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Three baking recipes for the absolute beginner

·8 min read
A choux pastry plus a doughnut equals... a chouxnut  (Haarala Hamilton/PA)
A choux pastry plus a doughnut equals... a chouxnut (Haarala Hamilton/PA)

A hybrid between choux pastry and a doughnut, these are deep-fried like a doughnut then filled with lemon curd and whipped cream and glazed with a lemony icing,” explains Paul Hollywood.

“A perfect combination of crisp pastry and tangy citrus flavours.”


Makes: 8


For the choux pastry:

150ml water

60g butter

60g plain flour

60g strong white bread flour

3 large eggs

To cook:

Sunflower oil, for deep-frying

For the lemon curd filling:

Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons

190g caster sugar

100g butter, at room temperature, in pieces

3 medium eggs

1 extra egg yolk

100ml double cream, whipped

For the icing:

100g icing sugar, sifted

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

About 25ml water


1. First, make the lemon curd filling. Put the lemon zest and juice, sugar and butter into a heavy-based pan over a low heat and stir until the butter is fully melted then take off the heat. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and extra yolk then whisk into the lemon mixture. Place the pan back over a low heat and stir well for 10-15 minutes until thickened. Pass the lemon curd through a sieve into a clean bowl and allow to cool, before folding in the whipped cream.

2. To make the choux pastry, put the water and butter into a medium pan over a medium heat to melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then take off the heat. Immediately add both flours and beat well to incorporate into the liquid. Continue to beat until the mixture forms a ball that pulls away from the side of the pan. Leave to cool slightly, for five minutes.

3. Transfer the mixture to an electric mixer fitted with the paddle beater. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the beaten eggs. Once all the egg has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until glossy and thick. The mixture should just about hold on the end of a spoon and feel silky.

4. Cut eight 12cm squares of baking paper. Put the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe a ring, 10cm in diameter, on each paper square. (Or, as a guide, you can draw a circle on the paper, then turn it over.)

5. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or other deep, heavy pan over a medium heat to 180C (check with a thermometer). You will need to deep-fry your choux rings, two or three at a time: carefully lower into the oil, paper uppermost, then remove the paper with tongs. Deep-fry the rings for three to four minutes. Drain and place on a wire rack. Cut a small hole in the side of each ring to let steam out and leave to cool.

6. Once cooled, make the hole in the side of each ring larger so you can insert a small piping nozzle. Put the lemon curd filling into a piping bag fitted with a five millimetre plain nozzle and pipe into the choux rings to fill, until you meet resistance.

7. For the icing, mix the icing sugar with the lemon zest and enough water to make a glossy icing with a thick, pourable consistency. Brush over the top of each chouxnut to coat and allow to set before serving. Enjoy!

Victoria sandwich

If you’re new to baking, a Victoria sponge should be your very first cake (Haarala Hamilton/PA)
If you’re new to baking, a Victoria sponge should be your very first cake (Haarala Hamilton/PA)

“If you’re new to baking, this should be your very first cake. If you get it right, everything else will be easy,” says Hollywood.

“You can make a Victoria sandwich using the all-in-one method, where you mix everything together in a bowl at the same time, but I encourage you to cream the fats and sugar together before adding the eggs, flour and raising agent, as you’ll learn a lot about baking this way.

“Baking is a science. That’s why, in this recipe, we weigh the eggs first and then adjust the quantities of the other ingredients to get the perfect balance.

“Traditionally, it’s filled with just jam, but if you’re feeling indulgent, feel free to add whipped cream or buttercream.”

Makes: 8-10 slices


4 large eggs (in their shells)

About 270g caster sugar

About 270g self-raising flour

About 135g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease the tins

About 135g soft margarine

To finish:

125g raspberry jam (good-quality)

A little caster sugar, to sprinkle


1. Heat your oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper. Weigh the eggs first (in their shells), then weigh the same quantity of sugar and flour. For the butter and the margarine, you need half the weight of the eggs.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, margarine and sugar together using an electric whisk until pale in colour and light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.

3. Beat the eggs together in a jug, then gradually add to the mixture, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Sift the flour over the surface of the mixture and gently fold in, using a large metal spoon.

4. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins. To ensure the cakes are exactly the same size you can weigh the cake mixture into each tin. Gently smooth the surface with the back of the spoon to level it.

5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes until risen, golden brown and the cakes spring back in the centre when lightly touched with a fingertip. They should be slightly shrunken away from the edges of the tin. Leave the cakes in the tins for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

6. When cold, sandwich the cakes together with the raspberry jam and sprinkle the top with a little caster sugar.

Ultimate sausage roll

The addition of Stilton gives these sausage rolls a bit of a kick (Haarala Hamilton/PA)
The addition of Stilton gives these sausage rolls a bit of a kick (Haarala Hamilton/PA)

“I recommend using your favourite sausages to make this ultimate sausage roll, which you serve sliced with chutney and pickles,” says Hollywood.

“The addition of Stilton gives it a bit of a kick, but if you prefer you could use less Stilton and cook another onion instead – sprinkle the extra caramelised onion directly on the pastry for extra sweetness before you roll it up.”

Serves: 6


For the rough puff pastry:

225g plain flour, plus extra to dust

½ tsp fine salt

200g cold unsalted butter, diced

Juice of ½ lemon

180-200ml cold water

For the filling:

1 tbsp oil

1 small onion, finely diced

400g sausage meat (or your favourite sausages, skinned)

125g Stilton, crumbled

1 tbsp thyme leaves

A pinch of white pepper

To finish:

2 egg yolks, beaten, to glaze

2 tsp nigella seeds

2 tsp sesame seeds


1. To make the pastry, put the flour, salt and butter into a bowl. Mix the lemon juice with the water and add three-quarters of the liquid to the bowl. Gently stir until the mixture comes together to form a lumpy dough, adding the remaining liquid if required. Don’t knead or work too much – you want lumps of butter through the dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and flatten to a rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll into a narrow rectangle around 2.5cm thick. Fold one-third of the dough up on itself, then the opposite third down over that, as if folding a business letter. Wrap the pastry in cling-film and chill for at least 20 minutes.

3. Unwrap the pastry and repeat, rolling the pastry at 90C to the original roll, to a rectangle 40cm x 15cm, then folding as before. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat the process twice more, chilling the dough for at least 20 minutes between folds.

4. Heat your oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6 and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

5. For the filling, heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for seven to 10 minutes until softened and just turning golden brown. Leave to cool.

6. In a bowl, mix the sausage meat with the cooled onion, crumbled Stilton, thyme and white pepper. With floured hands, roll the filling into a 20cm-long sausage and wrap tightly in cling-film. Chill for 30 minutes.

7. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle, 30cm x 20cm, and trim the edges to neaten. Place on the baking tray and chill for 20 minutes. Unwrap the sausage and lay it along the pastry rectangle, 6cm from one edge.

8. Brush the exposed pastry with beaten egg yolk, leaving the 6cm border clear. Fold the egg-washed pastry over the sausage filling to meet the border and encase the sausage filling. Press the edges firmly together. Press a floured fork firmly along the length of the sealed edge. (You may need to keep dipping the fork in flour to stop it sticking.)

9. Brush the sausage roll all over with more egg and score the pastry on the diagonal. Chill for 15 minutes. Heat your oven to 210C/Fan 190C/Gas 6½. Brush the pastry again with egg, all over, then sprinkle with the nigella and sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp and the sausage meat is cooked through.

10. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favourite pickles and chutney.

‘Bake: My Best Ever Recipes For The Classics’ by Paul Hollywood (published by Bloomsbury Publishing, £26; photography by Haarala Hamilton), available now.

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