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BAKING BIG HITTERS; The professionals have a go, and there is a lot more pressure on this lot, says Lara Kilner.

Byline: says Lara Kilner

Our lives have been lacking in soggy bottoms since the last of the famous folk hung up their aprons on the Celebrity Bake Off (if you missed out and need cheering up, do Google Caroline Flack's showstopper - we do this most days).

So all hail the return of the pro version.

Although the contestants will likely be far firmer bottomed, this spin-off is almost as charming and far more tense than its more famous relation - let's just say that when the contestants transported their showpieces around the room, I actually forgot how to breathe.

Liam on Bake Off in 2017 The charm is thanks in no small part to the delightful hosting duo of ex-contestant Liam 'Hasn't he done well for himself?' Charles (who, at a very tender 21, has also had his own cooking show on C4) and the quick-witted, acerbic comedian Tom Allen, who you have probably seen (and if you haven't, you should) harshly judging the public's cakes on Bake Off Extra Slice ('What is this? Roadkill?

This isn't Supervet. You know this is a cake show?'). Then there are the judges: Raymond Blanc's protege Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden, Singaporean pastry chef extraordinaire, who doesn't sugar-coat her critiques.

This week, six new pro chef duos put themselves through the pain, brutal feedback and potential horrors of curdled cream and unset custard, all on i db national television. They're a mixed bag, ranging from the dessert chefs in celebrity hotspot The Chiltern Firehouse to those from a top hotel in Snowdonia, and tonight their first challenge is to create miniature classics - Benoit's choice of Linzer torte (an Austrian dessert with a nutty pastry that will test their lattice skillz), and Cherish's Bakewell tart. She won't be happy with the bog-standard icing and a glazed cherry on the top variety, and it all goes torte-ly t*ts up for one team.

Maybe they can redeem themselves in the Showpiece Challenge, in which they reimagine red velvet cake. Hands up who knew this particular patisserie item first came about during the American Civil War, with the red symbolising the bloodshed? See, it's not just cake, folks, it's educational.

PICK OF THE WEEK Bake Off: The Professionals Tuesday, C4, 8pm

choice Our heads-up on the must-see shows

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Liam on Bake Off in 2017

From left: Tom Allen, Cherish Finden, Benoit Blin and Liam Charles

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 28, 2019
Words:400
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