Home   What's On   News   Article

How to make John Whaite's Lancashire Beef Hotpot Picnic Slices

Since winning The Great British Bake Off in 2012, John Whaite has bought his own flat, set up a chocolate business, studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London and released two cookery books.

It's hard to believe this confident law graduate is just 24 years old - until he reveals his mum still does his washing when he goes home.

"I give her a hug, then a bag of laundry," the Wigan-born baker confesses. "I've still got that perpetual studenthood about me... But mums want to feel needed, don't they?"

2012 Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite
2012 Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite

On the plus side, John's family do get to try out his delicious creations, from rum-fuelled mojito cake to jammy Bakewell tarts.

"Sometimes they can get on their high horse and lecture me about things, and all I wanted to know is whether they liked it or not," he says.

"They're very helpful, and I adore them for that. I think it's the lawyer in me - I want people to be honest all the time."

Many of these tried and tested treats feature in his new book, John Whaite Bakes At Home, along with the Turkish pizzas he cooks when friends call over, and the picnic delights he makes with his nieces and nephews.

John does all the cooking at his new flat in south east London, where he lives with his partner of six years, graphic designer Paul.

John Whaite's Lancashire Beef Hotpot Picnic Slices
John Whaite's Lancashire Beef Hotpot Picnic Slices

"Paul can't even heat up a can of beans! I think that's because of my whirlwind nature in the kitchen though - he's too afraid to step into my realm," he says.

"He does do the washing up after. It's not a big price to pay for some tasty cuisine."

After winning Bake Off's third series, former commercial banker John embarked on a nine-month patisserie diploma at Le Cordon Bleu, graduating last month. He's also set up the Hungry Dog Artisan Chocolate, and hopes to do more TV work.

Here's a recipe from John Whaite Bakes At Home to try in your own kitchen.


(Makes 8)

1tbsp olive oil

5 stalks celery, cut into 5mm cubes

1 large red onion, very finely chopped

2 large carrots, cut into 5mm cubes

3 large new potatoes, cut into 5mm cubes

Salt and pepper

200ml hot water

400g stewing steak, cut into small chunks

A 28g beef stock pot

Homemade rough puff pastry or 500g shop-bought all-butter puff pastry

Here's how to make it

Heat the oil in a large saucepan (with tight-fitting lid) over a high heat. Add the celery, onion, carrots and potatoes with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables in the oil, then reduce the heat to low, add the water, put on the lid and sweat down for 25 minutes, stirring every once in a while.

When soft, scoop the entire contents - liquid and all - into a bowl, then set the pan back over a high heat. Add the beef chunks and another small pinch of salt and pepper, and stir until browned on all sides.

Put the vegetables and their liquid back in the pan, stir in the stock, then reduce the heat to low. Stir well, then put the lid back on and allow the hotpot to slowly stew for 45-60 minutes until the meat is just tender. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. Add a little water if it seems to be drying out, but remember that you want this to be thick.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool, covered, until completely cold.

When the hotpot is cold, preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/gas mark 6. Roll out the pastry on a well-floured worktop, with a well-floured rolling pin, to a rectangle of at least 32 x 36cm, then trim the edges. Cut lengthways into four long rectangles of 8 x 36cm, then cut each crossways in half so you have eight rectangles of 8 x 18cm. Score inside each rectangle, just a few millimetres from the edge.

Divide the hotpot amongst the rectangles, leaving those few millimetres free to rise in the oven and create a border around the filling. Bake on a baking sheet lined with baking paper for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up around the filling and is a gorgeous golden brown.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More