Yes, you can make French pâtisserie, even if you've got hardly any time, fewer skills and a tiny kitchen. You just have to cheat… and we won't tell Mary if you do

So you're ready for GBBO's pâtisserie episode and you’re feeling like getting busy in the kitchen yourself. Trouble is, you’ve got no skills to speak of and Paul and Mary’s standards are so exactingly high.


Fear not. With these cheat recipes, making pâtisserie will be a breeze… and with no cameras around, there's no need to confess how you did it. Nice.


Tarte au citron

With just four key ingredients and ready-made pastry cases, you'll be able to whip up this French pâtisserie classic in no time. And don't they look great?

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Almond pastries

Croissants are a bummer to make: you trade the best part of the day, feel slightly ill by the amount of butter involved and give it your all with the strange folding and rolling techniques you don't really understand. So? Make this scrummy almond paste, sneakily stuff it inside all-butter shop-bought croissants, then sprinkle them with icing sugar and sliced almonds. You're practically pâtisserie royalty right now. 

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It looks intimidating but, honestly, you can do it. Use all-butter shop-bought puff pastry, a cheat's pastry cream of ready-made custard and crème fraîche whipped together until thick (it doesn't take long). Then add some icing and melted chocolate. OK, this recipe uses two piping bags but we reckon that's optional… it's nothing a dessert spoon can't handle.

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Salted kouign amann

Perhaps the most difficult of all the technical challenges posed in Bake Off history, die-hard viewers will still remember the looks of absolute bewilderment on the bakers' faces when Paul asked them to make a batch of these. Originating from Brittany, kouign amann are a yeasted sweet bread made with salted butter. Delish.

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Tarte aux fraise

We've all fawned over these delicate little tarts proudly sat behind the glass windows of that fancy bakery, but how do you make your own? Good news is, once you've bought pastry cases you can cheat the crème pâtissière (that's the creamy coloured stuff) with custard powder, milk and sugar and there will be no risk of it curdling in the pan. Then brush those strawberries with a little melted strawberry jam and sit them on top. Done.

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Rum baba

The silver fox's favourite (AKA Mr Hollywood), we're pretty keen on the old rum baba, too. But if you've never opened a packet of yeast in your life, making dough for doughnuts may not fill you with joy. Instead of making your own (because seriously, who has time for that?) use plain ready-made doughnuts, dip them in rum syrup, then top with a swirl of squirty cream, passion fruit pulp and chopped pistachios. Trust us, passion fruit makes everything look posh… even those five for £1 doughnuts from your local shop.

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