I might be the only person in the world who doesn’t actually watch the Great British Bake off although I’ve had repeats on in the background when I’ve been at Luke’s house so of course I know the concept of the show. The creations they make on the show are truly inspiring and while I’d love to think I’m a pretty good baker the reality is a little further away. The Big London Bake is a new pop-up which is currently in London with dates booking all the way up to the end of the year and on a muggy June evening I headed to Tooting to meet my chef partner for the night and see how good we worked under pressure.
With the Big London Bake there’s a theme each month and June was French Fruit Tart month and once you enter the tent which is set up pretty darn close to it’s TV counterpart you have 1 hour 20 minutes to make your creation. That might seem like a lot of time but I can assure you it disappears when you have a tart case, custard, compote and decorations to make. The team what work there make life as easy as possible by starting you off with the right measurements of what you need for the tart and custard so armed with a recipe card and a whole creation corner we made our start.
By chef partner was Simon and despite never having met before the night we worked together like an absolute dream and quickly decided that our creation would be a peppermint and white chocolate flavoured tart. The recipe card was super easy to follow and very extensive on all the different components even down to the location of where you should find all the equipment you’ll need to make the tart.
I started off making the pastry and rolling it out to be super fine while Simon made a start on our peppermint flavoured custard. The team working there were so helpful throughout and happy to answer any questions we had about whether the components of our creations looked right, where things were and they even cleared up after us so there wasn’t a trail of mess behind us.
When you make your creations you do one large version which is decorated and yours to take home and one small version (for us cupcake sized) which is what the judge tastes in order to judge. Our first mini tart was a little bit of a disaster as I ended up dropping it as the casing was too hot and it crumbled to pieces so I had to quickly make another one. Before we knew it though our baking time was up and it was judgement time. The judge loved our decoration which included pastry stars, a white chocolate ganache and fresh fruit but sadly our mini tart was just a little under cooked and had a soggy bottom which I definitely take responsibility for as it was our second attempt. We got some great feedback about the flavor combinations and the advice we got was to add citrus to the compote to make it stand out against the peppermint flavour which overpowered it.
Once tasted the judge chose the winner and runner ups. Usually it’s just 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions but as we were a group of 5 teams they ranked them all and we only went and came second which we were over the moon about although first place was so close.
Thanks to Love Pop Ups’London for organising the experience.