The one that's often mentioned is the tooth-achingly sweet, Gypsy Tart, but there are lots of recipes out there for that, so I thought I'd go for something slightly different: two gems that are not seen so often anymore (I vote for a revival) and one with a more modern twist, using an archetypal Kentish ingredient.


Great British Life: Kentish HuffkinsKentish Huffkins (Image: Julie Friend)

Kentish Huffkins recipe

The story goes that this dimpled bread roll was created by a cherry farmer’s wife, to give to the pickers and farm workers at lunchtime. The indent in the top being the perfect carrier for a cherry, or a dollop of cherry jam and cream. Whether the story's true or not, I love the idea.

Although there is a little sugar in the recipe, this is a 'neutral' bread so can be used for both sweet and savoury fillings. I say bring out the cherries, though!

Makes 12 Huffkins

• 7 g dried yeast

• 125 ml full-fat milk, warm

• 100 ml water, warm

• 2½ teaspoons caster sugar

• 450 g strong, white bread flour

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 50 g salted butter cold, cubed

1. Put the warm milk into a jug or bowl and add ½ tsp caster sugar and the yeast. Stir and then leave on the side for about 10-15 minutes until it starts bubbling on the top.

2. Place the flour, salt and remaining sugar into a bowl or stand mixer and combine.

3. Rub the butter into the flour mix until there are no large lumps at all.

4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the milk mixture.

5. With a spoon bring everything together until it forms a very rough dough.

6. Knead the dough either by hand or with your stand mixer dough hook, until it is smooth (around 10 minutes by hand; a bit less with a mixer).

7. Cover the bowl with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave (at room temperature) to rise for about an hour until it has roughly doubled in size.

8. Using floured hands, divide the dough into 12 (about 68g each). Roll each piece into a ball first and then flatten slightly.

9. Place the dough on baking sheets with a few centimetres between them and leave to rise for a further 45 minutes or until they have risen again and feel soft and spongey to the touch.

10. Preheat the oven to 200 C and just before baking, make a deep thumb print in the middle until you can feel the baking tray.

11. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. As soon as they come out, use the handle of a wooden spoon to enhance the hole/dimple again.

12. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave them to cool – this keeps the tops soft, which is what you want.


Great British Life: Canterbury Tart Canterbury Tart (Image: Julie Friend)

Canterbury Tart recipe

Nobody seems to know the origin of this dish, although it makes sense that it originated here, given the number of apples grown in the Garden of England. There are some dubious mentions of Chaucer first making it in 1381, but whoever came up with the idea should be celebrated as it’s quite delicious. It can be served hot from the oven, but I think it’s even nicer if allowed to set a little and is then enjoyed at room temperature with local vanilla ice cream.

• 500g pack of shortcrust pastry (feel free to make your own but this is quicker and there is no shame in buying ready-made), left out to come to room temperature.

• 4 large eggs

• 225g golden caster sugar

• 2 lemons, zest and juice (but kept separately)

• 100g melted salted butter

• Pinch salt

• Approx. 350g Bramley apples (about 2 large should suffice) grated

• 2 dessert apples (English Cox or Braeburn work well) cored and sliced thinly

• Extra handful of golden caster sugar for finishing

1. Mould the pastry into a circle and roll out on a floured surface so it will be large enough to line a 28cm loose bottomed, flan tin.

2. Using your rolling pin lower the pastry into the case and press it into the sides. If it is too high that’s fine as you can trim later. Prick the bottom with a fork.

3. Put into the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up before baking.

4. Line the inside of the case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans.

5. Bake at 180C for around 25 minutes until it has just started changing colour (you can be preparing your filling whilst this bakes).

6. Once done remove the baking beans and trim the edges with a sharp bread knife.

7. For your filling put the eggs into a bowl or stand mixer and beat until they have become slightly thicker and frothy. Add the melted butter and beat again. Then the sugar, lemon juice and salt and do a final beat.

8. Tip the grated Bramleys into this mixture and stir together.

9. Pour the apple mix into your blind baked pastry case and spread evenly.

10. Take the dessert apple slices and layer around the edge (overlapping). Sprinkle a handful of sugar over the whole tart and sliced apples.

11. Bake for around 35-45 minutes at 180C until the top is turning golden and feels firm to touch.

12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before trying to remove from the tin (I leave until set and room temperature).


Great British Life: Chocolate and cobnut torteChocolate and cobnut torte (Image: Julie Friend)

Chocolate and cobnut torte recipe

While not from the historical archives this delicious cake does use an ingredient very much associated with Kent: the cobnut. I’d like to think that one day this will be as famous as Gypsy Tart - it deserves to be!

Serves 10-12, gluten free (cut thin slices as it is very rich)

Grease and line a 23cm loose bottomed tin

• 200g salted butter

• 200g caster sugar

• 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids is ideal)

• 100g ground almonds

• 100g toasted cobnuts, ground (best if not ground as fine as the almonds to add texture)

• 5 large eggs, separated

• Pinch of salt

1. Melt the chocolate and butter together either in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water or in a microwave. If using the microwave, use 30 seconds bursts and stir in between, so as not to burn the chocolate.

2. Add the ground nuts to the chocolate mix and allow to cool slightly.

3. Beat the sugar and yolks together until pale.

4. In a super clean, dry bowl (or with a stand/hand mixer) add the pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat until stiff peak.

5. Add the yolk/sugar mix to the chocolate and nuts.

6. Take one spoon of the beaten egg whites and fold through the above mix to slightly loosen.

7. Continue to add the remaining egg whites using gentle folding movements so the air is not knocked out, but the whites are fully incorporated and not visible.

8. Pour into the lined tin and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 180C for approximately 40 minutes or until the centre has puffed up and does not dent when touched.

9. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out.

10. Serve with cream or ice cream and maybe a few more toasted cobnuts.