Apple (Butter) Jack Flatbreads

Well, it was inevitable, I suppose. The day that my obsession with the Great British Bake Off would follow me into the kitchen and I would feel compelled to begin recreating every challenge from the past 6 seasons, and I would dedicate myself to my new life of sponge cakes and patisserie and short crust pastry. 

Apple Jack Flatbreads

Ha. Yeah right. 

For one, I have a full time job, so no way do I have the time to devote to mastering the ridiculous confections the contestants are told to make, nor do I have any chance of meeting Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry or Mel and Sue and really, what is even the point then?

But I’m still very much obsessed with that show, and a few of the challenges remain rattling around in my brain, gently nudging me to just try them out already. Typically, these are the challenges that I felt I could have done ok in, or at least better than whoever came last (really? you all can make perfect macarons and freaking phyllo dough and yet none of you has ever even tried to make a souffle?), like the jelly-filled donuts or the American pie challenge (who in America has ever eaten peanut butter and pumpkin together in anything?). And once I got to later seasons and they started including Master Class episodes where Mary and Paul show you how to bake some of the challenges, well, I really felt like I could do all of it. I ran into the kitchen, ready to prove to myself that I too have what it takes to be on a public television baking show. 

I decided that I wanted to make a stuffed flatbread, so I cued up Paul Hollywood, master bread baker, telling me exactly how to do it so that I could “achieve the perfect result, every time.” Well, apparently I shouldn’t try out for the American version anytime soon, because I haven’t yet learned to trust my own instincts. Apparently when Paul Blue Eyes tells me to only proof my bread for about 15 minutes, I decide to listen instead of using my own baking knowledge that yeast just doesn’t work that fast, and even a flatbread dough needs to rise longer than that, otherwise you just get tough, doughy discs that you can bang on like drums, as I found out. Maybe it was the fault of whoever edited the video, but since I wasn’t actually in the market for edible percussion instruments, I decided to try again, this time using another source recipe, and my own instincts.

This time, my dough proofed until it doubled in size, then I punched it down, rolled it out and filled it with shredded cheese and apple butter, then folded it back up and rolled it out again, then fried it up. I had flatbreads that were cheesy and sweet and not tough. I had done it! I was Star Baker!  Now I really feel like I could tackle those donuts. Or short crust pastry. Or hot water crust pastry.

Please, someone tell me what those last two even are. 

Sliced Apple Jack Flatbreads
Apple Butter & Jack Flatbreads

Apple Butter Jack Flatbreads

Loosely adapted from Paul Hollywood, hence measurements for the bread dough are in grams. 

  • 500 g bread flour
  • 10 g kosher salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 20-30 g olive oil, plus more for kneading
  • cold water
  • apple butter, for filling
  • 4-6 oz jack cheese, shredded, for filling
  1. Mix together flour, salt, yeast and olive oil and a little water to start, adding more water as necessary to create a shaggy, cohesive dough.
  2. Turn dough out onto a surface slicked with a little olive oil and knead, 4-5 minutes at minimum, until dough smooths out into a soft, sticky consistency. 
  3. Place in a large oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours. 
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and stretch into a log. Cut into 8 roughly equal pieces and form into balls.
  5. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Stretch or roll out the dough balls a bit, then add a small amount of cheese and about a teaspoon of apple butter into the center. Pinch into a parcel, enclosing the fillings, and gently roll out into a round. The fillings may burst out a bit but that's ok.
  7. Heat some ghee or oil on the hot griddle or skillet and fry flat breads until blistered and golden and cooked through, a few minutes per side. Cut into wedges or strips and serve hot or at room temperature.


Matcha, White Chocolate & Cherry Lamingtons

What’s a lamington, you ask?

Well, let’s look at that photo. Obviously, it is cake, which is wonderful, and it appears to be filled with jam, also good, and then it also appears to have a fine snow of coconut all around the outside, like a little shaggy petit four. So that’s a lamington.

Matcha, White Chocolate Cherry Lamington

Kind of. Sorry to any Aussies out there or to any dessert purists, but from from what I gather a lamington is usually a simpler affair with vanilla sponge cake, chocolate filling and icing, and coconut. Three flavors, all delicious, all proven friends. My version is a little noisier, with an extra flavor thrown in to complicate the equation, and I’ve taken the other parts and tweaked them a bit, because I never met a cake I didn’t want to bombard with a million flavors. 

We have a matcha sponge cake (though I used less matcha than usual, for some reason, and you really need to be a sensory ninja to taste it in the batch I made), a cherry jam filling, white chocolate icing, and then the coconut. It’s kind of a lot of flavors, but they all work together somehow, and the result is a little white cake treat perfectly sized for a sweet afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee. 

But, honestly, who cares about cake I’M GOING TO AUSTRALIA!!! As I type this I’m sitting in SFO cursing the International terminal and it’s terrible lack of restaurant or bar options, because all I really wanted to do was not sit at my gate for an hour, but oh well, because truly nothing can get me down right now. I’m about to do some serious damage to my bucket list, and even the prospect of a 14 hour flight can’t dim my enthusiasm. I’ve got two and a half weeks of meat pies and ferry boats and beaches and Tim Tams waiting on the other side, and I’m so ready. 

So, bye, America, see you in November!

(But to the internet, I will still be here with regularly scheduled programming, so see you on Tuesday!)

Cherry Jam Filled Matcha Lamington
dipping lamingtons
Finished Lamingtons
Lamington and Tea

Matcha, White Chocolate & Cherry Lamingtons

Adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 2 1/2 oz unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 oz white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cherry jam, for filling
  1. Butter a square baking pan, either 8x8 in or 9x9 in, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whip the eggs, sugar and salt in a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, on high speed, about 10 minutes (or until a thick ribbon of the batter will hold its shape), then stir in the vanilla. The mixture will be greatly increased in volume.
  3. While eggs and sugar are whipping, whisk together flour and matcha. When eggs and sugar have finished whipping, sift the flour mixture over the top of the egg mixture and then gently fold into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture too much. You will need more folding than you think but you also can't catastrophically deflate the mixture as long as you fold in the flour gently. Fold in the melted butter until no streaks of it remain visible.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 30 minutes, until golden and pulling away slightly from the sides of the pan. You will have extra batter if you are using an 8x8 pan. 
  5. Let cake cool completely, then flip out onto a cutting board and remove the parchment paper. Trim the sides and then cut the cake in half down the middle, then cut each piece in half horizontally, so you should now have 4 cake layers measuring 4x8 inches or 4.5x9 inches.
  6. Spread the inside of two layers with the jam, then sandwich each with a remaining layer. Cut each "sandwich" into 8 squares. Fill a large bowl with the shredded coconut and set aside.
  7. Melt together the chocolate, butter, and milk with 2 tbs of water in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (a double boiler), then remove from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.
  8. Dip each cake square in the chocolate mixture, then toss in the coconut until completely covered. Set on a wire rack to firm up for a bit and then enjoy!