Friday, 27 January 2012

Grand Designs in Gingerbread

A few days ago a friend asked me about the Gingerbread house in the post below...

here's what you saw...
...and here's what you didn't!

Erecting the walls
That’s right, I admit it, I cheated and used a (gasp!) pre-baked kit. This included a (near useless) cardboard base, four gingerbread ‘walls’ and two ‘roof’ pieces, an industrial quantity of icing and some sweets to decorate. The first thing I did was ditch the flimsy base in favour of a solid cake board and replace the garish sweets with some tubes of my favourite treats, Jelly Tots and Fruit Pastilles. Next I mixed up a small amount of the icing adding water a little at a time until I achieved a stiff, toothpaste-like consistency. Assembling the house was the trickiest part of the project so I tackled it in several stages. First I applied a line of icing with a pallet knife to the edges of the walls and attached them to the front and back of the house, tidying up any icing that squashed out with a clean knife for a neat finish. I left the base to set for a couple of hours before attaching the roof in the same way. I joined one side under the other rather than at the edges for extra stability (using what I’m reliably informed is a butt joint rather than a mitre joint- see I told you there was engineering involved!).
Creating a lattice work roof

Now for the fun part- the decoration! I mixed up some more icing and filled the piping bag provided, I didn’t like idea of just spreading the roof with icing so I piped a series of straight lines at 45 degree angles creating a pretty lattice effect. Where the lines intersected I put a Jelly Tot. Around the edges of the roof and walls I piped a series of dots, applying even pressure then pulling sharply up and away leaving a little point. I created the icicles that line the bottom of the roof using a similar technique only pulling down and away more slowly to form an elongated tip. This step is a little tricky so it's a good idea to practice first.
Decorating the front & back

I created the front and back of the house by roughly sketching out the design I wanted and transferring it freehand to the gingerbread. I drew the windows and doors applying steady, even pressure to the piping bag and finished them off with a mixture of Jelly Tots and Fruit Pastilles. Around the base of the house I piped some more dots and stuck Jelly Tots around the base, I finished the whole thing off with a light dusting of icing sugar through a sieve. And it was as arduous simple as that! Now for the totally gratuitous 360 degree photos! 


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