3 Easy Weekend Bakes From GBBO’s Nadiya Hussain

Since winning 2015's Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain has gone on to be a columnist for the Times, present several travelogues and food shows, and publish a number of books filled with unusual food combinations and flavours. As she launches her new BBC2 show, Nadiya Bakes, here she shares three simple, tasty baking recipes for you to try at home…
Chris Terry

Baking is my first love. Although I didn’t quite realise it when as a teenager, I baked a cake for my sister’s pre-wedding party. It was a simple sponge, sandwiched together with sticky jam and groaning under the sheer weight of thick white fondant with a hideous fondant groom on top. I also didn’t see it when I did my GCSE in Food Studies a few years later and designed an entire Pokémon cake, with marbled red-and-white sponge, sandwiched with jam and covered in a coloured fondant. 

We had an oven at home, but it was full of pans. It wasn’t used for baking, just for storing greasy deep-frying equipment and I never really saw it any other way. Life happened around all of that – then I got married and we got our own house with our own oven. Still nothing, not an urge, not a spark, not a thought to bake. Until my husband asked me to make a cake, so I gave it a try. It started with a wonky sponge, and he ate the whole thing. So I saved up for an oven thermometer to make sure the oven temperature was regulated. The next cake was less wonky. Still delicious and he ate it again. Then some strawberry and cream muffins. A whole dozen. A little chewy, not very cake-like, tasty though, and he ate them all. I saved a few strawberries out of sight in the back of the fridge and tried again. There was a definite improvement. They were eaten even faster than the ones that came before. 

Before I knew it, I was baking bread, enriching doughs, making pastry and laminating. I was baking every day, all because I had someone to eat it. Baking became a part of life, like cooking, like laundry, hoovering and breathing. It was just natural, it was normal. Baking has become such a massive part of who I am that there is no denying it. Baking doesn’t have to be your first love, or indeed anywhere in a long list of loves like mine, but perhaps it’s waiting to become one of yours. The recipes below are just some of the ideas that have flown around in my head and things my family eat over and over again.

Pulled Chicken Doughnuts

These doughnuts are filled with a quick-cooked shredded chicken, then fried and covered in a delicious savoury-sweet dust. If anyone didn’t know these were savoury, they could be fooled. This recipe is worth a try just to see the confusion and delight on people’s faces.

Yield

Makes 12

Difficulty

Intermediate

Total Time

1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

For the bread:
550g of strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
175g of unsalted butter, softened
60g of caster sugar
1 tsp of fine salt
14g fast-action yeast
4 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml of cold water
1½ litres of oil, to deep fry
For the chicken filling:
1 large chicken breast
7 tbsp of BBQ sauce
3 tbsp of mayonnaise
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 small handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
For the savoury dust:
1 tsp of garlic granules
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of caster sugar
1 tsp of dried coriander

Method

Step 1

Start by making the dough. Put the flour in a bowl, add the butter and rub in until there are no big butter chunks remaining.

Step 2

Now add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other side. Mix thoroughly and then make a well in the centre. Mix the eggs and water in a jug, then pour into the well and mix with the dry ingredients until the dough roughly comes together.

Step 3

If you are kneading the dough by hand, flour the work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is stretchy and shiny. But I prefer to do it using a mixer, as the dough is quite sticky and buttery.

Step 4

When using a dough hook on a mixer it only needs kneading for 6 minutes on a medium speed.

Step 5

Leave to prove in a warm place covered with a wet tea towel or greased clingfilm.

Step 6

Meanwhile, make the filling by boiling the chicken breast in a small pan of water on a medium heat for 15 minutes until the meat is cooked through.

Step 7

Once cooked, lift the chicken out of the water and leave on a plate until it’s cool enough to handle. Use two forks to shred and pull it apart. Now add flavour to your chicken by adding the barbecue sauce, mayo, chilli flakes and chives and giving it all a good mix around. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

Step 8

Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a sausage shape and cut out 12 equal portions of around 90g each. Making them the same size is important if you want them to fry evenly.

Step 9

Have a lined and greased baking tray at the ready. Roll out a dough ball to about 12cm diameter. Add a tablespoon of chicken mix, not heaped, into the centre. Gently lift up the edges of the dough from all around the sides and seal the chicken inside, pinching firmly in the centre. Pop it on the tray, pinched side up.

Step 10

Do this to the rest of them, then pop the tray into the fridge for 1 hour.

Step 11

In the meantime, make the dust by mixing the garlic, cumin, salt, sugar and coriander.

Step 12

Just before the hour is up, add the oil to a medium sized pan. Make sure the oil is not higher than halfway up the sides. Heat the oil on a medium heat – if you are using a thermometer you want the oil to reach 150°C. But if not, you can drop a piece of bread into the oil and if it sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is ready.

Step 13

Prepare a baking tray lined with kitchen paper to drain the doughnuts on.

Step 14

Gently place a doughnut into the oil, pinched side up. Don’t overcrowd the pan, just do three at a time.

Step 15

Cook the doughnuts gently for 6 minutes until golden brown all over. You don’t need to turn them, just occasionally push them down into the oil using a slotted spoon. When ready, take out and pop onto the paper to drain, then pop in the oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking through, removing the kitchen paper first. While still piping hot, sprinkle with the savoury dust. Do the same to all of them, frying and sprinkling.

