Recipes for cheese and walnut sablés, West Country Easter Biscuits, Simnel and white chocolate cookies, Greek Koulourakia, Maltese Figolli, Chocolate Oat Nests and Polish Mazurek Królewski.

For thousands of years, civilisations around the world have made baking a central part of their celebrations. From christenings to Christmas, weddings to holy days, a sweet treat can make an occasion feel even more special. If you’ve been observing Lent, Easter may mark the end of your fast and a time to feast. For others, the Easter holidays is an opportunity to get together with friends and family.

These are seven of my favourite baking recipes for Easter. Some have been inspired by traditional bakes such as the simnel and white chocolate cookies, others come from my chef travels around the world like the Greek koulourakia. And, most important to me, is that all these bakes can be made using the incredible produce we have right here in Dorset.

Baking tips:

- Pay attention if the recipe asks for cold or softened butter, it makes a big difference to how the dough cooks.

- Resting times are important as it allows the butter to harden again which will results in a better shaped bake.

- Get everyone involved! Baking is the perfect opportunity to start youngsters building confidence in the kitchen, especially with the measuring and decorating.

- Bake an extra batch as a home baked Easter gift for friends and family.

About Philippa Davis: Raised on her family’s Dorset farm, Philippa is a television presenter, private chef, food writer and champion of Dorset produce. She has worked at Michelin starred River Café and Moro restaurants and specialises in sourcing and celebrating the very best local produce wherever she may be. Follow her food adventures on Instagram @philippadavis_food

Great British Life: Wordsworth cheese and walnut sablés with Dorset charcuterieWordsworth cheese and walnut sablés with Dorset charcuterie (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Wordsworth cheese and walnut sablés with Dorset charcuterie

These crumbly cheesy biscuits are an ideal nibble to have with a pre-lunch drink. Eat plain or top with a little Dorset charcuterie or some extra cheese. Wordsworth Cheese, from The Book and Bucket Cheese Company in Cranborne, is a rich, buttery Gouda-style cheese, with nutty notes.

Makes 45 approx.


175g plain flour

½ tsp mustard powder

150g cold salted butter

150g Wordsworth cheese (or Gouda or Cheddar)

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

75g finely ground walnuts

Method: In a food processor or bowl mix the flour with the mustard powder. Using the large side of a cheese grater, grate in the butter and Wordsworth cheese. Rub or blend the ingredients together until it resembles breadcrumbs, stir in the rosemary and walnuts. Bring together to form a dough using 1 – 2 tbsp of cold water and mould into a 4cm diameter log. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/ gas mark 6. Slice the log into thin 5-8mm thick rounds and lay out on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 12- 14 minutes until golden. Allow to cool.

Serve topped with a selection of Dorset charcuterie and cheese. I used Dorset Bresaola, and Pink Peppercorn and Purbeck Cider Salami from The Real Cure (; Venison and Green Peppercorn Salami, and Dorset Soft Spreadable Salami from Capreolous Fine Foods ( and creamy soft Orwell and Orwell with Pink Peppercorns, two sheep’s milk cheese from The Book & Bucket.

Great British Life: West Country Easter Biscuits with Liberty Fields Dessert Cider. West Country Easter Biscuits with Liberty Fields Dessert Cider. (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

West Country Easter Biscuits with Liberty Fields Dessert Cider

This is based on the traditional Easter biscuit which originated in the West Country. I make mine extra special by plumping up the dried fruits with Liberty Fields Dessert Cider. Made from heritage apples grown in West Dorset, it has a full-bodied flavour reminiscent of baked apples. You can make these biscuits vegan by swapping the butter and milk for plant alternatives and replacing the egg with 3 tablespoons of aquafaba.

Makes 15


80g raisins

60ml Liberty Field Dessert Cider (or apple juice)

100g salted butter, softened

100g golden caster sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling

1 medium free range/organic egg

250g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 large unwaxed lemon, zest only

1-2 tbsp milk

Method: In a small saucepan on a low heat gently cook the raisins with the cider or apple juice for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and leave with a lid on for 5 minutes. Strain the raisins through a sieve and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/ gas mark 6 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together for a couple of minutes until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the egg then gently combine in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and lemon zest.

Add the raisins and just enough milk to form into a dough. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to 8mm thick. Easter Biscuits are traditionally wide, so I use a 9cm diameter cutter. Cut out your biscuits and lay them on the trays. Bake for 12- 14 minutes until golden. Whilst still warm sprinkle with sugar and allow to cool. These are delicious served with a chilled glass of Liberty Field Dessert Cider or Dorset apple juice.

Great British Life: Simnel and white chocolate cookiesSimnel and white chocolate cookies (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Simnel and white chocolate cookies

Simnel cakes are traditionally eaten in the UK and Ireland around Easter. The conventional topping of 11 balls of marzipan represents the apostles, minus Judas, although occasionally you may find 12. These chunky white chocolate cookies have a little spice, like the simnel cake, and are topped with a marzipan ball, whether you make 11 or 12 cookies is up to you.

