The Great South African Bake Off 4 Recipe: Classic Choux Swans with Berry Coulis (Eps 4)

Written by TVSA Team from the blog BBC Lifestyle on 12 Oct 2023
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This is the recipe for the Episode 4 Technical Challenge on The Great South African Bake Off 4.

You'll find links to the recipes for the season's other episodes underneath it.

Classic Choux Swans with Berry Coulis


- These need a golden crust and attention to detail on the wings.

- The necks should be rigid enough so that they stand up without being burnt.

- You'll need to use different nozzles for the different elements. Use a piped, star nozzle for the body and use a plain, smaller nozzle for the neck.

- The big body part will take longer to cook and the neck much shorter.
For the Choux Pastry
180 ml Water 
pinch Salt 
100g Flour 
2 Eggs 
1 Egg Yolk
62g Butter
2 x Paper Lined Baking Trays
For the Chantilly Cream filling 
150ml Whipping Cream
1 tsp. Icing Sugar, plus extra for dusting 
¼ tsp. Vanilla Paste
For the Berry Coulis
125g Fresh Ripe Berries 
1-2 Tbsp. Icing Sugar
To Finish
12 Black Sesame seeds
¼ tsp. Honey
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
For the Choux Pastry 
Boil the water and Butter until rolling.
Remove from heat and tip in all the flour at once.
Beat with a spatula until smooth, thick and it leaves the sides of the pan.
Return to heat periodically to cook the roux - you want a film on the base of the pan.
Place on a side plate and cool rapidly to room temperature.
Beat in eggs, one at a time until pastry is soft, shiny, smooth and of a dropping consistency.
Spoon one quarter of the pastry into the piping bag fitted with the writing nozzle.
Spoon the remaining pastry into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
Pipe 6 elongated number “2” shapes (6cm each) onto a baking tray to form the neck of the swans. 
Form a small teardrop at the top end of the “2” shape to form a head and beak.
Pipe teardrop shapes, measuring 7cm long, on the other baking tray to form the swans’ bodies.
Bake the swans’ necks for 10–12 minutes and the bodies for 20–25 minutes, until firm and golden.
Return the bodies to the oven for 5 minutes to dry out the insides.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice off the top one third of each swan body, then cut each top in half to form the wings.  
For the Berry Coulis

Blitz the berries until smooth with just enough icing sugar to create a slightly tart fresh sauce.
For the Chantilly Cream
Whisk the Cream, Vanilla Paste, and the sugar to firm peaks place in a star nozzle piping bag.
Place in a star nozzle piping bag.
Piping up and out, fill the swan’s bodies with Chantilly cream to resemble feathers.
Arrange the wings on each side of the body, sticking up to resemble wings.
Dust the swan body lightly with icing sugar.
Glue, utilising the honey the black sesame seeds on each side of the head to resemble eyes.
Arrange the necks through the cream into the base of each swan.
On choux 
After melting the butter with the water over the stove, add all the flour in one go, then give the mixture a vigorous stir until the flour is well combined with the wet ingredients, and cook until it no longer sticks to the pot.

Vicarious stirring activates gluten. A light film on the base of the pan indicates enough cooking.
Cool flour mixture immediately – to room temperature.
Add eggs incrementally – to ensure complete incorporation.
High temperature is key to create internal steam.
Drying out to release internal steam – thus ensuring a crisp shell and slightly moist centre.
Shaping is key – piping bag should be at a 45-degree angle to the tray.

Tap these links to see recipes from each week:
(Each one opens in a new window.)

Episode 1: Chocolate & Citrus Biscotti

Episode 2: Macadamia Lemon Meringue Roulade

Episode 3: Butternut Maize Meal Parmesan Scones

Episode 5: Plum and Ginger Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce

Episode 6: Turkish Spinach and Cheese Street Food

Episode 7: Jammy Coconut Crème Doughnuts

Episode 8: Chocolate and Almond Cake

Episode 9: Milk Tart Saint Honoré

Episode 10: Banana Soufflé & Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Shows in this post: The Great South African Bake Off

Channels in this post: BBC Lifestyle


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