Menu
GSABO - S2- Ep4 - Recipes

Gingerbread Tree House in Baobab Tree

GSABO

The Great South African Bake Off - Past series

BBC Lifestyle

Ingredients

Gingerbread:

  • 525g sugar, muscovado
  • 255g golden syrup
  • 300g butter
  • 1050g flour, plain
  • 3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tbsp ginger, ground
  • 3 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Caramel glue:

  • 125g water
  • 500g castor sugar
  • 100g liquid glucose

Royal icing:

  • 225g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • gel food colouring, yellow

Chocolate soil:

  • 30g cake flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 60g almonds, ground
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

Decorations:

  • 60 pretzel sticks, 12cm long
  • 9 hazelnuts, blanched
  • 9 toothpicks
  • 150g liquorice rainbow laces
  • 300g candy chocolate balls
  • 100g sugar coated jelly sweets
  • 10 candy speckled eggs
  • 60g white fondant, ready made
  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • 1/2 tsp CMC powder
  • 1/2 tsp gel food colouring, yellow
  • 1/2 tsp gel food colouring, pink
  • 1/2 tsp gel food colouring, green
  • 50g liquorice wheels, black
  • 100g almonds, candy-coated

Preparation method

Gingerbread:

  • Preheat oven to 170 C
  • Melt sugar, butter and syrup in a large saucepan, over low heat
  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, simmer for 3 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves
  • Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the orange extract
  • Sift all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
  • Add sugar and syrup mixture, along with beaten eggs and gently knead into a soft dough
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 10 minutes
  • Divide dough into five pieces. Work with one piece at a time (keep the others covered)
  • Roll out dough on a sheet of greaseproof paper to 6mm thick
  • Cover dough with greased bark imprint sheet and roll over once again
  • Place branch template onto dough, bark lines vertical, cut out using a sharp knife
  • Transfer branch on the baking paper to a baking tray. Chill for 10 minutes
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes
  • Repeat with all the branches
  • For the tree house:
  • Roll out dough, as above, and imprint with a bark sheet
  • Place house (excluding roof), sign and platform templates onto dough, bark lines horizontal
  • Cut out using a sharp knife
  • Chill for 10 minutes, then bake for 8-10 minutes
  • Cut roof and ladder templates from plain dough. Bake as above

Caramel glue:

  • Heat water and sugar over low heat, until it comes to a boil
  • Add liquid glucose and simmer until sugar turns golden brown
  • Allow to cool and thicken slightly before using
  • Use to stick gingerbread pieces together
  • If caramel gets too thick to work with, then reheat over low heat

Royal icing:

  • Place icing sugar into a small bowl. Add lemon juice
  • Beat in a little egg white at a time until icing is a smooth, stiff paste
  • Place 3 tbsp of the icing into a piping bag fitted with a No. 1 writing-icing nozzle
  • Colour another 3 tbsp. icing pale yellow
  • Put into another piping bag fitted with a No. 1 writing-icing nozzle
  • Keep the rest of icing covered, to use on the roof and for sticking blossoms into place
  • Pipe lines down the door, using white icing, to emphasise the bark lines
  • Pipe lines around the windows and all the straw holes
  • Pipe icing around the front door and glue door back into position
  • Pipe a line of icing around the outside of the windows on the reverse side of dough
  • Cut a piece of leaf gelatine to cover the window and glue down
  • Pipe name of your choice onto the sign
  • Glue sign with a little icing against the base of one of the tree branches

Chocolate soil:

  • Preheat oven to 170 C
  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture comes together
  • Spread over a baking tray lined with baking paper
  • Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, then allow to cool

Assembly:

  • Use the grid of the branch positions as a reference
  • BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL - CARAMEL VERY HOT
  • Dip the base of each branch into the caramel
  • Glue onto a suitable flat serving board
  • Drizzle 2 tsps caramel down the side of each branch, where they meet in the centre
  • Glue one side D to the inside of one of C. Repeat on the opposite side
  • You now have the front and back of the house glued to one gable side
  • Glue the other gable side into position
  • Glue the house onto the platform base with the door facing the straw-hole side
  • Line up the back of the house with the back of the platform
  • Spread royal icing over one roof side
  • Stick pretzel sticks vertically down the roof to cover
  • Break off pretzel sticks just over the edge of the roof line
  • Glue one roof panel into position
  • Fill the inside of the house with 300g chocolate coated candy balls
  • Spread icing over the other roof half, stick on pretzel sticks, glue into place
  • Pipe royal icing onto the flat surface in the centre of the branches
  • Carefully position the house and platform on top of the icing between the branches
  • Break 2 pretzel sticks into 6 x 3cm pieces (they don't have to be perfectly even)
  • Dip each end into caramel and glue into the straw holes in front of the house
  • Break another 2 pieces to fit across the 3 upright pieces. Glue into place
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Glue ladder into place going up to the platform at the front door

Decorations:

  • Skewer each hazelnut with a toothpick. Dip each nut into caramel
  • Wait for it to dry, then secure with icing along the roof-top line with spikes facing up
  • For the mini grape bunches:
  • Select 10 of the different green coloured laces
  • Cut 10 different coloured sugar coated jelly sweets in half
  • Stick jelly sweets halves onto the end of a liquorice lace
  • Work up the lace length and stick sweets around to resemble a bunch of grapes
  • You now have a mini bunch of grapes
  • Repeat to make 10 bunches
  • For the fondant lights:
  • Take 30g of fondant and work in 1/4 tsp CMC powder
  • Divide into 15 pea-sized balls and shape into tear-drop light bulb
  • Place onto a flat surface to dry
  • Paint 5 with yellow colour, 5 with pink, 5 with green. Leave to dry
  • Unravel 2 black liquorice wheels. Pipe royal icing along the length, 5cm apart
  • Stick fondant lights in alternating colours along the liquorice
  • Leave to dry, then dip one end of the liquorice into the caramel and attach
  • Drape the liquorice from branch to branch, securing the other end with caramel
  • Repeat with the other strand
  • For the birds nests:
  • Pull strands of caramel using two forks, flicking over baking paper
  • Shape into rough bird's nest. Place on separate tree branches. Make 3
  • Place 3 speckled eggs into each nest