The Great South African Bake Off 4: Episode 1 recipe pack

Written by TVSA Team from the blog BBC Lifestyle on 10 Aug 2023
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The Great South African Bake Off returned for Season 4 on Wednesday night (9 August) after a six year break on BBC Lifestyle.

The 12 amateur bakers began their battle with a biscuit-themed premiere, which had its ups and downs.

Our biggest up: the Showstopper Bake which revealed an added dimension to each contestant as they created self portraits out of biscuits. Each one was intriguing to see.

Our biggest downer: the fact that no-one was eliminated because of Matshele feeling ill and not making the final challenge.

Everyone else still completed it and someone should have gone. It's always a letdown when a reality show has a non-elimination week, especially a sudden one in the first week.

Anyhoo, the biscuits still looked good even though we couldn't taste them and at least they chose a winner and didn't cop out of that too.

The Star Baker of the week was Mia, an "experience design director"  - yes we also had to look it up and still don't actually know what it means.

Something to do with design and directing creative projects, which Mia displayed through the artwork in her brilliant Showstopper Bake.

Runner-up was database and systems administrator Molebatsi who won the Biscotti Technical Bake, which everyone had to make.

And now it's your turn... see if you can master the Chocolate and Citrus Biscotti, and tuck into Mia's Signature and Showstopper recipes - if you dare:  

Signature bake

Dark Heart Chocolate and Sesame Biscuits

For the Chocolate Biscuits
200g Salted Butter, room temperature, cubed
140g Castor Sugar
½ tsp Maldon Salt
70g Black Cocoa
220g Cake Wheat Flour
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate Of Soda
For the Praline Butter

150g Black Sesame Seeds
100g Castor Sugar
30g Water
For the Black Sesame Praline Cream
70g Salted Butter, room temperature
40g Icing Sugar, sifted
90g Full Fat Cream Cheese
200g Black Sesame Praline Butter
For the decoration
200g White Chocolate Buttons


For the Biscuits:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Beat the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb. Reduce the mixer’s speed and add the dry ingredients. 

Mix until a dough forms.

Knead lightly on work surface to form a ball. Divide in two and flatten into disks. 

Cover in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll out dough to 3mm thickness. 

Using a 5x5cm heart shaped cutter, cut 48 hearts and place on baking paper-lined baking trays. 

Using a 1.5cm heart shaped cutter, cut a heart out of the centre of 24 of the biscuits.

Refrigerate for 30 mins.

Bake for 13-15 minutes until firm, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Sesame filling: 

Toast the sesame seeds in a non-stick frying pan until they smell toasted.  

Boil the castor sugar and water until the sugar mixture turns amber in colour.

Remove from heat and stir in the toasted sesame seeds.

Pour onto a silpat silicone mat and let cool.

Process the Sesame praline, using a food processor, until a smooth paste forms.

Beat butter and icing sugar until fluffy.

Add the cream cheese and sesame praline butter and beat until smooth and creamy.

Fill a disposable piping bag with the sesame filling and refrigerate for 10 mins to firm up. 


Pipe about a teaspoon of filling onto the underside of half of the biscuits and sandwich together.

Melt the chocolate.

Using a 2cm brush, paint white chocolate brush strokes onto the biscuits.

Alternatively drizzle the white chocolate onto the biscuits using a small piping bag.

