The American Dessert Paul Hollywood Favors The Most - Exclusive

Paul Hollywood's longstanding position as a judge on "The Great British Bake Off" has made him a symbol of British baking excellence. And he certainly carries the standard for British baked goods: In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, he name-checked British classics like pork pie, trifle, and Christmas pudding. The man is a walking library of U.K. baking traditions.

However, Hollywood's tastes are nothing if not expansive. Given that he was recently in America to judge "The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Holiday Special," we had to ask him what treats and baked goods he makes a point to buy when he's in the States. 

He had very nice things to say about the quality of baking in America: "What's nice about the States is they'll celebrate whatever ingredient they've got, and they put that in a pie or whatever they're going to bake, from pecans to banana." He said that while most of the basic dishes in U.S. baking are of European origin, Americans have made the recipes their own. "It's changed over the last two or three hundred years. I think it's changed for the better. Some of the stuff is very, very good."

Hollywood observed that the main difference between U.S. and U.K. desserts is their sweetness levels. "It tends to be a little bit sweeter than I'm used to." However, when you find out his favorite American treat, you'll see he has no problem with sugar.

Paul Hollywood's favorite American dessert is fried, not baked

There are many baked goods that Hollywood seeks out on his trips to the U.S. "Apple pie from the South was mind-blowing; I thought they were amazing." On the savory side, he's a huge bagel fan. He can make a mean bagel himself, but he thinks New York City bagels are hard to beat. "The best ones I've had have been in New York, for breakfast, with everything fully loaded, with a nice coffee. I was happy."

But while bagels and apple pie may bring him joy, there's one treat that is number one in his heart: the humble doughnut. "My weakness is doughnuts. The doughnuts in the States are amazing." Hollywood went on a motorcycle road trip through the South and Southwest, and while the experience wore him out, it didn't dampen his enthusiasm for deep-fried dough. "I went via New Orleans, then up to Amarillo, Texas; New Mexico; Nevada; and across to LA, and I was exhausted at the end of it. It was a long, long way, but every time I stopped, I was looking for a doughnut shop."

You can watch Paul Hollywood in "The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Holiday Special" now on The Roku Channel.