The Great British Bake Off 2015 Final!

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The Great British Bake Off 2015 has come to a close, and a deserved winner goes back home with a cake stand. Seriously these people should win more than that…

Things were tense for the final week, as classic bakes had to be made perfectly for the exacting judges. First up; Nadiya, Ian and Tamal had to square up to 16 filled iced buns. Nadiya’s look as good as they taste and the rest floundered around a bit.

The technical tasked them with raspberry millefeuilles. No one really knew what these were but they gamely braved the ovens anyway. They’re layered things with fruity bits. Tamal’s end up looking very sad, Ian’s are prettier but Nadiya basically nails it. Can you see where this is going?

And so to the showstopper, the final one of a 2015 series which has been filled by pleasant people and a disappointing lake of baking disasters. They’re all so nice, but they can’t all win.

Make a cake, said the judges. So they did…

Tamal’s trying a sticky toffee pudding fruit cake, Ian’s doing carrot cake and Nadiya is set to belt out a lemon drizzle number. Each ends up being divine, with perfect bakes and flavours and marvellous presentation. Tamal’s has cobwebs on it, for some reason.

But there can be only one winner and it’s obviously Nadiya. From a less than confident start she’s really come into her own throughout the weeks with strange and exciting flavours and incredible showstoppers. Everyone has a cry, as well they should. And Nadiya has some really inspiring words.

Even Mary Berry had a little weep, she is 80 you know.

[We still think they should win something though…]

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That’s it for another year, but you can relive the joy of baking by doing it yourself! Check out how to put together Paul Hollywood’s Raspberry millefeuille and Nadiya’s showstopping Big Fat British Wedding Cake!

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Raspberry millefeuille
by Paul Hollywood

Thin, crisp pastry is the key to these pretty French pastries and Paul Hollywood is the man to show you how.

For this recipe you will need: a sugar thermometer, 6 large baking trays and a ruler.

Ingredients
For the rough puff pastry
450g/1lb plain four, plus extra for rolling
pinch of salt
75g/2½oz butter, chilled and cut into cubes
180g/6¼oz butter, frozen
icing sugar, for dusting

For the raspberry jam
200g/7oz raspberries
250g/9oz jam sugar
knob of butter

For the sugar syrup
25g/1oz caster sugar

For the icing
250g/9oz white ready-to-roll fondant icing
125g/4½oz pink ready-to-roll fondant icing

For the Chantilly cream
600ml/20fl oz double cream
50g/1¾oz icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste
48 raspberries

Preparation method

For the rough puff pastry, mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the chilled butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add enough water to form a dough (about 4-6 tablespoons water).

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle.

Grate half of the frozen butter over the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Fold down the top third and fold up the bottom third as if folding a letter.

Turn the folded dough by 90 degrees and roll it out into a rectangle again. Repeat the process of adding the remaining frozen butter and fold as before. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

For the jam, put the raspberries in a small, deep pan with the sugar and cook over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 4 minutes, or until the temperature on a sugar thermometer reaches 104C (this is the setting point). Remove from the heat and stir in the knob of butter. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to set.

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Line 3 large baking trays with baking parchment. Divide the pastry into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece to a 30x23cm/12x9in rectangle, about 5mm thick. Then place each pastry rectangle onto the lined baking trays and chill for 10-15 minutes. Dust heavily with icing sugar.

Place a sheet of baking parchment on top of each sheet of rolled pastry and place a large baking sheet on top. Bake the pastry sheets for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.

For the sugar syrup, bring the sugar and 50ml/2fl oz water to the boil in a small pan and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

For the icing, roll the white fondant into a 20x15cm/8x6in rectangle. Roll the pink icing into a 10x15cm/4x6in rectangle. Cut the pink icing into 10 strips, each 1cm/½in wide and 15cm/6in long.

Lay the pink strips on top of the white icing (the pink strips should be the same length as the short edge of the white rectangle), ensuring they are evenly spaced with approximately 1cm/½in between each strip. Roll over them with a rolling pin to fix the stripes in place.

Cut out 6 neat rectangles from the striped icing, each measuring 12x5cm/4½x2in and with the stripes facing the same way, so the tops of the millefeuille match. Set aside.

When the pastry has cooled, cut six 12x5cm/4½x2in rectangles of pastry from each sheet of baked rough puff, so you have 18 pastry rectangles.

For the Chantilly, whisk the cream, icing sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Spoon into a disposable piping bag.

