Food & Drink

Former Bake Off contestants on their most memorable dishes from the show

From breads to cakes, former contestant pick their favourite bakes (Matt Russell/Chris Terry/PA)
From breads to cakes, former contestant pick their favourite bakes (Matt Russell/Chris Terry/PA) From breads to cakes, former contestant pick their favourite bakes (Matt Russell/Chris Terry/PA)

A new series of The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens on September 26.

It’s set to be a new era for the show, with This Morning presenter Alison Hammond replacing comedian Matt Lucas as co-presenter, alongside Noel Fielding.

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith resume their normal positions as judges, in what’s looking like another highly-anticipated series.

But before the 14th season gets underway, past contestants have been getting nostalgic and thinking about their favourite bakes from the show…

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain
Nadiya Hussain (Chris Terry/PA)

When Nadiya Hussain thinks back to her winning stint on the show in 2015, the peacock made of chocolate from the semi-final springs to mind.

“That was a really, really cool task to do,” says the author of Nadiya’s Simple Spices (Michael Joseph, £26).

“At that point, I was enjoying these really obscure tasks, so I didn’t actually care whether I won or lost. I was like, ‘I’m just having a really good time right now’. And I really liked that.”

Giuseppe Dell’Anno

Giuseppe Dell'Anno
Giuseppe Dell'Anno (Matt Russell/PA)

Winner of the 2021 series, Giuseppe Dell’Anno, says he feels “emotionally attached to pretty much every single one of my bakes on the show”.

But the one that is really imprinted on his memory is the joconde imprimé from dessert week.

“It’s probably the most sophisticated dessert I’ve ever baked, with a core of genoise sponge soaked in wild strawberry liqueur, two layers of bavarois, one pistachio, one strawberry, a shiny top of bright red mirror glaze, all wrapped in a highly decorated almond sponge and decorated with a garland of glazed and crystallised fruit,” says the author of Giuseppe’s Easy Bakes (Quadrille, £24, available October 26).

“When I got the brief, I almost fell off my chair: I had never made any of those elements, so I had to learn every one of them from scratch. In less than one week! You can imagine how proud I felt when Paul and Prue said my cake was worthy of a 5-star hotel. That was the moment I realised that you can do everything in life, if you just put your mind to it.”

Crystelle Pereira

For Crystelle Pereira – who appeared on the 2021 series alongside Del’Anno and penned Flavour Kitchen (Kyle Books, £22) – the pie she made in pastry week, winning her star baker, is her favourite.

“People are still tagging me in it now – the amount of people who have made that pie, it’s so touching for a number of reasons,” she says. “A – because people have just made a recipe of mine, that’s always going to be something rewarding. And B – it’s also Goan food, that was a Goan curry in there, and Goan food really isn’t on the map. No one knows a lot about it. ‘Indian food’ is such an umbrella term – Goan food, Gujarati food, it’s all very different. So the fact that people are making Goan food itself is incredible.

“And thirdly, that recipe was my late great-grandmother’s recipe, so the fact her legacy is still living on and people are making my pie for Thanksgiving using her recipe is just so incredible.”

Hermine Dossou

Hermine Dossou says she’s most proud of the salmon and chive soda bread she made during season 11.

Despite saying it “wasn’t much”, the author of The Thrifty Baker (White Lion, £18.99), adds: “By the time I went into the tent, I wasn’t a massive bread maker, other than the monthly brioche that I was making… So that was one of the weeks where I was really worried and I felt vulnerable.

“And I felt like, oh my god, I could leave this week. And for me to then come up with that soda bread and get a handshake from Paul Hollywood, it was like – wow! That was amazing.”

Val Stones

Val Stones
Val Stones (Val Stones/PA) (Amy Kimber)

Val Stones became a firm fan favourite during season seven and is now stairlift and homelift company Stannah’s baking expert. Her favourite bake was from biscuit week.

“My gingerbread piece had to be over 30cm tall, and I decided to show how my family was the foundation of my life,” Stones remembers – with the plan being to track the history of her family through different structures representing Yorshkire, Derbyshire, Holland and New York.

“Everything went well baking the pieces, but I realised that sticking the pieces of gingerbread together with royal icing was not a good idea; it wasn’t strong enough to hold the pieces together,” Stones recalls – and sure enough, her gingerbread structure toppled over.

“Though not precisely successful, this bake showed how humour can come from a negative place. I wanted to show the viewers that not all bakes look perfect, but it’s all about the taste; both Mary [Berry] and Paul loved the flavour of my gingerbread. I knew they would. I’d been making this recipe for 20 years.”

The Great British Bake Off returns on Tuesday September 26 at 8pm on Channel 4.