What’s your favourite thing about autumn? The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness has certainly already had plenty of positives and will continue to. Warm, comfy clothes. Halloween parties. Pumpkins. Fabulous fireworks – it’s not long now! And of course, the year’s best TV programmes. There’s always something to look forward to in the autumn listings. On-demand viewing from the likes of Netflix is all very well, but it simply can’t
compare to the delicious anticipation of once-a-year crowd-pleasers, such as Strictly Come Dancing. For keen cooks, however, the jewel in autumn’s TV crown is undoubtedly The Great British Bake Off. Watching the country’s best amateur bakers do battle in the iconic white tent is still a huge highlight of the year’s final quarter. And watching judge Paul Hollywood is very much part of the show’s enduring attraction!
Paul has been judging on The Great British Bake Off since its launch in August 2010. Now in its 12th series, he continues to intimidate and inspire in equal measures, handing out both coveted “Hollywood Handshakes” and typically forthright feedback. As you might expect, national trainer Jo is a Paul Hollywood super-fan.
If you’re not quite ready for the trials and tribulations of The Great British Bake Off tent, here’s a round-up of Jo’s favourite Paul Hollywood recipes for you to try in the tranquillity of your own kitchen. All these recipes, and more, are available to admire on Paul’s official website. So, what are you waiting for? On your marks, get set, BAKE!
If you fancy having a go at something a bit less pressured, Paul’s soda bread recipe is a great entry-level option. It requires just five ingredients, no kneading, and only 30 minutes in the oven. In other words, you can get a freshly-baked loaf on the table in just 45 minutes.
I tend to use the combination steam function on the SO111GM oven as this creates the perfect crust. This recipe is so simple Paul insists that kids can make it (and I concur). Once you’ve mastered the basic version, you can jazz things up a little by adding some grated cheese and/or chopped onion to the dough, for an extra-savoury treat.
When you feel confident creating soda bread, why not diversify your dough repertoire with Paul’s Autumn pizza recipe? A number of pizza variations have appeared on The Great British Bake Off over the years, and I think this version is definitely worthy of a Star Baker accolade. It combines a simple dough, an easy tomato sauce and lots of moreish mushrooms, to create a tasty and filling vegetarian meal. Top with sweet shallots and salty cheese – delicious!
You will need to knead the dough for five to ten minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic. You’ll know it’s ready when it passes the ‘windowpane’ test without tearing. Then simply pop it in our Sense Premium C2600 oven and use the Pizza function. You’ll find the pizza will cook to perfection in just 2.45 minutes.
Luxury fish pie
This dish probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when The Great British Bake Off is mentioned. But Paul’s version is so utterly amazing, I think it definitely deserves a round of its own! I won’t pretend that this is a low-maintenance meal. It does require a fair bit of prep and planning although, once assembled, the pie itself takes just 25-30 minutes to bake. But I promise you it’s worth the effort. Paul recommends using smoked fish or shellfish, to achieve a real depth of flavour.
If you’re really keen to push the boat out, smoked Scottish langoustines tick both boxes! Pernod, double cream and saffron all add to the general indulgence. This dish is perfect for autumn entertaining, or for a special family meal. Use the conventional setting on our C2239 pyrolytic oven and you’ll create a crispy top in no time at all. You’ll also enjoy easy access to this dish, thanks to the telescopic shelves.
The Cornish pasty now has protected status and must be made in Cornwall. But don’t let that put you off attempting your own version – wherever it is you call home! As well as unsalted butter, Paul’s recipe uses lard, which is easy to work with and produces a crisp, flaky crust. This pastry requires only brief kneading, but don’t forget to chill it for at least 30 minutes. And try not to be too intimidated by the crimping. The key is to press the edges together firmly and then “pinch” your way round using your thumb and forefinger.
Apparently Paul was told you need 21 crimps to make a proper pasty, but I must confess I never remember to count mine! I love using our C2600SS oven with multi-stage cooking to make pasties. You can actually pre-set this model to bake them for twenty minutes at 200°C then reduce the temperature automatically to 160°C for a further 30 minutes.
Blueberry meringue cake
Can’t choose between cake or meringue? Now you don’t have to! This sweet treat combines both – plus a topping of juicy blueberries – nestled within a rich, lemony cream. The beauty of this recipe is that the sponge and the meringue cook at the same time. If I were cooking this on The Great British Bake Off, I would add my own signature spin with red currants and blackberries. They work equally well with the lemon curd, but add a dash of jewel-like colour that seems especially appropriate during the autumn.
Want to know the best way to achieve an even finish? Use our C2101 oven on the fan setting using MotionHeat+ technology. This way, you’ll really impress the likes of Paul Hollywood with your cooking results.
I absolutely adore baklava. It reminds me of sun-drenched holidays in exotic locations, filled with fun, food, family and friends. Realistically, this version of Paul’s is as close to that experience as I’ll get this year, but it’s a great excuse to make it, whatever the weather outside! If you use our C2902 oven on the fan setting, these are so yummy you could batch cook them to make gifts for friends and family. If you’ve ever done battle – and lost – attempting home-made filo pastry, you’ll be thrilled to know that even Paul recommends using a ready-made version here.
To be honest, this recipe is more about assembly than any particularly demanding baking skills, but it’s no less delicious for that. I find melting the butter and layering the pastry very soothing. The trickiest part is being disciplined enough to allow the baklava to cook before cutting and serving. Paul flavours his syrup with lemon juice, but an alternative Great British Bake Off signature version might use rose water or orange flower water instead. I like to finely grind a handful or so of pistachios, then use these as an extra topping once everything has cooled.
Watching The Great British Bake Off always whets my appetite (literally) for more baking recipes. Time and again I return to this favourite book for inspiration: Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds. Published back in 2013, it’s an enduring resource packed full of sweet and savoury classics, updated with an imaginative Hollywood twist. Whether you’re a keen novice or an experienced baker, I highly recommend. Bon appétit!
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