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Our favourite Big Bake recipes – Harriet’s Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Plait!

You don’t need a sweet tooth, to enjoy a bite of The Big Bake cherry with a savoury stunner like Harriet’s Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Plait!

Bea and Harriet Downing

Harriet’s story

Harriet shared this recipe with us in preparation for The Big Bake 2020. Sadly, Harriet passed away in August 2021 and we’re incredibly grateful to her family for letting us share the recipe with you again. Since Harriet’s diagnosis in May 2017, Harriet and her loved ones have raised more than £350,000 for The Harriet Downing Fund, one The Charity’s Supporter Groups that help raise money to support The Brain Tumour Charity’s goals.

Speaking to us in 2019, Harriet said this about her savoury stunner:

Since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in May 2017, I have been a huge supporter of The Brain Tumour Charity, along with the rest of my family. They have provided us with so much help and together we’ve raised over £170,000* for research and awareness of this terrible disease.

My family, friends and even my company have taken part in The Big Bake, so I’m pleased to be providing a recipe that always goes down well.

Happy Baking 🙂

*now more than £350,000


  • 100g butter
  • A few tablespoons of flour
  • 1-2 pints of milk
  • 0.5 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • A few mushrooms and 2 leeks
  • 1 packet (350-500g) of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • Roughly 200g or 4 chicken breasts/thighs (or leftovers from a roast chicken)

Top tip

To adapt for vegans, substitute shop-bought vegan puff pastry, use an all-vegetable filling (such as roasted onions, squash and sage) and glaze with dairy-free milk.


  • Make a white sauce by melting the butter in a pan and adding flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring until the sauce thickens. Then gently simmer for at least a minute to get rid of any flour taste. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • In a separate pan, cook the diced chicken in hot olive oil to seal (about 5 minutes). Put to one side, add the chopped mushrooms and leeks then cook on a medium-high heat. Add to the white sauce. Cool then refrigerate.
  • Add the cooked chicken and the vegetables to the white sauce. Cool then refrigerate.
  • When ready to get plaiting, heat the oven to 180ºc (fan), roll out the puff pastry and place the cold filling in the centre. Make diagonal cuts down each side of the pastry and plait by placing a strip from each side over the centre, one at a time in a criss-cross pattern.
  • Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Ideally serve warm at your Big Bake, but it’s also pretty good cold.

Are you ready to crumble?

Has Harriet’s recipe inspired you to help us raise lots of dough by hosting your very own Big Bake this September?

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