I used chocolate drops from the brilliant baking range at Chococo (

Makes 11 or 12


100g salted butter, softened

50g light muscovado sugar

1 medium free range/organic egg

150g self-raising flour

1 tsp (heaped) ground ginger

½ tsp ground nutmeg

70g Chococo white chocolate drops

65g marzipan, rolled into 11 or 12 balls

Method: Beat the butter and sugar together until well combined then beat in the egg. Add the flour, ginger and nutmeg, gently combine, when it starts to come together scatter over the chocolate drops and mix in to form a dough. Roll into a 4 cm diameter log. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/ gas mark 6. Slice the log into 1 ½ cm thick discs, lay out on a lined baking sheet, press a thumb print into the middle of each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes then carefully place a ball of marzipan on each cookie, where the thumb print groove is, and bake for another five minutes. Leave to cool before eating.

Great British Life: Greek KoulourakiaGreek Koulourakia (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Greek Koulourakia

These buttery, vanilla, orange-scented Greek cookies were traditionally made on Holy Saturday and eaten on Easter Sunday. They are usually shaped into braids or twists which symbolises the suppression of evil spirits. Delicious dunked into tea, if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger, the citrus flavour in them works beautifully with Yuzucello, a yuzu liqueur from the Dorset Wasabi Company which has notes of lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and lime. I used edible powders from Polly’s Petals in Portland to create different coloured doughs to add a more fun element to this Greek Easter classic.

Makes about 30


170g salted butter, softened

125g golden caster sugar

1 medium free range/organic egg

zest from 2 large oranges

1 tbsp orange juice

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp baking powder

300g plain flour

Optional for colouring the dough

2-3 tsp Pollys Petals edible powders:

1tsp heaped Beetroot (red)

1tsp heaped of Annatto (orange)

For the glaze

1 medium free range/organic egg

1 tbsp milk

4 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Method: Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the egg. Mix in the zest and vanilla. In a small bowl whisk together the bicarb, baking powder and flour, then gently beat into the butter mix to form a dough.

If you want to make different coloured doughs at this stage add your edible powders. I split my dough into three: 1/3 plain, then added 1tsp Annatto to 1/3 of the dough, and 1tsp beetroot powder to the final 1/3. Form into a disc (or three discs if going down the coloured dough route), wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Line two baking trays with baking parchment. Taking 1 tbsp approx. of dough, form into a 15cm long log, bend in half and twist, leaving the ends spread like bunny ears. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the mix. Leave about 5cm between each one on the tray as they will puff up.

Beat the egg and milk for the egg glaze together and lightly brush all the twists then sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional). Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 175°C fan/190°C/gas mark 5. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until golden, leave to cool on the baking tray.

Great British Life: The marzipan filling of the Maltese Figolli. The marzipan filling of the Maltese Figolli. (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Maltese Figolli 

Made by sandwiching together two orange blossom flavoured biscuits with an almond filling, Figolli are a delicious Maltese Easter tradition. Baking them is a fun family activity that involves lots of mixing, cutting and decorating. They are often finished with a layer of brightly coloured royal icing, but feel free to get creative and experiment with melted chocolate, desiccated coconut or a simple sprinkle of icing sugar.

You will need cookie cutter shapes: eggs, circles, lambs, bunnies, hearts etc

Makes 12 large complete cookies approx.


200g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling

½ tsp baking powder

125g caster sugar

100g cold salted butter

2 medium egg yolks

2 tsp orange blossom water

For the almond filling

100g caster sugar

1 egg white

100g ground almonds

1 tsp almond extract

Method: Line two baking trays with baking parchment. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and sugar. Using the large side of a cheese grater, grate in the cold butter. Rub together with the dry ingredients until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the orange blossom water then add in the egg yolks. Bring together into a dough, form into a disk, cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the almond filling: In a clean bowl whisk together the almond filling ingredients until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 150°C fan/170°C/gas mark 3. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the biscuit dough to 4mm thick. Cut out your shapes, making sure there is an even number of every shape (two get sandwiched together to make one biscuit). Place the bottom half of your cut-out dough shape onto your baking sheet and flatten out a small spoonful of the almond mix across the centre. Top with the matching dough shape and press the edges to seal. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until a light golden. Leave to cool completely before decorating.

Decorating Ideas: I used icing pens, glace icing (icing sugar mixed with water or cream), desiccated coconut and Polly’s Petals freeze-dried edible flowers.

