Mince Pie Bake Off – Saturday 5 December 2015

Gourmandizing London

The Band of Bakers’ Mince Pie Bake Off will take place on Saturday 5 December 2015 at Brick House Bakery in East Dulwich. This new event is part of the East Dulwich Christmas Cracker – a festive street event with all the trimmings.

Do you love baking? Feeling festive? Could you bake our first ever Best in Show? Email mincepiebakeoffse22@gmail.com to secure your place.

We have a fantastic panel of talented bakers to judge your bakes:

Dan Lepard – Artisan baker, food writer and author Dan Lepard is one of the world’s most widely-read and respected bakers, he’s the easy-going judge on TV’s The Great Australian Bake Off, and for 8 years a columnist at The Guardian. Dan’s books have established him as the alternative baking guru for a generation of young cooks and chefs. His latest book, ‘Short & Sweet’ has been a best-seller since its launch, and won the UK’s prestigious Andre Simon Award, Cook Book of the Year, 2011. He lives in Tooting with his partner David.

Fergus Jackson – Fergus is the baker behind Brick House, a sourdough bakery and cafe in East Dulwich, SE London, which he owns and runs with his wife Sharmin. Brick House specialises in San Francisco style slow fermentation sourdough breads, made using traditional methods and just a few simple ingredients; flour, water, sea salt and naturally occurring yeast. Fergus’ Peckham Rye is the current holder of the prestigious Real Bread Campaign’s London Loaf award.

Suzanne James – Sue is an East Dulwich based chef and the woman behind one of London’s leading professional catering companies, which provides private, wedding and corporate clients with delicious and inspiring food made using Great British ingredients. Suzanne is totally committed to the area and to sourcing food locally. She is fondly known as the Queen of Canapés.

Mayor of Southwark – Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE was appointed Mayor of Southwark in May this year. Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a Southwark resident since the age of three, she has had a varied career which has included jobs in education, managing the constituency office of Harriet Harman MP and a small role in EastEnders. She is poised, ready to eat as many mince pies as she can in the hour she has managed to spare us from her hectic schedule!

Naomi Knill – Naomi is a food writer, home cook and co-founder of Band of Bakers who lives with her family in East Dulwich. She writes the successful food blog The Ginger Gourmand. Her recipes have been featured in various publications, including her Cranberry, Orange & Almond Mince Pie recipe which she created for delicious. magazine’s article about Band of Bakers in December 2012.

How do I enter?

If you would like to enter the Mince Pie Bake Off please email mincepiebakeoffse22@gmail.com to register.

The entry fee is £10 (£5 for the Children’s Bake category). All of your entry fee will go directly to Southwark Foodbank (also known as Peckham Foodbank or Pecan) by way of a donation.

The Mince Pie Bake Off is open to all amateur bakers wherever you are based.

There are 20 spaces in each category which will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

What happens on the day?

You will bake 6 mince pies for your chosen category at home. Then you will deliver your mince pies to Brick House Bakery (1 Zenoria Street, London SE22 8HP) between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 5 December 2015.

From 2pm onwards, our amazing panel of judges will taste and deliberate over your mince pies. The winners will be announced from the stage on Northcross Road at 4.15pm. There will prizes for the winners and runners up in each category as well as a special prize for the overall Champion 2015.

Your mince pies which are not required for judging will be sold on the Peckham Foodbank stall on Northcross Road to raise even more money for the fantastic work they do.


  1. Traditional Mince Pies – 6 traditional mince pies. Pastry case, mincemeat, pastry top.

2. Alternative Mince Pies – 6 sweet pies that you would serve as an alternative to a traditional mince pie (you can include mincemeat). Be as creative as you like!

3. Children’s Bakes – 6 traditional or alternative mince pies baked by anyone aged 12 or under.

There are 20 spaces in each category which will be allocated on a first come first served basis.


The list of prizes is ever growing, so watch this space for updates…

Southwark Foodbank

We are proud to support Southwark Foodbank, a Peckham based food bank which provides emergency food to help people who, for whatever reason, don’t have money to feed themselves or their families. It was launched in 2009 and is part of a national network of foodbanks established by The Trussell Trust.



Recipe of the Week: Lucy’s Banana Cake with Maple Frosting


Banana cake with maple frosting. Photo by Lucy Parissi

Lucy brought this delicious banana cake with maple syrup frosting to an event back in early 2014. There was a bit of a fight for the last slice!

