Jean from Madison, WI (All Ten Challenges)




Madison, WI

Baking Challenge

Star Baker

What was the most difficult challenge that you faced during any bake? And how did you overcome it?

My lime-coconut meringue pie made in week 6 (Botanical) was clearly the most difficult challenge. Had I ever made a meringue pie before? No. Had I ever made coconut pie crust before? No. Had I ever watched 9 hours of my life slip by while making one dish? No. All in an incomplete kitchen, too. At practically each step I second-guessed if I was doing it correctly, so it was a lesson in intuition, trust, and patience. There were mounds of dishes, but WOW the expression on the faces of those who had a slice of that pie was worth every bit of fretting.

Which Wisconsin twist were you most proud of, and why?

There is no doubt I am most proud of my Wisconsin Effigy Mound Jumble Biscuits from week 8 (Wisconsin Week). Wisconsin is rich in effigy mounds and I thought it would be a unique whimsical way of creating a teachable moment with the medium of jumble biscuits.

If you were to draft a baking challenge for Wisconsin bakers, what would you like them all to make? And what would you be looking for if you were the judge?

Wisconsin contains a blend of ethnic groups that can be embraced. French, Native American, African American, Polish, German, Hmong, Irish, and more. Perhaps a 10-week baking challenge would incorporate 10 of these ethnic groups (draw the ethnic groups out of a hat? or do them all – how many weeks would that be?).

One item would be made a week – the Kringle could be made for Scandinavia, Paczki for Poland, Stollen for Germany, Flan for Mexico, Baklava for Greece, Macarons for France, Soda Bread for Ireland, Kolache for Czechoslovakia, etc. These challenges would introduce new flavors and methods for baking, and allow us to learn about and celebrate different countries and customs.

An expert or two for the particular bake would judge the entries, basing their decision on the particular aspects of that bake. I thought the story-behind-the-bake, as you did with the Wisconsin Baking Challenge, worked well and again could be used to allow the judges to determine the winners! Or, each submitter would be allowed to vote online for their top three (and not choosing their own entry).

How did you do?

I participated in all 10 Great Wisconsin Baking challenges this summer – I’m a Star Baker!