Ready Steady Bake
With the 2019 series of the Great British Bake Off in full swing, on the 5th September, Tala welcomed a group of food bloggers, journalists and influential peers in the baking world to don their (Tala) pinnies and unleash their competitive streak for an evening’s baking workshop, called ‘Ready, Steady, Bake’.
Six teams of two battled it out, with identical ingredients, to recreate a recipe selected and demonstrated by Tala’s very own baking professional, Hannah Wiltshire – An elegant pair of Choux Pastry Swans. One team even completed a gluten-free version of the recipe for their gluten-free blogs. As an extra incentive, each team was competing for a mid-week two-night stay in the luxurious boutique B&B Paradise House, so it was all to play for!
The event was held at the prestigious Divertimenti Cookery School in the beautiful area of Knightsbridge. With its light, open-planned space and large workstations with Tala bakeware and equipment at-the-ready, excitement was in the air.
Bakers were first met by Tala’s Managing Director, Nick Squire who recalled Tala’s long, rich history of over 120 years.
Quickly followed by a recipe demonstration with Hannah Wiltshire, teams were set on their way to show off their choux pastry skills, using a selection of products from the Tala Indigo & Ivory range, Performance Bakeware and Push & Push Fresh Boxes ranges. After a great start, it was clear that with the skills and experience in play, picking a winner wouldn’t be easy!
As the group’s swans baked in the oven, Hannah then began the decoration demonstration. Handing over to the groups to decorate, everyone really went to town to show off their decorating skills!
Like a flash, it was time for the judging round and each team brought forward their swan for the tasting and deliberation of our Tala judges. Although Choux Pastry Swans are not the easiest to master, each team’s were delicious, airy and decorated to perfection.
Although it was a tough call to make, Freelance Food Writer Emilie Wade and Freelance Food Stylist and Recipe Writer Sophie Foot were deemed as our Ready, Steady Bake champions!
Remaining bakers were not left empty-handed, as everyone received a Tala goody bag, complete with their own selection of Tala products featured in the making of the recipe. Unsurprisingly, Tala Performance bakeware was a real hit with the bakers, with each noting how effortless it was to lift their pastry from the baking trays. One team member even added how delighted she was not to have to line her baking tray as she does with her bakeware at home. Music to our Tala ears!
A special thank you to Emilie Wade, Sophie Foot, Hayley Merrick, Nicole from End of the Fork, Suzy Pelta from Suzy Pelta Bakes, Laura Strange from My Gluten Free Guide and Becky Excell from Gluten Free Cuppa Tea, May Chung from Eat, Cook, Explore for attending.
50g plain flour
Whipped cream to sweeten the taste
1. Preheat oven to 210C (410f)
2. Place water and butter in a pan and bring it to boil.
3. Turn off heat and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.
4. Remove from heat and cool for a minute. Whilst cooling, beat the egg and prepare two piping bags - one with the smallest, and one with the largest writer tip nozzles.
5. Add beaten egg to the pan a little at a time until the mixture comes together. Transfer a little over three-quarters of the mixture into the large nozzled bag, and the remaining mixture into the small nozzled bag.
6. Using the large nozzled bag, pipe four large teardrop shapes onto the baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, on a second baking tray and using the small nozzled bag, pipe four large, elegant 'S' shaped swan necks ( tip: at the top end, pipe the head of the swan, puling bag away sharply to make pointed beak).
8. After 10 minutes, add swan necks to oven and bake with teardrops for a further 8-10 minutes (choux pastry is ready when golden brown and well puffed).
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
10. Assemble the swan as directed. Cut off the top third of one teardrop with a serrated knife, horizontally and lengthways, to create two wings. Fill with jam and whipped cream and position the wings and head as shown. Dust with icing sugar and personalise as desired.