Recipe by Chef Abhishek Basu, Executive Chef, The Park, New Delhi
4500 gm refined flour
1000 gm cashew nut powder
15 gm powdered cinnamon
15 gm powdered clove
200 gm dry ginger
5 gm salt
300 gm butter
50 gm baking powder
100 gm egg white
3 kg honey, warmed
For the Royal Icing
800 gm icing sugar
125 gm egg white
30 ml lemon juice
Sieve all the dry ingredients.
Add the butter into the flour mixture and mix it until it forms a crumble.
Mix in the egg white and honey to form firm dough. (You may need some extra water to for the dough)
Wrap up the dough and rest for 45 minutes in a fridge.
Roll it into a sheet of 5 cm thickness and carefully place on to the flat baking trays.
Fork the sheet to avoid puffing. Cut it into the required shapes using templates.
See to that the shapes do not get disturbed while handling.
Bake at 100º C for 90 minutes or till nice and dark.
Once cooled, leave them in a dry place as they tend to absorb moisture and go soft - in which case you need to dry them out in a slow oven.
For the Royal Icing
Add 600 gm of icing sugar to the egg whites and mix well to form a thick firm paste.
Add the lemon juice, for brightness.
Adjust the consistency with a little more of icing sugar. As you will need the icing for piping or to flow as a snow, make sure to thin it down a little with extra egg whites.
If you want to colour the icing, food grade colour can be added.
Store it covered in an airtight container or with a wet cloth while you work.
For the gingerbread hut
Roll the dough into sheets and lay on greased trays with the thickness required and dock it to avoid puffing up.
Bake them carefully at a very slow temperature (100ºC) until it goes hard and dark. It can be re- heated to get the extra dryness as you wouldn’t be able to dry it after assembling.
The secret of getting them crisp and dry is by re-baking them.
First, plan the model of the house you decide to make.
It is good to have the bottom walls or pillars thicker as they are going to carry the weight of the house.
The roof or chimneys have to be made thinner as they should not be too heavy for the basement.
Now using the templates and a sharp knife cut out the necessary shapes. Remove the excess dough and keep aside. It is advisable to always keep an extra set of fittings as the bread is quite delicate. If it breaks while assembling you would have to stop your entire work until the broken part is ready.
To start assembling, first polish/ trim the sides of the baked pieces if needed. While baking the shape of the dough might change slightly. Now on a wooden foil-lined base, assemble the walls first. Door height can be 3 inches
Stick them with thick royal icing.
Let the royal icing dry and cement the walls in place. Pipe some royal icing on the top edges of the walls. Place one side of the roof and when in place the second side.
Leave to dry.
And also the fence sticks. Dough should be sheeted on a round steel pipe and then cut into desired size. Fence sticks should be rolled into thin sticks as thick as required and baked at 100c .should be stuck with royal icing.
Once it has dried, pipe some more icing on the roof. Fix the roof tiles and chimney. Leave to dry.