Great British Life: Chocolate oat nests, ideal for younger cooks to make. Chocolate oat nests, ideal for younger cooks to make. (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Chocolate Oat Nests

These are very easy and quick to make, so perfect for when younger family members want to get involved. They can easily be made vegan and gluten free by using vegan chocolate, a butter alternative, vegan decorations and gluten free oats. I used the vegan-friendly 43% Oat M!lk Chocolate from the Dorset chocolate brand Chococo.

Makes 16 nests


150g milk chocolate

20g butter

100g oats (gluten free if you prefer)

chocolate eggs to decorate

16 x cupcake cases

Method: Nestle the paper cases into a cupcake tin. In a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water melt the chocolate and butter. Once melted stir in the oats. Spoon into the paper cases and press the chocolate eggs into the middle, so they look like they are sitting in a nest. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before eating.

Great British Life: Polish Mazurek KrólewskiPolish Mazurek Królewski (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Polish Mazurek Królewski 

Ideal for a showstopper Easter dessert, this sensational looking bake is inspired by a Mazurek Królewski (Royal Mazurka) a Polish Easter treat. Instead of the traditional shortcrust pastry I have used all butter puff pastry from the award-winning Dorset Pastry. It’s filled with a selection of jams and caramels from another award-winning Dorset brand, Ajar Of.

Serves 6-8


1 sheet of Dorset Pastry ready rolled all butter puff pastry

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp golden caster sugar

To decorate

100g thick cream or thick plain yogurt

16-18 teaspoons of sweet preserves, I used a mix of colour/flavours, including a thick caramel sauce.

2 tsp icing sugar

Method: Line a flat baking sheet with baking parchment. Unroll the puff pastry sheet and cut down from the centre of the long side to form two rectangles. Brush one rectangle with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar then lay it sugar side down on the baking sheet. Brush the top side with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Using a small sharp knife score a 2cm deep border around the rectangle, like a frame, then score the centre panel in a diamond pattern, this is to help stop it rising too high.

Cut the other rectangle into 2cm wide strips. Use the strips to create a lattice across the egged rectangle and finish by making a border around the edge. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with sugar. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/ gas mark 6. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and puffed up, if the centre is very risen carefully use a knife to pierce some slits. Allow to cool.

Into the lattice, spoon a little thick yogurt or thick cream into each well, then top with jams and/or caramels. Lightly dust with icing sugar before bringing to the table for all to admire.

Great British Life: Philippa Davis with some of the chocolate oat nests. Philippa Davis with some of the chocolate oat nests. (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Great British Life: The Dorset sourced range of ingredients used in Philippa's Easter bakesThe Dorset sourced range of ingredients used in Philippa's Easter bakes (Image: Hugh MacNish Porter)

Source it from Dorset

The Dorset Dairy Company: From their HQ near Sturminster Newton, husband-and-wife Alex and Dan, along with their team, produce a range of award-winning dairy products with excellent provenance including lusciously thick cream and sensational strained yogurt. Find local stockists at

Capreolus Fine Foods: This multi-award-winning, family-run artisan charcuterie maker in West Dorset uses carefully sourced free range and local meat. I love their clever balance of using traditional techniques with modern creative flair.

The Real Cure: Another multi-award-winning Dorset charcuterie business, this one is near Shaftesbury. They source free range and wild British meat which they combine with their love for other local ingredients like Blue Vinny cheese and Purbeck cider.

Liberty Fields: Specialising in apple-based products this West Dorset business makes the most of their traditional orchards. I highly recommend the clean crisp Porters Perfection Vodka, Apple Balsamic Vinegar and their divine Dessert Cider.

Hollis Mead: Using their 100% pasture-fed organic milk Hollis Mead create an irresistible selection of Dorset dairy products including award-winning butter, cheese and kefir.

Chococo: These multi-award-winning Purbeck chocolatiers make a fantastic range of chocolate bars, buttons, filled chocolates, hot chocolate and seasonal treats including Easter Eggs. Their drops and baking chocolates are exceptional as they apply the same high ethical standards to everything they do. Available online and in their shops

Polly’s Petals: This Portland-based brand offers edible dried and freeze-dried petals, powders, flower heads and buds in a dazzling array of colours to pimp your cake or cocktail.

Ajar Of: From a converted cowshed in deepest Dorset, Tracey Collins makes an impressive selection of award-winning sweet and savoury preserves and sauces. Find her products at farm shops and milk stations around the county or at

Dorset Pastry: Made with British butter and no preservatives or additives, this multi-award-winning Dorset company make a range of exceptional sweet and savoury pastries including the UK’s only organic puff pastry.

The Wasabi Company: Building on their success of growing the first wasabi in the UK, this Dorset company sells a carefully curated range of Japanese products including soy sauces, sake and spirits including Yuzucello.

The Book and Bucket Cheese Company: This multi-award-winning Dorset cheesemaker uses local cows and sheep’s milk for their cheeses which are named after famous authors. Available at local delis and farm shops and online.