Step 16

Allow to cool down, then eat them lukewarm, or even totally cooled.
Chocolate Caramel Flan

This clever pudding starts with caramel in the base of the tin, then a simple chocolate sponge batter and finally a crème caramel mixture. As it sits and bakes in a water bath, the crème caramel seeps down to meet the caramel and creates a beautiful soft layer, which becomes the top once the cake is turned out.

Yield

Serves 10-12

Difficulty

Intermediate

Total Time

1 Hour 40 Minutes

Ingredients

For the base:
125g of salted caramel
For the cake:
150g of unsalted butter, softened, plus extra melted butter for greasing the tin
190g of soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
1 tbsp of vanilla bean extract
200g of plain flour, sifted, plus extra for flouring the tin
30g of cocoa powder
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp of coffee granules
230ml of whole milk
For the crème caramel:
600ml of evaporated milk
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
4 medium eggs
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt

Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease and lightly flour the inside of a 23cm bundt tin. Find a roasting tin big enough to hold the bundt tin comfortably and deep enough for water to come two-thirds of the way up the side of the bundt tin. Pop a tea towel into the base of the roasting tin.

Step 2

Put the salted caramel in a microwaveable dish and warm for just long enough to make it runny, about 20 seconds. Pour into the base of the tin, avoiding drips on the sides. Tap on the worktop to level off.

Step 3

Make the cake by whisking the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until you have a really light and fluffy mixture. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix in.

Step 4

To a separate bowl, add the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and mix really well.

Step 5

Now, spoon the coffee into a small bowl, add a few tablespoons of the milk and heat for a few seconds in the microwave until the coffee has dissolved. Mix, pour into the remaining milk and stir through.

Step 6

Sift a third of the flour mixture onto the butter, sugar and egg mixture and fold in with a large metal spoon. Fold in a third of the milk, then repeat until all the flour and milk has been mixed in.

Step 7

When you have a smooth batter, spoon over the salted caramel, tap the tin on the worktop to remove any bubbles and make sure you have a level top. Put the bundt tin into the centre of the roasting tin.

Step 8

Make the crème caramel mixture by mixing the evaporated milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla and salt in a food processor until smooth and even. Pour on top of the cake batter and level the top.

Step 9

Have a jug of hot water ready. Put the roasting tin with the bundt tin into the oven. Before you close the door, pour the water straight onto the tea towel in the roasting tin, making sure the water reaches at least two-thirds of the way up. Bake for 1 hour and don’t be tempted to open the oven. Once cooked, take out and leave to cool in the tin for another hour, then flip over onto a serving dish and it is ready to eat.
Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Brownies

I am always in search of the best brownie, and I figure if you can’t find it, make it. So here it is: a triple chocolate brownie, with a layer of toasted chopped nuts encased in dulce de leche, then topped with a zesty cheesecake mixture and baked again.

Yield

Makes 18

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

1 Hour 35 Minutes

Ingredients

For the brownie base:
250g of unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
250g of dark chocolate
4 medium eggs
280g of soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp of instant coffee mixed with 2 tsp of hot water
120g of plain flour, sifted
30g of cocoa, sifted
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp of plain flour
150g of dark choc chips
For the nutty centre:
1 x 450g jar of dulce de leche
200g of chopped mixed nuts or hazelnuts
½ tsp of salt
For the top:
300g of full-fat soft cream cheese
100g of caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp of almond extract
Zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp of plain flour
Cocoa powder for dusting

Method

Step 1

Put the butter and chocolate in a small pan and melt gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture is liquid. Set aside to cool.

Step 2

Line the base and sides of a 20 x 30 x 5cm brownie tin with some baking paper so that it comes 1cm above the top of the tin, and lightly grease.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 60°C/gas 4.

Step 4

Add the eggs, sugar and cooled coffee to a large mixing bowl and whisk until the mixture is light, thick and fluffy. This should take 5 minutes with an electric hand whisk. (Adding the coffee really enhances the flavour of the cocoa and you won’t even be able to taste the coffee itself.)

Step 5

Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and whisk until the mixture no longer has any streaks in it.

Step 6

Then add the sifted flour, cocoa and salt and mix until you have a glossy batter.

Step 7

Mix the teaspoon of flour with the chocolate chips in a bowl before mixing them into the batter until they’re well dispersed – this trick will stop them sinking to the bottom when you bake the brownies. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level off the top. Bake for 25 minutes.

Step 8

While it is baking, toast the nuts in a large non-stick pan, stirring until they are a deep golden brown.

Step 9

Put the dulce de leche in a bowl along with the toasted nuts and the salt, mix and set aside.

Step 10

As soon as the brownies are baked, take them out of the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. As soon as they have cooled, spread the sticky nut mixture over the top and pop the whole thing in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Step 11

Adjust the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3½.

Step 12

Make the cheesecake top by mixing the cream cheese, sugar, egg, almond extract, orange zest and flour together really well.

Step 13

Spoon and spread into an even layer over the nut mixture and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.

Step 14

As soon as the cheesecake is set in the centre, allow to cool totally and leave in the fridge overnight. The wait will be worth it!

Step 15

Dust with the cocoa, take out of the tin and cut into squares.

Recipes taken from Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain out now (£22, Michael Joseph). Nadiya Bakes is on Wednesdays at 8:30pm on BBC Two.

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