If you are anything like me, then you spend your Tuesday evenings in the Autumn following the Great British Bake Off (GBBO). The show has captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the globe, and now you too can bake with a Great British Bake Off legend! Baking with a legend is a company based in London, Brighton and Manchester, offering baking lessons with your favourite GBBO contestant. So when I was invited to attend one of their baking classes via Love Pop Ups London, I jumped at the chance!
*My experience baking with a legend was gifted in return for this review. As ever all opinions remain my own*
Bake with a Great British Bake Off legend
The location for London classes
For my class, I headed to Hackney in East London. Bake with a Legend use the Meringue Girls kitchen just off Broadway Market for their classes.
They have room for 12 people per class in this commercial kitchen, and all the equipment needed for our baking.
You are paired up to bake, so if you come on your own you will be working with someone else. This makes Bake with a Legend great for couples, or friends, and we saw all types there.
My bake with a legend class
I was going to be baking with James Hillary, who was on Season 8 (2017) of the Great British Bake Off. It was a chocolate themed class with an added Autumnal (or should that be Fall?) twist. The bake I was making was a chocolate s’mores tart! This has a cinnamon pastry filled with a dark chocolate ganache, topped with Swiss meringue as the ‘marshmallows’. We would make 6 tarts per couple, so would have 3 each to take home.
The class is three hours long, starting at 10am. I arrived just before 10, where I was greeted by founder Josh, with a well needed cup of coffee. I had an opportunity to say hi to James whilst the rest of the class arrived.
We were a mixture of locals, people from the US who were obsessed with the Bake Off and a lady from Korea, who had seen the experience advertised on Air bnb.
Ready. steady, BAKE!
Once we all donned our Bake with a Legend aprons and had washed our hands, we started baking. Each step started with James demonstrating it, before we then attempted it in our pairs.
The S’mores chocolate tarts involved the following steps:
- Making the cinnamon pastry
- Blind baking the tarts
- Making the chocolate ganache filling
- Making the Swiss meringue
- Piping the Swiss meringue on to the top of the filled tarts
Making the cinnamon pastry
After James had demonstrated, it was my turn.
When the pastry was done, got to roll it out and cut into rounds to line the pastry tins.
Blind baking the tarts
As we wouldn’t be baking the filling, the pastry need to be ‘blind baked’ before filling.
Whilst the tarts were baking, we could move on to the filling:
Making the chocolate ganache filling
We poured the ganache into our baked tart cases and smoothed the tops down, ready for the S’mores part of the dish.
Making the Swiss meringue
James demonstrated the meringue making – I’ve never made Swiss meringue before (only French, which you don’t heat). We are using this meringue as the Swiss meringue method leaves you with a gooey inside to the meringue. With this meringue you need to heat it to a certain temperature, we had great fun testing the temperature with the heat gun! (Literally a ‘gun’ that you point at the bowl to see what temperature you are at – easier than a thermometer)
The ‘secret’ ingredient for our meringue – this helps the Swiss meringue rise
Piping the Swiss meringue on to the top of the filled tarts
James demonstrated how to pipe out the topping for the tarts, before browning it with a blow torch (this is really just an excuse for boys toys!).
The completed product
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I don’t *just* drink gin you know! . [ad as gifted] I baked with the legend James Hillery @cluckmuckcook alongside Jo from @lovepopupslondon . Given the season we made s’mores tarts – a combination of cinnamon pastry, a chocolate ganache, topped with a Swiss meringue as marshmallow . It was great to share a cup of tea & glass of Prosecco with our bakes as we quizzed James over his @britishbakeoff experiences – thanks @bakewithalegend ! . You can bake with various baking legends in London, Manchester and Brighton – check out the @bakewithalegend website for more info, my full review is coming to the blog soon! . #whatskatiedoingblog #bakewithalegend #jameshillery #smorestart #smoretarts #discoverunder10k #lovepopupslondon #bakeoff #bakingclass #londonbakes #pastyweek #katiebakes #nohandshake #chocolatetarts #chocolatetartlets #tastybakes #greatbritishbakeoff #GBBO
Finishing up the class
We finished up our class with a Q&A session with James over prosecco and tasters of the tarts he had made.
It was great to taste the fruits of our (James’) efforts, without eating our own tarts. I got to take home three tarts, which was great for sharing with friends to show my baking prowess.
The chat at the end was very illuminating about the show, how they make it and various things that go on behind the scenes. We were pleasantly surprised to see Yanni pop in too – she was meeting James for coffee after our class. If you are a GBBO fan, then you’ll love this one on one time with the show contestants.
I loved this experience. James was very welcoming and approachable from the start of the class. Whilst we had a few technical steps in our bake, we were able to pick these up easily with the instruction and support from James. I really appreciated getting the inside tips & tricks, and information from behind the scenes from the Great British Bake Off show.
This class is ideal for a shared experience with a partner or friend. But it’s especially great if you or your friend/partner is a baking or GBBO geek! I can’t give anything away in this post, but we learnt a lot about the programme, the characters and how GBBO works behind the scenes, which makes this baking class unique.
Do you want to Bake with a Great British Baking Legend?
Classes to bake with a legend are £99 per person, or £190 for two. You can even order vouchers for presents or if you can’t chose a particular date.
Check out the classes online to see which baking legend is baking which recipes and to book:
Thanks to Bake with a Legend for hosting me and to Love Pop Ups London for the opportunity!