Felicity Cloake tries your sugar-topped recipes, including rose petal shortbread and a fig and quince loaf.
An irresistible theme - and, once I'd got over the disappointment at not having an excuse to make a creme brulee, I had to applaud your imagination. An orange-scented Greek semolina pie, a wonderfully squidgy fig and quince loaf from Portugal, and a Malaysian fruit salad with a spicy shrimp dressing. As Rachel herself says, it shouldn't work, but it does.
Maybe it's because it's Chelsea Flower Show, but the delicate scent of Laura Scott's quintessentially British biscuits made them a worthy winner - ridiculously quick, and truly delicious.
The winning recipe - rose petal shortbread
It's hard to beat a slice of freshly baked shortbread. I love the soft, crumbly melting texture. There has to be that added layer of sweetness and the slight crunch of biting into a layer of sugary loveliness. My version also has the scent of roses, making it even more impossible to resist.
Laura Scott, Epsom, howtocookgoodfood.co.uk
Makes about 8 slices
175g plain flour
125g butter, at room temperature
2 tsp dried organic rose petals, finely chopped
½ tsp rosewater (optional)
50g caster sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Place the flour, chopped-up butter, rose petals, rosewater (if using) and sugar in a bowl and mix it together with your hands until the mixture begins to form a ball of dough.
2 Grease a small sandwich tin with a little butter and press the shortbread in the tin. Sprinkle with lots of caster sugar and bake for 15 minutes.
3 Turn the oven up to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and cook for another 5 minutes to give it a lovely golden-brown colour.
4 Sprinkle with more caster sugar and rose petals and cut into portions: easier when the dough is still warm.
This is a Greek recipe for a cream pie, eaten with icing sugar and cinnamon, preferably in the early hours after heavy drinking! Enjoy it warm with loads of sugar on top.
Laura Aggelou, Nea Artaki, Greece
1 litre whole milk
Zest of two oranges
1 sheet puff pastry
Icing sugar and cinnamon, to top
1 Put the milk, semolina, sugar, orange zest and a pinch of salt in a pan and mix constantly on a medium heat. Once it has thickened, take off the heat, mix in the butter, and let the cream cool.
2 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and cut the pastry sheet in two. Cover the bottom of a cake tin with the first sheet, spread the cream over the top and cover with the second. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
3 Set aside to cool. Once warm, cut it on a board into bite-size pieces, sprinkle with cinnamon and icing sugar, and try to not eat it all at once.
Malaysian fruit salad with spicy rojak dressing
I am going back to my roots with a Malaysian fruit salad recipe that is dressed with rojak - a word that translates as "hodgepodge". This may be the reason I love this so much - a little bit of this and that, and all the flavours I like. It's sweet, slightly savoury, tangy, juicy, crunchy and refreshing. You can make it vegetarian by leaving out the shrimp paste.
Rachel Kelly, London, marmadukescarlet.blogspot.co.uk
1 small pineapple, peeled and chopped into 2cm chunks or slices
½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm chunks
1 mango or papaya, cut into 2cm chunks
2 nashi (Asian) pears or crisp apples, cored and cut into thin wedges
1 star fruit, sliced
For the rojak dressing
2 tsp shrimp paste (belachan)
1-2 tsp sambal oelek chilli paste (to taste) or 2-3 red bird's eye chillies, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tamarind paste
Juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame seeds
40g roasted peanuts
Zest of 2 limes
2 tbsp golden granulated sugar
1 tsp crushed chilli flakes (optional)
1 Prepare the first topping by dry-frying the sesame seeds until a light golden brown. Tip into a bowl to cool. Chop or grind the peanuts and add to the bowl.
2 Make the second topping by grinding together the lime zest, granulated sugar and chilli flakes (if using). Set aside.
3 Prepare the dressing by whizzing together about 100ml water with the shrimp paste, sambal oelek or chillies, tamarind and lime juice in a blender until very smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan with another 100ml water and the palm sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. (Add a splash of water if it is becoming too thick.) Sieve to remove any lumps or seeds, and add a little salt to taste. Set aside to cool.
