime, involving a thick and unnecessary layer of frosting or Italian meringue. And of course, the recipe headnote prepared me for the worst: “If I do say so myself,” writes our man, possibly wearing a trademark smile that makes him resemble a fancy-fist cat, “these are the best brownies you’ll ever have. Taste.” ” Oh, you say yourself? Surprised, Mr. But you know what? These are actually pretty good brownies. First, they are extremely chocolaty, due to almost a pound of chocolate (semi-sweet, bitter and milk). Second, they’re reasonably rich: here are two whole sticks of butter, bound with a small amount of flour. Apart from a sprinkling of cacao nibs, they reject head-scratching decorations. I personally don’t think nibs are necessary, in part because it costs $9 to buy a bag that you’ll use exactly one spoonful of, and the textural contrast and flavor they contribute are negligible. All in all, these brownies fall on the rich-but-funny end of the spectrum: You can eat a couple without feeling like you’re going to die. And I appreciate that they have a nice crackly top and a soft, semi-crispy interior. If these aren’t the absolute best brownies I’ve ever tasted, they’re the ones I’d make again, minus the nibs. – Rebecca Flint Marks, Home Editor
This is not a pie. It’s a tart. It is baked in a 9 inch tart tin. You’ve heard of the US-UK recipe mix-up, right? I was pretty sure Paul said to use a tart tin for the pecan pie because the British don’t really have American style pies. They make them in tart tins. I begged Diana for the US recipe as soon as I found out. The only ingredient swap was molasses for black treacle. I started reading the instructions: “Line a 9-inch (23 cm) loose-bottomed tart pan” — um, okay. For the record, this is important: American dessert pies have angled sides and are served out of the dish, while tarts are straight-sided and unmolded. Now you know. Doesn’t Paul know? He should do it. Not a fan of pecan pie, I dread making it for weeks. I shouldn’t have: This pecan tart is one of the best things I’ve baked this year. Credit goes to the golden syrup and black treacle in the UK version of the recipe I followed; The flavor here was deep and warm and not just corn syrup. The pastry is also a keeper: easy to make, easy to roll, and easy to finish with a clean, sharp edge, the result of baking with the dough overhang cut off before filling and finishing. Wait for the whole thing to cool, and you can get a clean cut. If not, who cares? It’s good enough to eat with a filling spoon; It is a pudding, after all, in a very broad British sense. It’s definitely not a pie, but that’s the only thing about this recipe—a technicality, really—that makes me think Paul deserves the win here. Ice cream is completely unnecessary. – Rachel P. Crater, Senior Copy Editor