There’s something that’s just so reassuring about Nadiya Hussain. Ever since she stirred, sprinkled and kneaded her way into our hearts as winner of 2015’s The Great British Bake Off, Nadiya has been a soothing presence on our screens and bookshelves, radiating kindness while advising how we can up our baking game.
Her latest book, Nadiya Bakes, sees her return to her roots, with creative twists on pies, cakes, biscuits and desserts, from Mango and Coconut Yoghurt Cake with German Buttercream to Cranberry and Chilli Brioche Wreath. We’ve chosen three favourite pick-me-up recipes for you to try – the baking equivalent of a warm hug on a blustery autumn day.
Banana Ice Cream Cheesecake With Blueberry Compote
Nadiya says: “Cheesecake in any form is a winner for me and this is a simple no-bake ice cream version, which also happens to be vegan. Its sweet, oaty, hazelnutty base is filled with a banana ice cream ‘cheesecake’ layer, then topped with a warm blueberry compote.”
Prep 30 minutes, plus chilling and freezing
Cook 15 minutes
You will need:
For the base
- 160g porridge oats
- 160g roasted whole hazelnuts
- 60ml coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the tin
- 185g golden syrup
- a pinch of salt
For the filling
- 7 bananas, chopped and frozen, about 580g
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
For the compote
- 250g fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ lemon, zest and juice
- 100g caster sugar
- Start by lining and lightly greasing the base and sides of a 20cm round loose-bottom tin, 7.5cm deep.
- Make the base of the cheesecake by toasting the oats and the hazelnuts in a large frying pan on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they just start to turn a golden brown, making sure to stir all the time to keep the oats moving. Pop them straight into a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb.
- Now add the coconut oil and the golden syrup and blitz again till it all clumps together.
- Throw the mixture into the prepped tin and, using the back of a spoon, press into the base and 2.5cm of the sides. Leave the base to chill while you make the filling.
- Make the topping by taking out the frozen chopped bananas and adding to a food processor with the golden syrup, cinnamon and cocoa. As tempted as you might be to begin whizzing, walk away for 5 minutes and allow the bananas to defrost just very slightly so that they process more easily, then blitz till you have what looks like a soft-scoop ice cream.
- Quickly spoon the mixture on top of the prepped base and pop into the freezer till you are ready to eat.
- When you are ready to eat, make the compote by adding the blueberries, lemon zest and juice and sugar to a pan and stirring over a medium heat till the blueberries have just softened. This should only take a few minutes. You can make the compote well in advance and, if you do, keep it chilled in the fridge until serving.
- Take the cheesecake out of the freezer, slide it out of the cake tin and put it onto your serving dish. Add the warm compote on top and leave for just a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.
Ginger And Almond Florentines
Nadiya says: “Brandy snap meets biscuit meets toffee, these are delicious to have lying about the house for a sweet treat, but even better wrapped and given away as a present. Laced with chopped crystallized ginger, sliced almonds and a hint of orange zest, they’re finally dipped in chocolate to add to the party in your mouth!”
Prep 25 minutes, plus setting
Cook 15 minutes
You will need:
- 50g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the trays
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 50g golden syrup
- 50g plain flour
- 75g crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 50g sliced almonds
- 1 orange, zest only
- 200g dark chocolate
- 65g white chocolate
- Start by preheating the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/ gas 6. Line and very lightly grease three baking trays.
- To make the florentines (and these are so easy I think you will be making them again), place the butter and sugar in a medium pan along with the golden syrup and heat until the sugar has dissolved and there are no more granules.
- Take off the heat and add the flour, ginger, almonds and zest and mix to thoroughly combine.
- Take teaspoons of the mixture and pop six equal mounds on each tray, leaving plenty of room for them to spread. Bake for 8 minutes. As soon as they are light golden in the centre and just slightly darker on the outside, they are ready to take out. They are still fragile when very hot, so will need to rest for about 5 minutes before you even think about moving them.
- Have a cooling rack ready and gently, using a palette knife, take them one by one to cool on the rack. Once they have cooled completely they are ready to dip. Now, traditionally they have one side covered in chocolate, but that doesn’t agree with me – where am I supposed to hold it without getting melted chocolate all over my fingers? So I like to half dip. No messy fingers and I get to taste the florentines two different ways. So, melt the chocolates in separate bowls. Make sure to put the dark chocolate in a bowl deep enough for dipping the florentines. Add the melted white chocolate in swirls directly on top of the melted dark chocolate, then use a skewer to create swirls.
- Take each round and dip half in, then pop out and leave to set on the tray with baking the paper that they baked on initially. Leave the chocolate to set and they are ready to eat!
Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Brownies
Nadiya says: “I don’t think I need to elaborate too much on these, do I? I am always in search of the best brownie, and I figure if you can’t find it, make it. So here it is: a triple chocolate brownie, with a layer of toasted chopped nuts encased in dulce de leche, then topped with a zesty cheesecake mixture and baked again. I rest my case.”
Makes 18 squares
Prep 40 minutes, plus overnight chilling
Cook 55 minutes
Best kept in the fridge for 3–4 days
You will need:
For the brownie base:
- 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
- 250g dark chocolate
- 4 medium eggs
- 280g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee mixed with 2 teaspoons hot water
- 120g plain flour, sifted
- 30g cocoa, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon plain flour
- 150g dark choc chips
For the nutty centre
- 1 x 450g jar of dulce de leche
- 200g chopped mixed nuts or hazelnuts
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the top:
- 300g full-fat soft cream cheese
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- cocoa powder for dusting
- Put the butter and chocolate in a small pan and melt gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture is liquid. Set aside to cool.
- Line the base and sides of a 20 x 30 x 5cm brownie tin with some baking paper so that it comes 1cm above the top of the tin, and lightly grease.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 60°C/gas 4.
- Add the eggs, sugar and cooled coffee to a large mixing bowl and whisk until the mixture is light, thick and fluffy. This should take 5 minutes with an electric hand whisk. (Adding the coffee really enhances the flavour of the cocoa and you won’t even be able to taste the coffee itself.)
- Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and whisk until the mixture no longer has any streaks in it.
- Then add the sifted flour, cocoa and salt and mix until you have a glossy batter.
- Mix the teaspoon of flour with the chocolate chips in a bowl before mixing them into the batter until they’re well dispersed – this trick will stop them sinking to the bottom when you bake the brownies. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level off the top. Bake for 25 minutes.
- While it is baking, toast the nuts in a large non-stick pan, stirring until they are a deep golden brown.
- Put the dulce de leche in a bowl along with the toasted nuts and the salt, mix and set aside.
- As soon as the brownies are baked, take them out of the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. As soon as they have cooled, spread the sticky nut mixture over the top and pop the whole thing in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Adjust the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3½.
- Make the cheesecake top by mixing the cream cheese, sugar, egg, almond extract, orange zest and flour together really well.
- Spoon and spread into an even layer over the nut mixture and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
- As soon as the cheesecake is set in the centre, allow to cool totally and leave in the fridge overnight. The wait will be worth it!
- Dust with the cocoa, take out of the tin and cut into squares. Eat, eat, eat!
Photos by Chris Terry. Recipes taken from Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain (Michael Joseph, £22) out now. Nadiya Bakes is available to watch on catch up on BBC iPlayer.
Nadiya Hussain shares her tastiest holiday food memories
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