Lucy’s Banana Cake with Maple Frosting

For the cake
2 ripe medium bananas
2 large eggs
80ml vegetable oil
½ tsp almond extract
100g spelt flour
100g almonds
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
150g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt

For the frosting
200g icing sugar, sifted
60ml maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
50g unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 180ºc.  Line an 8in square tin with baking paper.

Pulse the bananas, eggs, oil and almond extract in a food processor, mini chopper or blender until smooth. Alternatively mash the bananas with a fork and mix with the other ‘wet’ ingredients.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then add the banana mixture. Fold together with a spatula making sure there are no dry ‘pockets’ in the batter.

Pour the batter in the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and cake is springy to the touch. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Mix all the frosting ingredients together in a bowl using a hand whisk. Add a little more maple syrup if the frosting is too stiff – a teaspoon at a time.

Spread frosting over the cake using a palette knife, cut into squares and serve.

More of Lucy’s recipes can be found on her blog Supergolden Bakes

Recipe of the Week: Gemma’s Cheese, Chive and Mustard Scones

Cheese, chive and mustard scones. Photo by Gemma Thomas

Cheese, chive and mustard scones. Photo by Gemma Thomas

Gemma brought these savoury scones along to our Inherited Bakes event in January 2014.  They were based on the savoury scones she used to make with her grandmother as a child.  They are flavoured with strong cheddar and mustard powder and best eaten with a generous slick of salted butter.

Gemma’s Cheese, Chive and Mustard Scones

250ml low-fat plain yoghurt
25ml whole milk
15g caster sugar
400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp fine salt
1½ tsp mustard powder
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g salted butter
300g strong cheddar, grated
3 tbsp snipped chives
1 egg, beaten
Twist of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220ºc.  Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt, milk and sugar and set aside.

Sift the flour, salt, mustard powder, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.  Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the cheese and chives.

Using a palette knife, stir in the yoghurt mixture until a sticky dough is formed.  Use the moisture in the dough to pick up any loose bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl.  Turn out on to a floured work surface and pat into a round approximately 4cm thick – try not to knead the mixture as this will create a tough texture.  Cut the scones out using a metal cutter and place them on the baking tray.  This mixture should yield about nine scones, but it will depend on the size of the cutter you use.  Brush with the beaten egg and grind a little black pepper on the top and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and risen.

More of Gemma’s recipes can be found on her blog, The Boozy Rouge.

Recipe of the Week: Giulia’s Lemon Curd Crumble Cakes

Lemon curd crumble cakes.  Photo by Giulia Mule.

Lemon curd crumble cakes. Photo by Giulia Mule.

Giulia brought these delicious lemon curd crumble cakes along to our Springtime event in April 2014.  The delicious combination of cake, curd and crumble meant that there were very few left on the table by the end of the evening!

Giulia’s Lemon Curd Crumble Cakes

For the crumble topping
200g plain flour
50g granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp orange zest
Pinch salt
110g cold butter, cut into pieces

For the cake batter
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
80g granulated sugar
50g brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
130g plain flour
50g almond flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon zest
¾ cup lemon curd
30g icing sugar
Pinch salt

For the lemon curd
125ml lemon juice
65g sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Pinch salt
85g unsalted butter, cubed

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Prepare the crumb topping: combine the flour, sugar, orange and lemon zest and pinch of salt. Cut cold butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the bowl and set aside to go cold.

Prepare the cake batter: beat the softened butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add the granulated sugar, beating until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears.

Stir together flour and baking powder and bicarbonate of soda; add almond flour. Add to butter mixture alternately with yoghurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lemon zest.

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cake batter. Pour the cake mixture into a greased and floured 9-inch square (2-inch-deep) pan and bake in the oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and firm.

For the lemon curd: in a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk. When desired consistency is reached, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl as to remove any lumps and zest. This step is important as any little bits of cooked egg white are removed from the curd. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on warm curd (to prevent a film from forming). Store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.

When the cake base is golden, remove from oven and pour the lemon curd slowly over the cake.

Break the crumb mixture into pieces and scatter over the lemon curd cake. Place the cake in the oven and cook until the crumble is golden and crisp, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Remove the cake from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from cake tin.