To assemble, set aside 6 pastry rectangles. Spread a thin layer of jam over the remaining pastry rectangles. Snip the end off the piping bag and pipe a blob of cream in a corner of one of the pastry rectangles. Sit a raspberry next to it and continue piping cream with alternating raspberries until the pastry is covered. Repeat this process on the remaining the pastry rectangles.

Sit the rectangles on top of each other so you have 6, double-layered pastries, topped with raspberries and cream.

To decorate, brush sugar syrup over the reserved 6 pastry rectangles and stick the striped fondant rectangles to the pastry. Place on top of the raspberries and cream and brush with more sugar syrup to glaze. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

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My Big Fat British Wedding Cake
by Nadiya (the winner!)

Nadiya dresses up the ever-popular lemon drizzle cake to make it suitable for special occasions.

For this recipe you will need a 20cm/8in spingform cake tin and board, a microwave and a rolling pin.

Ingredients
For the lemon cake
225g/8oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 medium free-range eggs
3 lemons, zest only
225g/8oz self-raising flour

For the lemon drizzle
2 lemons, juice only
75g/2½oz caster sugar

For the lemon curd
2 lemons, juice and zest
100g/3½oz caster sugar
50g/1¾oz butter
2 free-range eggs
½ tbsp cornflour

For the lemon buttercream
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
250g/9oz icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp Sicilian lemon extract

For the marshmallow fondant
300g/10½oz white marshmallows
ivory food colouring
550g/1lb 4oz icing sugar, sifted
vegetable fat (such as Trex), for greasing
cornflour, for dusting

To decorate (optional)
pearl lustre spray
a gold ribbon and pins to secure it in place
gold lustre dust
rejuvenator spirit (used with the lustre dust to create edible paint)
a decorative jewel

For the sugar paste flowers (optional)
1 kg/2lb 4oz sugar flower paste
vegetable fat (such as Trex)
pink gel food colouring

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line and grease a 20cm/8in springform cake tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the lemon zest. Mix in the flour and pour the batter into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface and bake for an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

For the lemon drizzle, add the lemon juice and sugar to a saucepan and warm through. Leave to cool, then brush it over the surface of the cooked cake while it is still warm. Set aside to cool completely.

For the lemon curd, whisk together all the ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring every now and then, until thickened. Set aside to cool completely.

For the lemon buttercream, beat the butter until soft and fluffly. Add the icing sugar slowly until completely combined, pale and fluffy. Stir in the lemon extract.

Slice the cake in half horizontally and fill with buttercream and lemon curd. Place on a cake board. Spoon any remaining buttercream on top of the cake and smooth it down to completely cover the cake in a smooth ‘crumb coat’. It doesn’t need to look great at this stage, but it is important that the top and edges are straight and smooth (so that lumps don’t show through when the cake is covered with fondant icing).

For the marshmallow fondant, add the marshmallows, a tablespoon water and a little food colouring to a microwave safe bowl.

Heat in short bursts in a microwave on a medium heat, stirring well each time, until the marshmallows are melted. Stir in the icing sugar and mix until it forms a rough paste – don’t worry if there are still lumps of icing sugar at this stage.

Grease your hands and a work surface with vegetable fat. Tip out the marshmallow paste and knead until the paste is smooth. Shape it into a rough circle wrap in cling film and set aside.

Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with cornflour and roll out the marshmallow fondant until large enough to cover the cake with some excess.

Lift the marshmallow fondant onto the cake and smooth the top using a fondant icing smoother if you have one, or your hands. Carefully smooth down the sides, making sure you push out any air bubbles as you go. If you have any small creases rub them out using a little cornflour. Trim off any excess icing from the bottom.

If using the decorations, spray the cake with pearl lustre spray and cover the bottom edge with ribbon and secure in place. Mix 2 tablespoons of lustre dust with enough rejuvenator spirit to make a paint. Neatly brush a large gold circle on top of the cake and set aside to dry. Reserve any leftover paint.

To make the sugar flowers, knead the paste on a work surface greased with vegetable fat until pliable. Add a few drops of the colouring and knead until the paste is evenly coloured.

Cut out petal shapes and use a baller icing tool (or a round knife handle) to thin out the edges. Pull the petals together to make flowers and pinch the bottom to make them stay together. Paint the edges of the petals with gold paint. Trim off any excess from the ‘stalk’ and arrange the flowers on top of the cake.

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Posts from the Harvey Norman blog team.

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