James Morton takes the bigger-is-better approach to the Bake Off with this huge gingerbread house. Consider reducing the quantities if you are attempting it at home.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a ruler, lots of baking trays and a very large, strong board to construct the gingerbread house on.
600g/1lb 5oz butter
1kg/2lb 4oz golden syrup
600g/1lb 5oz black treacle
500g/1lb 2oz muscovado sugar
10cm/4in piece fresh ginger, finely grated
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1litre/1¾ pints whole milk
30g/1oz bicarbonate of soda
1.2kg/2lb 10oz plain flour
500g/1lb 2oz caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line four large baking trays with baking paper.
For the gingerbread frame, in a pan melt the sugar, golden syrup and butter. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl and add the melted butter mix. Stir until combined then, using your hands, stretch the dough into a long strip. Flatten the dough to approximately 5mm deep and transfer to the baking trays (you will have to divide the dough into pieces). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until brown at the edges.
While the gingerbread is still warm cut it into 3cm wide strips (which will make the frame of the house). You will need four strips that are the full length of the house (approximately 60cm), seven strips that are the full width of the house (approximately 30cm), 12 for the posts that support the walls (approximately 20cm), 10 for the roof rafters (approximately 20cm), 24 strips to form diagonal supports within the walls (approximately 25cm) and 15 strips to support the roof (five approximately 15cm long and 10 approximately 10cm long). In addition, you will need four 30x20cm rectangles for the roof covering.
For the gingerbread bricks, reduce the oven temperature to 160C/310F/Gas 2.5 and line two large baking trays with baking paper. In a large pan, melt the butter, golden syrup, treacle, sugar, fresh ginger and spices together. When combined remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, eggs and bicarbonate of soda. Quickly whisk in the flour. Pour the mix into the prepared baking trays and bake for 45 minutes. Cool on wire racks before cutting into bricks.
To make the glue for the frame and roof, in a pan gently heat the caster sugar with 100g/3½oz water to make a syrup. When thick and sticky, turn the heat down to minimum and start to construct the frame using the syrup to glue together the gingerbread strips.
For the roof slates, line two large baking trays with baking paper. In a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, melt most of the chocolate with the ginger. When the chocolate has all melted, remove the ginger and stir in the remaining chocolate (to temper). Pour onto the prepared baking trays, spread evenly and set aside to chill. After a few minutes score the chocolate into small rectangles and, when fully set, break into tiles.
For the mortar, in a large bowl combine the icing sugar with the butter and then whisk in the cream cheese until smooth. Use this to stick the chocolate roof slates to the roof covering and the bricks to the walls of the house.
To decorate, in a large bowl whisk the egg whites until they form a foam, then sift in the icing sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Stir in the lemon juice.
Take 3-4 tablespoons of the icing and add the green food colouring. Transfer to a piping bag with a small round nozzle attached and pipe ivy onto the side of the house.
Add the white icing to a piping bag with a large round nozzle attached and pipe snow onto the roof of the house.
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