To get you in the mood for the return of The Great British Bake Off here are some fabulous bakes to make
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
Makes: Medium-sized tart
What you need:
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
2 teaspoons Somerset apple brandy, or brandy, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sieved apricot jam, or apricot glaze, warmed
1 x 23cm fluted, deep, loose-based flan tin; Baking sheet
What you do:
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.
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 oven to 190°C/375°F.
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 5 minutes until the pastry is crisp and lightly coloured.
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.
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.
Measure the cream in a jug. Add the egg, sugar and brandy (or vanilla) and mix until smooth. Slowly pour this mixture evenly over the apples, letting it seep through the layers.
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.
OAT AND HONEY FLAPJACK
Halfway between a sticky flapjack and a crunchy oat biscuit, these robust cookies have a chewy centre and crisp edge. You can add whatever you like to the oat mix: Dried fruit – raisins, cranberries, sour cherries, sultanas and even chopped dates – plus whole or chopped macadamias, hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts, or even chunks of chocolate.
Makes: approximately 22
What you need:
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)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g porridge oats
100g dried fruit and nut
1-2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper
What you do:
Heat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Put the soft butter, sugar and honey into a mixing bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer for about 2 minutes until fluffy and slightly lighter in colour.
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.
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.
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 ten minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack and leave until cold. Store in an airtight container for about five days.
Extracted from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister (BBC Books, £20). Photography by Kristin Perers.