4 Prepare the fruit for the salad and toss through the first topping, so that the fruit is lightly coated. Divide between 4 bowls, drizzle over the rojak sauce then sprinkle over the second topping.
Fig and quince loaf with orange blossom drizzle
This loaf is inspired by a cake recipe from the Azores. The sweetness of the fig beautifully contrasts the scent and zest of the sticky blossom drizzle.
Miguel de Almeida, London, westcoastcooking.wordpress.com
Makes 1 loaf
250g soft, dry figs
100g quince paste (membrillo)
80g caster sugar
100g soft, unsalted butter
1 tbsp treacle
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
50ml whole milk
For the orange drizzle
1 orange, juiced
1 tbsp honey
40g caster sugar
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and grease and line a loaf tin. Separate the eggs in two bowls. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
2 Whizz the figs and quince paste in the processor to make a smooth paste.
3 Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the fig puree, the treacle and a pinch of salt, and mix well.
4 Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly add the milk. Fold in the egg whites.
5 Transfer this batter to the tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes. When the loaf is ready a skewer will come out dry. Remove from the oven and cool.
6 Put all the drizzle ingredients into a small pan, mix well and simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Leave to cool before drizzling on top of the loaf.
Baked wholemeal blueberry doughnuts
I am rather partial to a good donut but have always shied away from making my own because of the deep-frying involved (probably a smart choice given that I am clumsy enough to have burned myself with porridge and fallen off a treadmill). But when I started seeing more and more recipes for baked doughnuts I realised that maybe the way to homemade doughnut success was to bake them.
Sophia Real, Rome; realsimplefood.wordpress.com
Makes 8 mini doughnuts or 4 regular size
2 egg whites
40g muscovado sugar
50g wholemeal flour
60g butter, melted
80g fresh blueberries
10g butter, melted
4-5tbsp sugar for coating
1 Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Whisk the egg whites together with the muscovado sugar and a pinch of salt until stiff and glossy.
2 Add the flour, melted butter and blueberries to the bowl containing the beaten egg whites and carefully fold in, being careful not to deflate it.
3 Carefully fill an 8-hole silicone doughnut mould using a spoon or a pastry bag. Smooth the top of each mould with the back of a wet spoon.
4 Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the doughnuts are golden-brown in colour and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
5 Let the doughnuts cool in the mould for a couple of minutes and then carefully invert them on to a serving plate. Brush each doughnuts (while still warm) all around with some of the extra melted butter and then carefully coat them with the extra sugar.
My mum sent me off to college with the Be-Ro Book of Home Baking in the 1960s. It's still an inspiration, and here is my take on its eccles cakes: flaky, sticky and lighter than any I've bought.
Sue Nicholson, via guardian.co.uk/witness
Makes about 15
50g butter, softened
25g mixed peel
25g brown sugar
1 pack puff pastry
Milk, to glaze
Caster sugar, to dust
1 Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/gas mark 7. Mix together the butter, currants, mixed peel and brown sugar.
2 Roll out the pastry and cut into equal squares. Place a dessertspoonful of fruit mix in the centre of each piece, brush the edges with milk and fold up, sealing well.
3 Place the cakes on a nonstick baking tray, squash slightly, brush with milk, slash the tops 3 times then sprinkle with caster sugar.
4 Bake for 20 minutes until nicely browned. Cool before lifting from the tray. Any sticky bits left are for you!
Every Saturday morning I go for a swim, buy the Guardian and go home to enjoy a peaceful breakfast. Last week my friend joined me, and we were tucking into tea and cinnamon toast when I read that the category for next week was "sugar on top". We decided that, yes, this maybe wasn't the most complicated recipe in the world, but the simplest things are often the best, aren't they?
Diane Kitchen, Ilkley
4 slices white bread
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Butter, for spreading
1 Remove the crusts from the bread and toast on one side under the grill.
2 Mix the sugar and cinnamon. Spread the untoasted side with butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
3 Place under the grill until the mixture melts. Cut into fingers and serve.
In Picture: Truly delicious - Laura Scott's rose petal shortbread. Photograph: Jill Mead