The search for the creme de la creme of professional pastry chefs began last night (Tuesday Match 29) with episode one of ‘Bake Off: Crème De La Crème’ airing on BBC2 at 8pm.
In the first of this new eight-part series, host Tom Kerridge welcomed three teams of professional pastry chefs to the first heat of the competition.
Battling it out were three young chefs from a five-star hotel, a team which invents desserts for a leading supermarket and a trio of chefs who work in secret restaurants hidden away in the city of London.
Judging and scoring their efforts were Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; Claire Clark MBE, world-renowned pastry chef and consultant; and Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London.
In the first challenge, the teams were tasked with producing three different patisserie items: framboisier (a classic layered slice), Paris-Brest (a handcrafted miniature), and a cylindrical petit gateau invented by the teams themselves. They had to make 36 perfect and identical items of each pastry in three hours.
In the second challenge, the team were asked to transform an ordinary dessert – apple crumble and custard – into a fine dining experience and present it as a showpiece display.
In episode two, which airs on Tuesday April 5, three more teams will take part in the contest.
In this second heat, a team from the British Armed Forces will meet the only all-women team in the competition, along with a team from a world-famous London hotel.
To secure a place in the semi-finals, the teams must again impress the judging panel with their efforts in two challenges.
In the Miniatures Challenge, the teams will be asked to produce 36 opera slices, 36 babka knots (a handcrafted breakfast pastry) and 36 petits gateaux in the shape of a sphere, invented by the teams themselves. Each item in each batch must be uniform in appearance and finished to the highest professional standards. They have three hours to make all 108 pastries.
In the Showpiece Challenge, the teams will be asked to reinvent popular British dessert of trifle and give it the five-star makeover treatment. Two teams take gardens as their theme – one English, the other Japanese – while the third team performs a feat of chocolate engineering.
Host Tom Kerridge (top left) with the Bake Off: Creme De La Creme judges