Food & Drink

Bake Off: The Professionals judge Benoit Blin’s top tips for baking success

To kick you off on your baking journey, Blin has also shared his recipe for madeleines.

Benoit Blin has released his debut cookbook
Benoit Blin Benoit Blin has released his debut cookbook

As Raymond Blanc’s head pastry chef and a judge and host on Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals, Benoit Blin knows a thing or two about making beautiful pastries.

He’s worked at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire since 1995, and his Instagram is full of pictures of his pristine macarons, glistening croissants and sumptuous desserts.

Blin has had years of training to make his intricate creations look beautiful – but there are a few things you can do at home to make your own bakes look a bit more professional.

His first tip is to “invest in good quality basic equipment” like a brush, flat nonstick baking tray, thermometer probe and nonstick cake tin, adding: “It always pays back for itself with neater and more consistent work in your kitchen, making your life easier, too.”

Blin also advises getting to know your oven: “Many ovens bake slightly differently than others and may need few minutes more or less, so set your timers for half way through the total cook time and see what is going on, then set further check-ins based on that.”

Other tips are simple but effective – like not rushing the recipe and reading it fully before diving in, and making sure you have all the ingredients, equipment and space required for success.

And then, if you really want to finish your dessert off with a professional flourish, Blin recommends: “Glaze your fruits on a tart or a cake with a bit of jam, it adds a bit of sweetness and gives that extra sheen.”

If you’re keen to test your baking skills, you could try Blin’s recipe for madeleines, what he refers to as “a very French little afternoon tea cake with a typical seashell look”.



(Makes 18-20)

For the moulds:

30g unsalted butter, softened

30g plain flour

For the batter:

115g plain flour

5g baking powder

Zest of ½ lemon

80g caster sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2g salt

2g vanilla extract

5g honey

80g unsalted butter, melted

Warm chocolate sauce, to serve (optional)

Madeleines from Bake With Benoit
Madeleines from Bake With Benoit


1. Preparing the moulds: Thinly brush the butter evenly inside the moulds. Cover all over with the flour and tap away the excess. Set aside in the refrigerator to set until needed.

2. Making the madeleines: In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In another bowl, mix the lemon zest with the sugar, then add the beaten eggs and salt and whisk. Add the vanilla extract and honey, followed by the sifted flour mixture. Gradually add the lukewarm melted butter and combine until smooth.

3. Cover the mixture with clingfilm and leave to cool and firm up in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

4. Baking: Preheat the oven to 180°C fan with a baking stone or heavy baking tray inside.

5. Using a piping bag and a one-centimetre plain nozzle, pipe the madeleine mixture into the mould cavities, filling each one three-quarters full. Place the moulds on the hot tray or stone and bake for six to eight minutes until nice and golden, depending on the strength of your oven. Remove from the oven and, with a small pointy knife, tilt the madeleines quickly on their side to cool down and firm up. Best eaten just warm… but they will keep for up to three days stored in an airtight container.

Bake With Benoit Blin by Benoit Blin is published by Hardie Grant, priced £26. Photography by Sam Folan. Available now.