Technical bake

Chocolate & Citrus Biscotti 
125g Flour               
125g Sugar
35g Butter                         
30g Dark Chocolate Chips               
40g Citrus Peel                                  
1 Egg                                             
½ tsp. Vanilla Paste                                
½ tsp. Baking powder                             
¼ tsp. Salt                                            
½ tsp. Lemon Zest 
Sugar to roll
Preheat the oven to 180ºC
Combine the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, Chocolate and Citrus Peel. 
Beat the Egg, Vanilla Paste, Lemon Zest and the melted butter until combined.
Add the Egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until you get a firm dough.
Form the dough into a cylinder, roughly 25 cm in length and 4cm thick.
Roll the dough through the extra sugar to create a sugary crust.
Place onto a lined baking tray, ensuring that the cylinder has enough room to spread out.
Bake for around 30 minutes, or until lightly golden, then allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC.
Slice, using a serrated knife, into rounds at an angle, roughly 1½ cm thick.
Place on the tray, cut side up, then bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until crisp and dry.
Flip the Biscotti over halfway through baking to crisp both sides.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
The dough needs to be brought together quickly - over kneading / mixing will result in a tough dough.
Testing the dough: ensure that you are checking a section of dough without any chocolate.
After the first bake, the dough needs to rest for 10 minutes - if the dough cools too long, the dough will become hard and will be difficult to cut.
Cutting the dough when too hot, the biscuit will crumble.
Serrated knife is recommended. 
Halfway through the second bake - flip the biscotti to ensure even drying and crisping.
Cool on a wire tray - this to prevent sweating.

Showstopper bake

Coffee Biscuit Canvas and Spice Biscuits 
For the Coffee Sugar Biscuit
315g Salted butter, room temperature
150g Light brown sugar
100g Dark Muscovado sugar
½ tsp. Salt
60g Molasses
600g Cake flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla extract
60 ml Freeze-dried Coffee Granules 
40ml Milk
For the Spice Biscuits
250g Salted butter, room temperature
400g Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
50ml Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
600g Cake Flour
20ml Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
3 tsp Cinnamon
4 tsp Mixed Spice
Pink, coral red, orange, yellow, black, brown, white gel food colours (will bring own)
For the White Chocolate Glaze
300g White Chocolate 
1 tbsp. Shortening
For the Buttercream 
225g Salted Butter, room temperature
460g Icing Sugar, sifted
1 tsp Lemon Juice
For the Caramel
250 g Castor sugar
50ml Water
For the coffee biscuit
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Cream the butter, sugars and molasses until combined.
Add the cinnamon, flour and 3tsp of the freeze-dried coffee.
Stir the rest of the coffee into the milk and add to the flour. Mix until a dough forms.
Roll out the dough on baking paper to 8mm thickness. Cut a 30x40cm rectangle. 
Transfer baking paper with dough onto baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm and golden around the edges. 
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the Spice Biscuits
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and mix.
Sift the flour, baking powder and spices, and add to butter mixture. Mix until a dough forms.
Divide in two and flatten into disks. 
Cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
Colour walnut-size pieces coral red, yellow, and white using gel colour.
Colour fist-size pieces pink, orange, black, brown using gel colour.
On a floured surface, roll out dough pieces to 5mm. 
Roll thin lengths of dark orange dough into the orange dough to create stripes.
Roll pink and neutral dough to 6mm and cut into equal strips. 
Lift every other slice, and place in the opposite slice between each dough line to create stripes.
Gently roll striped dough together.
Using templates cut out the 2 black cats, 1 orange striped cat, orange cat tail, black cat paw. 
Using templates cut out the human face, neck, brown hair, and striped shirt.
Roll thin pieces of dough to create eyes, noses, mouths and lightly press to the shapes.
Cut 2 additional 20x5cm support pieces to strengthen the back of the coffee biscuit
For the Buttercream filling
Beat the butter and sifted icing sugar until smooth and creamy.
Divide into 3 bowls and tint 3 shades of pink with gel colour.
Melt the white chocolate and shortening.
Add a small drop of pink gel colour to tint the glaze.
Use the arch template to paint the glaze on to the coffee biscuit background.
Prepare an ice bath big enough for the saucepan.
Heat water and caster sugar on low heat until the sugar begins to melt.
Boil until it becomes a light amber colour.
Remove from heat and plunge base of saucepan into an ice bath to prevent burning.
Use the caramel to stick the biscuits to the base to create a 3D portrait.
Use gel food colours to paint additional details.
Pipe buttercream flowers using a 104-piping tip and flower nailheads and baking paper squares. 
Use a small tip to add centre details.
Freeze the flowers for 5 mins.
Use clean scissors to transfer the flowers onto the edge of the chocolate arch.

Shows in this post: The Great South African Bake Off

Channels in this post: BBC Lifestyle


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