Sandy Docherty - Great British Bake Off contestant shares her Christmas recipes

GBBO contestant Sandy Docherty

GBBO contestant Sandy Docherty - Credit: Archant

Make it a Christmas worthy of the Great British Bake Off. Sandy Docherty was a contestant on GBBO and has some savvy and stylish recipes to make the festive season taste just fabulous.

Parmesan Shortbread by Sandy Docherty

Parmesan Shortbread by Sandy Docherty - Credit: Archant

Sandy Docherty was awarded with a Paul Hollywood handshake for her chocolate tart when she was a contestant on The Great British Bake Off.

She's sharing the secret of this culinary stunner, as well as some recipes to make the festivities as frazzle-free as they can be.

Christmas is a time for entertaining, yes, but even if you're hosting you don't have to miss out on the celebrations.

Few things can be as stressful as the GBBO tent so Sandy has some valuable tips to create the perfect pre-prepared party platters.

Sandy's selection - designed for ease and convenience - will give you food for thought when compiling your own festive menus.

If you're seeking the perfect appetisers, Sandy's delicate and light, melt-in-the-mouth Parmesan Shortbreads can be piped with cream cheese creating the perfect canape. This particular recipe features in Sandy's cookbook, Sandy D Bakes Baking Down Barriers, published earlier this year.

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Sandy's St Stephen's Day pie recipe with its sage and onion crust and turkey, ham and veg filling certainly doesn't let anything go to waste demonstrating how to make use of your leftovers.

St Stephens Day Pie by Sandy Docherty

St Stephens Day Pie by Sandy Docherty - Credit: Archant

'I have this theory that pastry is like a peacemaker of the world,' says Sandy.

'It is like the culinary equivalent of Lycra - it can stretch over most things that may not be otherwise attractive.'

And who says you have to stick with tradition? Sandy's sweet mince pie ice cream offers a refreshing twist to the traditional Christmas puddings and cakes. It's also a dessert that can be prepared in advance.

'This is the easiest ice cream you will come across. I use it all the time and just change the flavours depending on how I want to serve it,' she says.

'Since it's the festive season I've decided to make sweet mince pie ice cream using my Mum's homemade mincemeat. Also one of my favourites - liquorice ripple, an acquired taste, still it works well curled up by the fire watching an old Christmas film."

The chocolate tart accompanying Sandy's ice cream is the same recipe she used for one of the bakes she created as a contestant on The Great British Bake Off. Sandy was on the show in 2015 when it was on the BBC and she also appeared on the New Year's Day programme after it switched to Channel Four.

'The idea that it is homemade is important but it has got to be uncomplicated and to fit around your needs. There is nothing more welcoming than something that is homemade,' says Sandy.

Sandy's mum inspired her to bake and she will be among the 12 members of family gathering at Sandy's Yeadon home on Christmas Day.

'We grew up with my mum baking. I like to cook any time, I like to entertain and I think gifts now at Christmas should be consumable, says Sandy, referring to home-made gifts such as a batch of freshly baked home-made mince pies and a bottle of wine, which say so much.

'When it is home made it means you have given the gift of time which is the best gift ever.'

For more of Sandy's recipes visit

Here are the recipes to re-create Sandy's fuss-free festive feasts…..

Parmesan Shortbread


2 cup self raising flour

2 cup parmesan cheeses grated

240g soft butter

Dried mixed herbs


Blitz the flour, butter and cheese in a processor until it forms a soft ball, or work together using your hand. Wrap in cling film and chill.

Roll out the mixture till 4mm thick and cut out discs using a 4cm cutter.

Place on a lined tray, bake at gas 6/200°C for eight minutes or until just turning light golden.

Be gentle with these as they are very delicate but so tasty.


