Series Synopsis

New series premieres Monday 5 September at 17:00 CET (20×30)

Baking virtuoso Anna Olson is back, showing off her out of this-world baking prowess, Anna presents a new series of wonderful dishes, which will inspire master and rookie bakers alike. From comfort food to the intricacies of classic Danish pastries, Anna is on top form with some of her very best recipes. On the menu are an Italian blood orange syrup cake, crunchy and tender biscotti, blackberry meringue tart and snickerdoodle cookies, all before a marzipan masterclass culminating in the preparation of a decadent Battenberg cake. Take a bite of Anna’s scintillating and tongue-tingling creations, as she opens the doors to her kitchen for a baking tutorial like no other.


Anna Olson – Bake

Series schedule & Episode synopsis

12/09/04 17:00 2 1 Cobblers and Crisps Cobblers and crisps are great comfort food! This episode will show the fundamentals of these two desserts, as Anna showcases how to bake an apple crisp and a bumbleberry cobbler.
12/09/04 17:30 2 2 Danishes Follow Anna’s masterclass in Danish pastry and learn the technique to achieve a balance of a rich dough with a hint of flakiness to create a classic Danish pastry.
12/09/05 17:00 2 3 Flourless Cake This episode showcases some classic and contemporary cakes made using ingredients other than flour, including an Italian blood orange syrup cake, a French chocolate tart and flourless vanilla cupcakes.
12/09/05 17:30 2 4 Biscotti A staple cookie in most coffee shops, from the classic crunchy biscotti to a more tender version, Anna explains everything you need to know about how to bake perfect biscotti.
12/09/06 17:00 2 5 Bars A widely popular baked treat, from healthy granola bars to decadent dessert like Nanaimo bars, Anna provides a masterclass in how to make the perfect indulgent delight.
12/09/06 17:30 2 6 Caramel Making a perfect caramel will open the patisserie door to so many desserts and delights. Anna showcases traditional caramel apples, a classic crème caramel and French apple tart.
12/09/07 17:00 2 7 Pâte Sucrée Sugar pastry (known as pâte sucrée) is a delicate and fragile pastry due to its high sugar and butter content. Anna gives her tips and tricks as she makes frangipane tart, blackberry meringue tarts and snickerdoodle cookies.
12/09/07 17:30 2 8 Marzipan Marzipan is simply made from ground almonds and sugar, yet it has so many uses in the dessert world. Anna explains how to make perfect marzipan, bakes a simple marzipan fruit cake, and creates a classic Battenberg cake.
12/09/08 17:00 2 9 Italian Meringue Anna explains how to achieve the strength and structure for a classic Italian meringue, creating an Italian nougat, coconut marshmallows, and a simply stunning Key lime meringue tart.
12/09/08 17:30 2 10 Icebox Cookies An icebox cookie must be chilled before it is sliced and baked. Anna showcases a number of traditional styles including checkerboard icebox cookies, coconut caramel sandwich cookies, and delicious vanilla icebox cookies.
12/09/11 17:00 2 11 Buttercream The most popular of frostings, buttercream comes in all flavours, and also in a variety of techniques. Anna demonstrates the basic styles of buttercream frosting and the cake styles that suit each type best.
12/09/11 17:30 2 12 Petit Fours Part of the French Petit Fours world, these tiny cakes are truly something special. Anna bakes citrus madeleines, hazelnut friands and pretty Petits Fours – the little glazed two-bite cakes that came long before cupcakes.
12/09/12 17:00 2 13 Flat Breads Flat breads are a common bread style around the world, with each culture having its own style. Anna showcases a number of the most popular flat breads, including pitta bread, Naan bread, and crispy seed Lavash.
12/09/12 17:30 2 14 Savoury Pies Anna showcases the dough recipes that best suit savoury fillings, and adapts common pastry principles to achieve a flaky and tender savoury result. Join the masterclass to create a leek and Gruyère quiche, a chicken pot pie and a tourtière.
12/09/13 17:00 2 15 Sponge Cakes Light and airy, sponge cakes embody that great balance of technique and creativity. Anna shows how limitless the options are, baking a green tea Genoise sponge cake, a Dobos torte and the classic Black Forest cake.
12/09/13 17:30 2 16 Bagels and Pretzels Bagels and pretzels can be categorised under the same umbrella, since they share the common technique of being boiled before they are baked. Anna showcases the classic bagel, a soft pretzel twist and some quick honey bagel bites.
12/09/14 17:00 2 17 Batter Cookies Batter cookies start with a soft batter that is then shaped, piped or formed before baking, and are a classic part of a pastry chef’s repertoire. Anna showcases Langues de Chat, French Tuile cookies and almond florentines.
12/09/14 17:30 2 18 Bread Pudding Anna provides a bread pudding masterclass, baking a pumpkin gingerbread bread pudding and a banana caramel bread pudding with sweet and salty peanuts.
12/09/15 17:00 2 19 Trifle To call a dessert a trifle it must have layers of cake, cream and fruit, and that leaves plenty of room for creativity. Anna creates a classic English sherry trifle, a lemon blueberry and coconut trifle and triple chocolate cherry trifle.
12/09/15 17:30 2 20 Cake Cookies Exactly as they sound, cake cookies are soft and moist like a cake, but are baked on a tray like a traditional cookie. Anna demonstrates the cake-like batter and how to achieve the best, fluffiest results.


