By Andrew Soddy, Executive Head Chef at L'Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa
I am Andrew Soddy, Executive Head Chef at L'Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa hope you enjoy creating your own gingerbread house this Christmas time!
Gingerbread has been around for thousands of years, since the times of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. During its early days, it was baked to be firm so that it could be used for religious ceremonial purposes. Eventually, an Armenian monk brought it to Europe in 992. By this period, gingerbread baking was already quite sophisticated, and specially made moulds were used to create images of saints and other important religious characters out of the bread.
The primary use of gingerbread continued to serve a religious purpose through to the 17th century, when it finally became associated with Christmas holidays. As the creation of religious icons — even in edible forms — was seen as a sacred and prestigious practice, European royalty of the time only permitted gingerbread to be prepared by specially trained gingerbread guild members except during Christmas and Easter. As a result, most people could only enjoy the sweet dessert during this time of the year. (Words by Judi Zienchuk from Epicure & Culture)
It has also become a tradition at L’Horizon so we build our own ginger bread village each Christmas for our guests and visitors to enjoy over the festive period.
We start building in the second week of December and our village becomes ready for display just before Christmas. Why not pop in this season and have a look at our creation? It will be displayed in the Lounge where you cannot only enjoy the beautiful views over St Brelade’s Bay but a warming mulled wine and mince pies too. What better way to start your Christmas celebrations?
For our ginger bread village we have to make enough dough for 24 houses! But, we thought you may just like to make one...
For one gingerbread house
For the house
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200g dark muscovado sugar
- 7 tbsp golden syrup
- 600g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 625g icing sugar
- 250g of sweets
Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180C/gas mark 6.
Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan.
Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl, then stire in teh butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If it won't come together, add a tiny splash of water.
Cut out the template from below. Put a sheet of baking paper on the work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins.
Cut one of the sections, and then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeart with the remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front and back wall and two roof panels.
Bake all the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few mins to firm up, and then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave to cool completely.
Once cool, use icing to asseble the parts of the house then decorate as desired with the sweets you picked. I would suggest buying more sweets to be on the safe side. If you are anything like me, you will eat half of the sweets before getting to the decorating part.