In early September I was invited to participate in a super fun Bake Off style event with Tala called “Ready, Steady, Bake” to pit my gluten free baking skills against teams of gluteny bakers. What a challenge and what a fantastic evening! It was hosted by Tala at the wonderful Divetimenti Cookery School in London and before we started baking we heard about the brand’s amazing history (they were founded in 1899!). All while eating the delicious gluten free canapes Tala prepared specially for me and my baking buddy, which shows what a thoughtful brand they are. Then with one very happy tummy it was time for us to crack on with the baking…
We were challenged to make choux pastry swans! I have made gluten free choux pastry before but never attempted something as complex as a swan shape (although with guidance from our talented tutor Hannah it turned out to quite straightforward) and I couldn’t wait to have a go.
We were to bake and fill two choux pastry swans and then decorate them to create a classic British scene using the fabulous range of Tala bakeware and decorating tools we had been provided with.
Tala made such kind accommodations for me and my team mate Becky (from the Becky Excel blog) after I told them I could only bake gluten free foods. As a coeliac I simply would not feel comfortable using normal flour. Tala’s food technologist adapted the original recipe to create a gluten free one for us to use. Aren’t they the best!
Making It Gluten Free
To make the recipe gluten free it was easy enough to substitute in gluten free flour in place of regular flour. Our first step was to melt butter in a saucepan with some water, then we turned off the heat, added our gluten free flour and stirred until the mixture had formed a soft, pipeable dough.
We measured our ingredients using this handy little piece of kitchen kit, the Tala Cook’s Dry Measure. This is a signature piece of Tala baking equipment and I hadn’t used anything like it before but have since used it at home for so many different recipes. It meaures all sorts, from liquids and flours to arborio rice and raisins, all without you having to haul your kitchen scales out of the cupboard. Mine now sits proudly on my kitchen work top at home ready for use.
Next we grabbed a gorgeous Tala Ceramic Indigo & Ivory Mixing Bowl (gorgeous being the only word to describe this bowl, you can see it in the pic below alongside some of the other kit we used…that I then also got to take home WOO HOO!) to beat an egg then added the egg to the slightly cooled mixture. Stirring well to combine.
We carefully transferred our choux batter into a piping bag (using our dry cooks measure as a holder…an ingenious tip from Hannah!) from the Tala Food Piping Set and then piped bodies and S-shaped necks for our swans. We piped direct onto the baking tray as we were using Tala Performance Baking Trays, which are non-stick and therefore much better for the environment than other trays that require the use of baking paper. Bravo, Tala! Then after baking for 10 minutes we slid them onto a Tala Cooling Rack to cool before we turned to the decorating part of the challenge.
Tala let us loose on their range of baking and decorating tools and it made life SO MUCH EASIER. Becky had had to head off early so I was grateful that rather than wasting time cutting out fiddly decorations for our swan lake I could use the Tala Daisy Plunger Cutters to create some pretty floral decorations. You simply dust with a little icing sugar, press the cutter down on the icing, plunge and then push to pop the design out – easy peasy. I loved them and the plunger cutters come in all sorts of different designs, including snowflakes and holly leaves, perfect for Christmas baking.
Tala have an amazing range of decorating tools and I was genuinely impressed with everything we used (the icing smoother was another ingenious piece of kit and their reusable icing bag and nozzles worked like a dream). Here are links to some of the other bits of Tala equipment I enjoyed using in case you want to check them out:
- Tala Stainless Steel Large Angled Icing Spatula Palette Knife
- Tala Fondant Rolling Pin
- Tala Icing & Modelling Tools
- Tala Flat Edge Cake Smoother
- Tala Fondant Cutter
I filled our swans with fresh strawberries and cream, topped with sprinkles and then placed them on their new swan lake home. Scroll down to see the results!
Here’s what we made! Our (slightly anemic due to the flour blend) gluten free swans atop their marbled swan lake with waterlilies and edible bubbles.
Sadly we didn’t win BUT the judges said our gluten free swans were actually pretty tasty, which is good going vs all those gluteny swans. Plus some of the other entries were amazing as it was such a talented group. The winning swans were wearing tiny icing party hats, aren’t they brilliant!
The event was thoroughly enjoyable and inspired me to try making swans like these again at home. I would adjust the flour blend slightly or perhaps bake for longer to achieve a golden finish, I can’t wait to get experimenting with gluten free choux! Thank you, Tala, for hosting a wonderful evening and for equipping me with some indispensable tools for cooking and baking at home. I recommend you guys check out the full Tala range on Amazon as they really do have some fantastic products.
Event photography was provided by Tala. Product photographs are my own.
*This is a paid sponsored feature in association with Tala. I only ever work with brands that I personally love and am happy to recommend to you all. All opinions on www.mygfguide.com are my own and are always 100% genuine.