Thursday 19 December 2013

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House:


75 g soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 orange, zest of, finely grated
1 tablespoon water
95 g butter
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
225 g plain flour

Royal Icing Glue:
2 large egg white, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/350°F/180°C.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, put in the brown sugar, golden syrup, treacle, all the spices and orange rind with 1 tablespoon of water.
Bring them to boiling point, stirring all the time.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter cut into cubes, and the bicarbonate of soda.
Next stir in the flour gradually until you have a smooth manageable dough – add a little more flour, if you think it needs it.
Leave the dough covered, in a cool place to become firm, approximately 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and cut out the gingerbread house shapes.
Arrange them on the lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed with your fingertip.
Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
Once cool, pipe royal icing to glue the pieces together using small cups/glasses on the side for support to hold up the walls till the icing dries. Use colourful pieces of candy/chocolates to decorate.

To make the royal icing: Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar, beating constantly on high speed until thick.

Chocolate and Coffee Mousse Yule Log:


6 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup cocoa powder (baking, not hot chocolate!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups double cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder (baking)
 1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100g double cream
220g milk chocolate chips

Butter and line a *15"x10"x1" tray and lightly grease the parchment paper. (*I used 14"x13"x1" tray and baked for just 10 minutes)
Pre-heat oven to 190°C/375°F.
In a bowl, with a hand-held electric mixer, beat egg whites until  it forms soft peaks.
Add 1/4 c sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form when beaters are slowly lifted. Set aside.
In another bowl, using the same beaters, beat yolks at high speed, adding remaining half cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until mixture is very thick, about 5 minutes.
At low speed, beat in cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, until smooth.
Now, using a rubber spatula, gently fold cocoa mixture into egg whites just until blended (no egg whites should show).
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared tray.
Bake for *15 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, until surface springs back when pressed gently.
Meanwhile, have a large, clean tea towel ready lined with parchment paper and dusted with icing sugar.
Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and immediately turn cake out onto the sugar covered parchment paper and carefully peel off the other paper. Now, roll up the cake with the towel rolled in it.
Leave it to cool completely on rack.

For the filling, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick. Chill till you need it!

To make the chocolate ganache, bring double cream to boil (either stove top or in a microwave). Put the chocolate chips in a bowl, pour the hot liquid over, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then whisk till you get a smooth mixture. Set it aside till it thickens and easy enough to pipe/spread onto the cake. Do not put it in the fridge, it will solidify. But refrigerate any leftover and gently heat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds to bring it back to room temperature.

Now to assemble: Carefully unroll the cake, spread the mousse mixture, and re-roll, this time without the tea towel! Place on a serving platter/cake stand seam side down.
Make sure the chocolate ganache is not too runny before spreading/piping onto the cake. I used the basket weaving tip for wood effect.

Dust with icing sugar.

Meringue mushrooms:

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (we don't get cream of tartar here in Switzerland so I used same quantity of lemon juice instead, worked perfectly well)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cocoa powder (baking), for dusting
Milk Chocolate, about 200 grams, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 90°C/190°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Place the egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Add in cream of tartar/lemon juice and whisk just about till you get stiff peaks.
Increase the speed to high, gradually add vanilla extract, and the sugar about a tablespoon at a time, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, pipe and dust with cocoa powder as shown in the YouTube video!
Bake for one and half hours, switching the trays at 45 minutes. At the end of the baking time, switch off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringues cool on the shelves in the oven.
Use melted chocolate to attach the stem to the caps (as shown in the video!)

Recipe & images are the copyright of my talented friend Aisha Yusaf

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