This article first appeared in the Nottinghamshire Evening post on Wednesday 14th September 2016.
Nottingham resident and Great British Bake Off contestant Jordan Cox talks about the importance of friends, both old and new and how they have influenced his baking over the years.
This past weekend I could be found at a large East London church, celebrating the wedding of Iain, my Irish Bake Off pal. This has me reminiscing slightly.
Since my season of the show aired a couple of years ago all of my Bake Off friends have tried to see each other as much as possible which, although we speak online daily has become harder to do as time goes by.
We can all be so busy in our lives with work and family that we can all be blamed for not giving enough time to our friends. As we get older the time between visits grows and what used to be beer and fun has now been replaced with babies and political boredom.
Without our friends though, would we really be the people we are today? I know I have mine to thank for all my greatest achievements as they are the people that support me and encourage me to do better, as I hope I do to them.
Our friends are the people who shape our way of thinking. They are the people we turn to when things go wrong and we need a reassuring voice to calm us.
These are the people that I force fed doughnuts to at 1am when practicing for the show, these are the people that will tell me when I am starting to believe my own hype and need bringing back down to earth again!
So many good things have come from being on the Bake Off but I consider the 11 other people I met whilst filming to be the best thing of all.
It speaks volumes for the effort put in by the producers that they can take people from across all age’s and social groups and have us all get on as if we were family. Maybe it is the stress of the show itself that brought us closer together, as only those that have entered the hallowed tent know what really goes on within.
Cooking and baking have an intrinsic link with family and friends. From a slice of cake over a gossip to a full blown Sunday dinner, food brings us together and allows us to get closer to each other. You don’t need an excuse to see your mates, you shouldn’t have to have a special occasion to catch up.
So make time for each other, hell, even bake together. You don’t need to be on a BBC cooking show to show off to each other!
Impress your friends with this rather fancy fruit lattice tart. I have filled mine with the last of the seasons blackberries and plums, alongside some apples and pears. The whole thing is then given a bit of a zing with the addition of lots of lemon juice and a little ginger. A modern take on this classic dish which will be loved by all.
90g butter, softened
65g caster sugar
3 free-range egg yolks
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g caster sugar
2 large Bramley apples – cored, peeled and cubed
4 medium pears – cored, peeled and cubed
2 lemons – zest and juice
1tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 large free-range egg – beaten
½tsp ground cinnamon
Make the pasty by placing the four, 65g sugar and 90g butter into an electric whisk and blend for 10 seconds, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Slowly add the eggs to the running mixer until the dough comes together to form a ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Place the apples, butter, sugar and lemon juice & zest into a pan, covered, over a medium heat for 5 mins until the apples soften. Add the blackberries and ginger before cooking uncovered for an additional 5 mins. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Once cool, stir through the pear pieces.
Take your cooled pastry and cut off one third for the lattice. Roll out the larger piece of pastry and line a 10” tart tin, or shallow sided cake tin. Place into the fridge whilst you work on the next stage.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into strips long enough to go over your tart tin. I find chilling the strips for 15mins before assembling helps with the lattice.
Pre-heat your oven to 180c. Pour the apple and blackberry mixture into the lined tart tin. Use the pastry stripes to weave together to make a lattice. It can be easier to do this on a piece of greaseproof paper before transferring the entire lattice to the tart in one go.
Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little caster sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 50mins.
Let cool for at least 30mins before removing from the tin and enjoying with some fresh custard.