If you don’t allow the cake to cool, the lemon curd will collapse and ooze out from the cake as it is still very hot. I would even recommend chilling the cake once it has reached room temperature to ensure it keeps its form.

Remove cake from tin, slice into squares and dust with icing sugar.

More of Giulia’s recipes can be found on her blog, Mondomulia.

Recipe Monday: Juliet’s Ricciarelli Biscuits

Ricciarelli biscuits. Photo by delicious. Magazine.

Juliet made these delicious ricciarelli biscuits for the Christmas 2012 issue of delicious. magazine that Band of Bakers were featured in.  These are light almond biscuits, perfect for afternoon tea or to be given as a gift (if you can bear to part with them).

Juliet’s Ricciarelli Biscuits

250g ground almonds
250g icing sugar, plus extra to coat
½ tsp baking powder
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180ºc.   Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, or in the bowl of a freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Add the vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and then fold in the egg whites using a large metal spoon.  The dough will be quite heavy.

Roll out walnut-sized pieces of the dough.  Sprinkle some icing sugar on a plate and roll the pieces of dough in it to coat.  Place them on the baking sheet and flatten a little with your hand.  You can pinch the sides together to form diamond-shapes if you wish.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Leave to cool on the tray and then remove them with a palette knife.

Original recipe from delicious. Magazine.  The article on Band of Bakers can be found here.

Recipe Monday: Ollie’s Miniature Whisky Fruit Scones

Miniature whisky fruit scones. Photo by Ollie Thomas

Miniature whisky fruit scones. Photo by Ollie Thomas

Ollie loves a wee dram of whisky, and he added this to his baking repertoire when he brought these miniature whisky fruit scones along to our Baking with Beverages event in April 2013.  Everybody was quite rosy-cheeked after trying one.

Ollie’s Miniature Whisky Fruit Scones

125g dried mixed fruit
85ml good Scotch whisky
75g soft dark brown sugar
75g spelt flour
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tsp baking powder
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, plus one extra beaten egg for the tops

24 hours before you want to start baking, start soaking the fruit.  Put the fruit in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Leave for about half an hour until the fruit is plump then drain.  Cover the fruit with the whisky and dark brown sugar, mix together, cover with clingfilm and leave until needed.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220ºc.  Mix together the flours and baking powder in a large bowl.  Rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles the texture of fine breadcrumbs.  Add the egg and the fruit and whisky mixture and beat together to form a soft dough.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough.  Pat it into a round about 4cm thick.  Use a small cutter to cut out miniature scones, or a larger cutter for regular sized ones.  Place on a floured baking tray, leaving about 2cm space between them.  Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Serve with good salted butter.

Adapted from a recipe by Dan Lepard.

Recipe Monday: Elliw’s Semlor Buns

Semlor. Photo by Elliw Gwawr

Semlor. Photo by Elliw Gwawr

These Swedish buns are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday and are a great, if slightly more complicated, alternative to pancakes.  Elliw brought these cardamom-spiced buns along to our Springtime event in April 2014 and it wasn’t long before they were all devoured.

Elliw’s Semlor Buns

500g strong white bread flour
14g dried yeast
100g caster sugar
5g salt
1 small egg
250ml whole milk
7 cardamom pods, or 1 tsp ground cardamom
100g unsalted butter
100g marzipan
300ml double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp icing sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and grind finely with a pestle and mortar and add to the milk. Heat to 37°c (body temperature). Make sure it is not too hot as the excessive heat will kill the yeast.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the egg and then strain the milk into the mixture, discarding the cardamom seeds.

Put a small amount of flour on the board and knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth. Place the dough in a bowl greased with oil and cover with cling film. Let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour.

Divide the dough into 60g pieces (slightly larger than a golf ball) and place on a baking tray with a little flour is sprinkled on it. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave for another 90 minutes to rise.

Preheat oven to 230°c and bake for 10 minutes until they are golden brown.  Let cool on a wire rack.

In the meantime, whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar. Grate the marzipan and mix with a small amount of milk to form a soft paste.

When the buns are cool, cut the tops off and put them to one side.  Remove some of the bread out of the centre of the buns and mix the breadcrumbs with marzipan paste and fill the hole with mixture.  Pipe bit of cream on top, and put the lid back on. Dust with icing sugar.

More of Elliw’s recipes can be found on her blog, Paned a Chacen