The Great British Bake Off will hit new heights of technical excellence tonight, as the professional version of the show launches.

Bake Off Creme de la Creme is presented by Tom Kerridge, owner of the Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow, and the judging panel will bring together some of the UK’s finest pastry chefs: Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London; and pastry consultant Claire Clark, who was awarded an MBE for her work in 2011.

The first episode promises a battle between three teams of chefs. One team is made up of young chefs from a five-star hotel, another creates desserts for a leading supermarket, and the third is comprised of chefs working in London restaurants.

These teams will face two punishing challenges. First, they must make three different items of perfect patisserie; a framboisier (raspberry cake), a Paris-Brest (a choux ring stuffed with praline and cream) and a cylindrical petit gateau of their own creation.

If this sounds hard, the next challenge will be even more testing, as the teams must turn apple crumble and custard into high patisserie art.

Episode one in the eight-part series airs tonight (29 March) at 8pm on BBC2.