As the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off is crowned, we take a look at the mouthwatering desserts, pastries and puds which wowed judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. But are you in the same baking league?
You can find out all about Mary and Paul’s signature bakes, technical challenges and showstoppers in The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking. It also features the best bakers’ recipes from past series.
So, in the words of presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, on your marks ... get set ... bake.
* Recipes from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister (BBC Books, £20). Photography by Kristin Perers.
OAT & HONEY FLAPJACK COOKIES (makes about 22)
Halfway between a sticky flapjack and a crunchy oat biscuit, these robust cookies have a chewy centre and crisp edge. Add whatever you like to the oat mix.
120g unsalted butter, softened
140g light brown muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons well-flavoured honey
1 medium free-range egg, at room temperature, beaten to mix
100g plain wholemeal flour (wheat or spelt)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g porridge oats
100g dried fruit and nuts
1–2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper
1. Heat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the soft butter, sugar and honey into a mixing bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer for about two minutes until fluffy and slightly lighter in colour.
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the egg in three batches. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the bowl, adding any bran left in the sieve. Add the oats and the fruit and nuts and mix in thoroughly with a wooden spoon, making sure the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed.
3. Using a rounded tablespoon of mixture for each cookie, spoon on to the lined baking sheet, setting the cookies well apart to allow for spreading. Gently press out using the back of the tablespoon so the cookies are about 1.25cm thick – they should be rather craggy rather than neat and tidy.
4. Bake in the heated oven for about 12 minutes until golden with light brown edges. Remove the sheet from the oven and set on a heatproof surface.
Leave the cookies to cool and firm up for about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack and leave until cold. Store in an airtight container for about five days.
SOMERSET APPLE TART
This is a recipe for using up windfalls at harvest time, as long as the variety of apples you grow are well-flavoured, with a sweet/tart taste, and will keep their shape when baked.
For the rich sweet shortcrust pastry:
175g plain flour
pinch of salt
30g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 medium free-range egg yolk
about 1 tablespoon icy-cold water, to mix
For the filling:
800–900g Braeburn or Jazz apples (about 5 or 6 large apples)
125ml single cream
1 medium free-range egg
35g caster sugar or vanilla caster sugar
2 teaspoons Somerset apple brandy or brandy or 1/2 teaspoon
3 tablespoons sieved apricot jam or apricot glaze, warmed
1 x 23cm fluted, deep, loose-based
flan tin; a baking sheet
1. To make the pastry, sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl.
Add the pieces of butter and toss in the flour so they are lightly coated, then gently rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and stir into the crumbs with a round-bladed knife to make a firm dough. If there are dry crumbs, work in more cold water a teaspoon at a time. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in Clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop to a large circle about 32cm across and use to line the flan tin. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the rim. Prick the base with a fork, then chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
3. Carefully neaten the pastry rim, trimming off the excess pastry. Line the case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind in the heated oven for 12–15 minutes until the pastry is set and firm. Remove the paper and beans, then return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes until the pastry is crisp and lightly coloured.
4. Set the flan tin on a heatproof surface. Put the baking sheet into the oven to heat up, and reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
5. While the pastry case cools, peel and quarter the apples. Cut out the cores, then cut the apples into very thin slices. Arrange the apple slices, slightly overlapping, in the cooled pastry case, starting from the edge and working round in neat concentric circles.
Make sure the pastry case is completely filled to the top, with no gaps, and the top layer looks pretty.
6. Measure the cream in a jug. Add the egg, sugar and brandy (or vanilla) and mix well until smooth. Slowly pour this mixture evenly over the apples, letting it seep through the layers.
7. Set the flan tin on the heated baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until the custard is just set when you jiggle the tart and the apples are a golden colour. Set the tin on a wire rack and quickly brush the top of the tart with apricot jam or glaze to give a glossy sheen.
Carefully unmould the tart and leave to cool.
Eat warm or at room temperature.
BLUEBERRY & LEMON BREAD PUDDING (serves 6)
Comfort food at its very best.
4–6 thick slices slightly stale bread
250ml double cream
finely grated zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon
5 tablespoons caster sugar
4 medium free-range eggs
icing sugar, for dusting
1 deep, 1-litre capacity baking dish;
a roasting tin
1. If the bread crusts are hard and dry, trim them off; with softer breads (like brioche, Hot Cross Bun Loaf, panettone or white sandwich loaf) you may not need to do this. Cut the bread into 1.5cm cubes and put them into the baking dish to be sure you have enough to almost fill it. Tip the cubes out of the dish into a mixing bowl, then grease the dish with butter.
2. Add the blueberries to the bread cubes and mix well. Tip into the prepared baking dish.
3. Put the cream, milk, lemon zest, sugar and eggs into a wide-necked jug, or a bowl with a lip, and mix thoroughly with a hand whisk or plastic spatula. Pour the mixture over the bread and blueberries to almost fill the dish. Gently push the bread cubes under the surface of the liquid (they will bob up again but will become moistened). Leave to stand, at room temperature, for two hours so the bread can soak up liquid.
4. Towards the end of this time, heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Half-fill a roasting tin with cold water and set the baking dish in it. Carefully transfer to the heated oven and bake for about one hour until the top of the pudding is golden and crisp and the centre feels set when gently pressed.
5. Remove the baking dish from the roasting tin and leave to cool on a heatproof surface for about 15 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and serving.