The Great Legend Bake Off!
What’s that I can see in the distance - a huge white tent adorned with bunting? And inside it, 12 amateur bakers brimming with nervous excitement, desperately hoping to avoid soggy bottoms and yearning for that coveted handshake? That’s right, the next series of The Great British Bake Off, everyone’s favourite Tuesday tea-time TV treat, is just over the horizon! To celebrate its return, we thought we’d don our aprons and delve into our Legend books at home to uncover some of the brilliant baking recipes hiding within…
Georgia - Balti Pie (Curry Legend World Tour, p138)
This recipe is AMAZING - I can’t believe I hadn’t made it before! It’s a slightly time-consuming one - more of a leisurely weekend cook than a quick midweek meal - but it’s worth the effort of making your own pastry, and there’s nothing particularly complicated about the process. It was really easy to follow and everything went to plan!
Before cooking, I was a little put off by the ‘Balti’ element, as this wouldn’t be my go-to dish if I was ordering a curry, and I’ve always thought of it as a pretty fiery one. However, the curry was really delicious and actually had the ideal level of spice for me. The consistency of the rich sauce was perfect - not too runny so as to completely leak out of the pie when you cut into it, but not too dry either, it was just right! It would have been a great curry just on its own, but of course, being enclosed in a case of thick, buttery, flaky, Haldi-infused pastry just made it even better! I liked the fact that it was a ‘proper pie’ (not a ‘stew with a lid!’) and had the filling completely enclosed in the pastry casing.
I paired the pie with a pile of buttery mash and some green veg to make a yummy Sunday dinner. There was even some excess pastry left over, so I mixed in a couple of handfuls of grated cheese, sprinkled over a pinch of Jeera and Mirchi Blend, and baked them in the oven for a few minutes to make delicious Curry Legend cheese biscuits! These went down just as well as the pie!
Robyn - M’hencha (How to Be a Mezze Legend, p218)
This was super easy to make - the most complex part was making sure I had enough room in the kitchen to lay all the filo sheets out! I even had two little helpers who helped to roll it into a snake! I had to cook it for a little longer than the recipe said just to ensure the pastry was cooked all the way through, so it’s worth just keeping an eye on it if you make it at home - every oven is a bit different!
The finished dish looked very similar to the photo in the book. Unfortunately mine split a little during the curling process, but it still looked great! Everyone loved the flavours, too - the zinginess of the orange zest really worked well with the rich almond filling, although next time I think I'll try making it again with ground pistachios in place of the almonds to mix it up a bit.
This makes a great and impressive dessert after a Mezze Legend meal, but would also be delicious for elevenses, or to accompany your afternoon cuppa.
Jess - Pitta (How to Be a Mezze Legend p168)
These pittas were really quick to make, and easy enough that my kids could get involved, too! Getting hands-on making your own bread is always fun, and it tastes all the better for knowing you made it yourself from scratch! The recipe says to use the oven on a very high heat, but I used the ‘Also works a treat with…’ suggestion of dry-frying in a very hot pan instead. This gave them a bit more of a charred look, but they were delicious nonetheless - next time, I think I’d stick to the oven-cooking method, as I think they puff up a bit better this way!
Kelly - Ice Cream Tacos (Taco Legend World Tour p214)
This recipe looks like it may be hard because you're making the sweet tacos from scratch, but it's actually super easy and so much fun! I did this with my neighbour who is 11 years old - I read the recipe to her and she was able to complete the task on her own.
I adapted the recipe in a couple of ways: 1) My oven runs hot so took a few minutes less than the recipe says - getting the timing right was crucial to getting the shell to bend first and crispen up after! 2) Someone in my group was avoiding a few things for dietary reasons so we made one or two with homemade banana ice cream which was delicious!
The finished product looked great, not too dissimilar to the picture in the book but with a perfectly homemade charm! Of course, it went down a treat, with the concept and taste both 10/10. As proven by the 11 year old chef, it's a firm family-friendly favourite, even if it's got a bit of chilli in it - winner!
Kelly - Ancho Chilli Brownies (How to Be a Taco Legend p210)
These were really quick and easy to make - everyone loves a brownie, and the slight kick from the ANCHO BLEND adds a bit of a grown up twist. I can imagine these going down really well at a dinner party with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side!
When the brownies first came out of the oven, they were a bit cakey (although they still tasted great!). We left them in the fridge overnight which massively improved the texture - the next day they were fudgey, dense and delicious. Exactly how a brownie should be!