It’s the episode that all bakers this season hoped to make, but sadly there was only room for three. This episode demanded the very best from our contestants as they sought to claim the season’s title. And they stepped up to the challenge. We’ve chosen a few of our favourites from this week’s episode, but you can find more recipes from the series on the BBC’s website.
Mini Victoria sponge cakes
All the deliciousness of Mary Berry’s classic Victoria sponge in a smaller package, which look delightful.
For the jam
500g/1lb 2oz strawberries, hulled and halved
500g/1lb 2oz jam sugar
For the sponge
175g/6oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g/6oz self-raising flour
300ml/10½fl oz double cream
icing sugar, for dusting
For the jam, place the strawberries in a large saucepan and crush with a potato masher.
Add the jam sugar and heat gently, stirring continuously, until the sugar dissolves.
Keep stirring, increasing the heat, bringing it to a full rolling boil, one that bubbles vigorously, rises in the pan and cannot be stirred down.
Start timing and boil for four minutes only. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
For the sponge, preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/Gas 5. Lightly grease the tins with butter.
To make the cakes, cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and light. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
Sift the flour into the bowl and fold in until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Divide the mixture between the mini sandwich tin cups and level with a teaspoon.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes until golden-brown and springy to the touch.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for two minutes and then ease onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle.
Cut each cake in half horizontally with a bread knife.
Pipe one dot of the cream in the middle of each cake base and the rest in dots around the edges. Drizzle the jam over the cream, place the sponge tops on and lightly sift icing sugar over the cakes.Pear pain au chocolat
This tray full of warm chocolate pastries will give you ample opportunity to show off your baking skills.
20g/¾oz dried yeast
435g/15½oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
125ml/4fl oz milk
75g/2½oz caster sugar
3 tbsp melted butter, plus 230g/8oz unsalted butter, softened
1½ tsp salt
For the pear and chocolate filling
4 pears, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp caster sugar
75g/2½oz dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 large free-range egg, beaten with 2 tbsp milk
Stir together the yeast and 125ml/4fl oz lukewarm water in the bowl of a freestanding mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Allow the yeast to dissolve for five minutes.
Add the flour, milk, sugar, melted butter and salt, and mix on medium speed for two minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Unwrap the dough and roll into a rectangle roughly 25x38cm/10x15in, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Dot the rectangle with half of the softened butter. Fold the top third of the rectangle down onto the middle, then fold the bottom third up, so the pastry is folded in thirds. Roll out into a rectangle again, fold into thirds again, cover with cling film and place in fridge for 40 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge, roll it out to a rectangle as before and dot with the remaining butter. Fold into thirds, roll out again and fold into thirds again. Refrigerate for another 40 minutes.
For the pear and chocolate filling, place the chopped pear in a pan with the sugar. Cook over a medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, or until the pear is soft and sticky.
Roll out the dough, and cut into 12 equal squares, spread the pear onto the top third of each square and top with the chocolate.
Fold the top third of each square over, to enclose the pear and chocolate filling, then roll the filled pastry over onto the lower third. Place seam-side down on two baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover with cling film and allow to rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Brush the pastries with the beaten egg and milk mixture and place in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then eat warm.Apple and lemon kites
A tasty pastry for those who prefer the tart style. The intense lemon flavouring will certainly perk you up.
For the dough
160g/5¾oz unsalted butter, 120g/4¼oz chilled and 40g/1½oz at room temperature
250g/9oz strong white flour
10g/⅓oz powdered milk
30g/1oz caster sugar
8.5g fast-action dried yeast
For the apple and lemon filling
30g/1oz caster sugar
30g/1oz icing sugar
30g/1oz ground almonds
½ unwaxed lemon, zest only
2 drops lemon extract
1 large free-range egg yolk, beaten
1 dessert apple (ideally Pink Lady or braeburn)
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the lemon glaze and icing
50ml/1¾fl oz lemon juice
50g/1¾oz caster sugar
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 large free-range egg, beaten
Prepare the chilled butter by placing it between two sheets of greaseproof paper and banging with a rolling pin until you have a 8x15cm/3¼x6in rectangle about 1cm/½in thick. Put this back into the fridge.
Place the room temperature butter, strong white flour, powdered milk, caster sugar, salt and 150ml/5fl oz water into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on a low setting until combined. Pour in the yeast and continue to mix on low speed for five minutes, then turn up the speed to medium and continue mixing for another 5-7 minutes.
Tip the dough out of the bowl and bring it together into a smooth ball, then place in a greased, non-metallic bowl and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes.
Transfer the bowl to the microwave and heat at 100 watts for six minutes then leave to rest for another 10 minutes. Alternatively, prove the dough in a warm room for a further 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Tip the risen dough out onto a worktop then roll out into a 18x25cm/7x10in rectangle about 1cm/½in thick.
Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, cover with cling film and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer and place the rolled block of chilled butter in the centre of the rectangle. Fold the top third over the butter then the bottom third up over the top. Roll out until it is about 1cm/½in thick again, turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the folding and rolling process again.
Fold the dough back into thirds and place back into the freezer for 15 minutes. Roll out again and this time fold into quarters – folding each short edge into the centre, then closing it up like a book. Roll out again, then repeat this double-fold once more and freeze the dough for another 15 minutes.
Wrap the dough in cling film and set aside in the fridge.
For the apple and lemon filling, place the sugars, almonds, lemon zest and extract in a bowl and mix. Add a little egg yolk to bind the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth paste. Tip the paste onto the work surface, then roll into six equal balls and place in the fridge.
Slice the dessert apple very thinly, keeping the skin on, allowing four slices for each kite, i.e. 24 pieces. Place into a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them turning brown.
Roll out the chilled dough into a rectangle 20x30cm/8x12in and cut into six equal squares (approximately 10cm/4in). Leaving a 1cm/½in border, cut a 4cm/1½in square from the middle of each square – cutting right through two opposite corners, but leaving the other two corners connected for about 1cm/½in either side of the corner points (see item four in the technique video below for further guidance). Brush a little beaten egg in the centre, add a squished ball of almond and lemon filling and then place four apple slices over the top. Fold the corner borders over to the opposing sides of the internal square. Sprinkle caster sugar over the apples and leave to prove for an hour.
To make the lemon glaze, put 25ml/1fl oz water, half the lemon juice and the sugar in a pan set over a low heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved then bring to a boil and continue to simmer for about 5-10 minutes, or until a thick syrup forms. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
When ready to bake, brush the top of the pastries (though not the apple slices) with beaten egg and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven, brush with the lemon glaze and allow to cool for five minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
To make the lemon icing, mix the icing sugar with a teaspoon of lemon juice to form a thick icing. Place in a food bag with a small corner cut off .
Once the kites are completely cool, drizzle with the lemon icing and serve.
In Short: The Great British Bake Off concluded, but there’s still time to emulate the contestants with these recipes from this week’s final.