St Stephen's Day Pie

Ingredients for an eight inch pie plate


500g self raising flour

125g block margarine

125g lard

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

50g dried stuffing mix

1 egg

4/5 tbs cold water


500g diced turkey

500g diced ham

500g cooked veg

1 jar cranberry sauce (optional)

1 large onion

1 tbs flour

1 tbs oil

1 jellied chicken stock pot or if using gravy no need for stock and flour.


To make the pastry rub the fats and flour together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the dried stuffing mix, salt and pepper.

Add in the water and bring the mixture together using your hands. (You may need a little more water as the stuffing makes the mixture more porous.

When you have a soft/firmish dough tip out on to a surface and bring the mixture together into a smooth ball. Wrap and chill or freeze until needed.


Chop the onion and fry in the oil. Add the chopped meat and stir. Sprinkle on the flour and stir in the stock (or mix in the gravy). Add the chopped veg. Leave to cool and then put the filling into the pastry case. Cook at gas mark 6/200°C for about 40 minutes and serve hot or at room temperature.

Hero Chocolate Tart

Sandy's chocolate tart and mint chocolate ice cream earned her the 'Paul Hollywood Handshake' from Great British Bake Off judge, Paul Hollywood, when she appeared in the New Year's Day programme.


For the chocolate pastry

175g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

50g icing sugar

140g unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

For the filling

300g 70 per cent plain chocolate

200g milk chocolate

200 ml whole milk

350 ml double cream

3 whole eggs

2 tbs of camp coffee


Preheat the oven to 160°C gas 5

To make the pastry

Mix the flour, sugar and cocoa in a processor and pulse for a second or two.

Put the cut butter into the processor and pulse until it resembles fine bread crumbs.

Drop in the egg yolks and mix for a few seconds.

Tip onto a surface and bring the dough together with your hand.

Wrap the ball in cling film and chill.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film.

Peel off the top layer and gently lower the dough into the flan ring, using the cling film to guide.

Press gently into place and leave an over-hang of pastry.


Peel off the cling film and put a piece of parchment inside the flan case.

Fill with baking beans.

Bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and beans and bake again for a further 10 minutes.

Remove and leave to cool on the tray. Trim off the excess pastry.

Turn the oven down to about 100c.


Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water.

Heat the cream and milk together with two tablespoons of camp coffee.

In another bowl lightly whisk the eggs.

When the milk has heated pour it on to the egg, whisking all the time.

Take the melted chocolate off the heat and pour the custard through a sieve onto the chocolate.

Gently whisk the mixture till it turns chocolatey.

Gently pour the mixture in the pastry case and bake in the oven for approximately one hour or until just set in the middle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Put the tart in the fridge to cool quickly.

Slide onto a serving plate using a large spatula.

Gently lift off the ring.


Sandy's Sweet Mince Pie ice cream


Ice cream base

1 large tin of condensed milk

1 pink of double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract


Combine all the ingredients together, if you prefer a lighter ice cream, whip the ingredients until it forms soft peaks.

Fold in the flavourings

Mince pie

3 heaped tablespoons of good quality mincemeat.

4 crumbed-up shortbread biscuits (I think this works better than using broken mince pies).


Liquorice Ripple

200g of Pontefract cakes.

150 mls of water.

Put the Pontefract cakes in a pan with 150 mls of water. Place over a low heat and melt slowly, stirring occasionally.

If the mixture becomes too thick, add another 2 tablespoons of water. When the mixture has melted (don't worry about the off chunk of un-melted Pontefract cake as it adds to the texture) allow to cool and stir it into the basic ice cream mixture.

It may be wise to pour the basic ice cream into the freezer container and then pour on the liquorice using the back of a knife to swirl it together. This is the best way to obtain the 'ripple' effect.

Once the containers have been filled with you ice cream put on the lid and freeze. No need to keep churning and checking.

For the best result take the ice cream out of the freezer 30 minutes before required.

Serve on its own or as an addition to other desserts.

The Liquorice Ripple is gorgeous with a slice of Chocolate Tart.

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