Anna Olson – Profile

Anna Olson Originally born in Atlanta, Georgia, Anna grew up in Toronto, but found her way back to the U.S. to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University and work in Colorado and New Orleans. While initially trained in the world of savory cooking, Anna is equally recognized for her abilities in the pastry kitchen, having worked as a professional pastry chef since the mid ’90’s. She is proud to call Niagara home, and has lived and cooked here for over 15 years.

Anna’s culinary philosophy is based on a common-sense approach of cooking and baking with the seasons as well as respecting the ingredients, the technique and the process of sharing with others through food. Most of all, cooking and baking should be fun!


Anna Olson – Exclusive Q&A

1)Why have you decided to focus on baking and pastry?

As a pastry chef, baking is not just a career for me, it’s a true passion.  Baking is much more than the end-result.  For those who are avid home bakers or are interested in baking, they know it’s about the process, that time spent in the kitchen.  For many, baking is a hobby, and a few hours in the kitchen challenging yourself with a new baking recipe is immensely gratifying.  Baking is more technique driven than cooking, and the sweet result is meant to share, a further part of that sense of satisfaction.


2) It is believed, that pastry and baking are not very good for the health, do you think that it is possible to make it healthier?

I very much abide by a balanced and healthy diet myself, and I believe sweet treats, in moderation can be a part of this.  Baked goods and sweets are always meant as an extra and a treat, and if made with quality ingredients, a small portion can be very satisfying.  Baking at home also means that you are in control of the ingredients and the portion size, which is very important.  By baking at home, you can accommodate dietary or allergy issues.  I think that some baking can be made healthier, when it is part of your regular eating routine (muffins, granola bars) but it’s very important to remember that sweet treats are just that – a treat for a special occasion, like a birthday cake or a dessert for holiday time.


3) How do you keep yourself fit with so much sweet temptation around?

I do exercise regularly – distance walking, yoga and ballet-barre exercise are my favourites, and I eat tons of vegetables and fruits. When I am baking, and surrounded by sweets, I always make sure I start my day with a healthy breakfast (usually oatmeal) and I have healthy snacks on hand, so that I don’t fall into those hungry lulls that find me reaching for chocolate without my realizing it.  That’s the trap I try and avoid – the snack trap! A modest dessert portion is fine, but it’s the dips into the cookie jar that are to be avoided 😉 And since baking is about sharing, I do divide up my treats amongst friends and even donate goods to a local hospice.


4) Do you have any life hacks which you find come in handy in the kitchen?

A good part of baking is avoiding or fixing a mistake, and I have loads of little “hacks” or tips.

  1. To fix over-whipped egg whites – have a cup of tea!  If you’ve over-whpped your whites (they’ll look dry and lumpy), set then aside and have a cup of tea.  In that time (10 minutes) the over-whipped whites will have collapsed and you can re-whip them on medium speed (even if you’ve added the sugar) to the point you missed the first time.
  2. To fix over-whipped whipped cream – add a touch more cream.  Adding a little fluid cream to your over-whipped cream will dissolve the fats and then you can re-whip by hand or on low speed until the cream is smooth again.
  3. To stabilize whipped cream – add skim milk powder.  Ever notice how whipped cream separates and collapses an hour after whipping?  To fix this stir in 15 mL of instant milk powder for every 250 mL of fluid cream at any point in the whipping process.  The cream will holds its shape indefinitely, and won’t collapse when you spoon it.


5) What in your opinion, are the most essential utensils in any kitchen?

My most important tools are actually all very economical, and include:

  1. Oven thermometer – it’s such a simple tool, but so important when baking.  Just because you set your oven to 180 C doesn’t mean your oven actually is at 180 C when it says so.  By placing a thermometer inside the oven, you can watch to see if it reaches, surpasses and holds its temperature, so you can better get to know how it works.  If it oscillates more than 15 C degrees, this could cause your cakes to rise too quickly then sink in the centre – a repair person can calibrate it easily, if this is the case.
  2. Bowl and bench scrapers – these tools help work with your ingredients better and keep things tidy.  A bench scraper allows you to lift and move bread doughs easily and to clean your work area, and a flexible bowl scraper allows you to get every little drop of batter out of your bowl.
  3. Offset spatula – this tool is an extension of my hand, allow me to decorate with precision.  I also use it to easily lift out portions of cakes or tarts delicately.

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