I so wanted to copy the GBBO format and give you a floral themed (sorry, botanical) bake and well, I ended up kind of giving you something botanical. This is my classic lemon tart. I love this recipe so much. It uses my never fail pastry I often bang on about. I hope you like it.
What do you think of GBBO this year? I have heard a lot of comments on social media from people saying the standard of the contestants is not great. Whenever I hear comments like this I always find myself getting a little defensive. And with good reason. I made so many mistakes on GBBO (which were mostly edited out as I was the ‘perfectionist’) that I would never make at home. I burnt caramel, undercooked pastry, under rested pastry, added too much dark chocolate and worst of all, in the final (gah!) I forgot to add vanilla to my sponge cakes. Gutted is not the word. Imagine getting that far and then making such a rookie error. So hey, I don’t blame viewers for taking GBBO at face value. Of course it looks easy from an armchair. But when faced with 3 cameras, a Paul Hollywood, a Mary Berry and two presenters, all staring at you and asking tricky questions, well sometimes you forget to keep your mind on the baking. So I sit at home, watch the bakers and I wish them all the best of British luck. Good on them for taking part, standing up and providing us all with some fabulous entertainment.
Now, if you yourself are thinking of applying for the new (non BBC!!) series of GBBO and want some advice about how to navigate the tent, here are my thoughts:
- Flavour wise remember that a little experimentation is good, but that they do like to see you praising classics too. Mix it up.
- Paul loves anything with praline and banana. You can definitely play to this and win him over. Similarly he is not keen on very dark chocolate and finds it bitter. Beware!
- When the judges come to see you do NOT say you are worried about anything. The production team will hold onto this and create drama where previously there was none. I am not kidding.
- Check your ovens during tech challenges. It has been known for them to be turned to the wrong setting. They should be pre set for you for each tech challenge, all the same. Have a look at your neighbours oven to check.
- To survive a tech challenge first read the recipe. Then add up how long each section takes and see if there is enough overall time. If there is not, think about where you are happy to skip/speed things up. This way you will have something to present at the end. Also, don’t change the tech recipe. You do not know better than the judges (it is always one of their recipes).
- Think about what you going to wear. At the time you will not care at all. Your focus will be eggs and flour and butter and sugar. Four months later it might bother you when 15 million people see you looking dreadful. I speak from experience. Oh and you have to wear the same thing on both bake days so either buy two or stock up on Frebreeze.
- Don’t try and be overly clever. It can backfire. Practise at home and time yourself. Then add in 15 minutes for stress, talking to the judges and presenters plus mishaps.
- You have to submit your recipes before filming starts but you can change them once they are handed in (or you could in 2011), so whilst we as a family enjoyed wasabi bread rolls, Mary and Paul never tried them. I saw how conservative their tastes were and chickened out.
- Don’t fall out with the judges. On or off camera. It can get personal towards the end and you are not making your life easier by being a bit chippy with the judges.
- You will cry. Take tissues. Wear waterproof mascara. Try and enjoy yourself!
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available through Amazon).
This makes 1 x 28 cm tart with maybe some pastry scraps to bake separately and munch on.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
- For the pastry:
- 250g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar
- 125 cold salted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg
- For the filling:
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 150mls double cream
- 200g castor sugar
- Juice and zest of 3 lemons
- Icing sugar for decorating
Make the pastry by whizzing the flour and icing sugar in a food processor, then add the cubes of cold butter and pulse until you have a fine breadcrumb appearance. Add the egg and pulse a few times until the pastry starts to form clumps (not one large ball - if you do this you have overworked the pastry and it may be tough). Carefully, avoiding the blade, use your hand to pull the mixture together. Don’t add water or milk or anything. As long as you’ve used a large egg there’s enough liquid to pull the pastry together. Roll the pastry out to about 3mm thick on a floured work surface (this pastry is pretty well behaved and only needs a little flour for rolling). Place both hands under the pastry, palms up and fingers spread, then carefully move the pastry over the top of your tart tin (mine is loose bottomed for easy removal later). Push the pastry into the edges of the tin and into the sides then run a rolling pin over the top of the tin to trim the pastry. Pop the tin into the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Line the pastry lined tin with non stick baking parchment and fill with either baking beans/uncooked rice or uncooked dried beans/lentils. Bake for 12 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown, remove the beans and parchment and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 170°C/gas mark 3. Prepare the filling by whisking together all the ingredients together until they look creamy and well combined - should only take a couple of minutes, then transfer the mixture to a jug for easy pouring. Place the pastry case back into the oven with the shelf sticking out a little and very carefully pour the lemony filling into the case being careful not to spill it down the sides of the pastry (as this makes it harder to remove the tart from the tin later). Very gently push the shelf back into the oven, close the door and let it bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the lemon filling has set but has a tiny wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack at room temperature for 4 hours. Then dredge with icing sugar and serve. NB: If you place the tart tin onto a baking tray then all the baking times will be increased by 5 - 10 minutes. Keeps refrigerated for 3 days.
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