Phil Vickery's gingerbread masterclass
If you’re fed up with baking banana bread, you can use this time at home to get ahead with your festive creations instead!
Phil Vickery’s here to bring us a taste of Christmas cheer with his gingerbread masterclass - but will Phillip and Davina be able to build a gingerbread house without it crumbling?
Phil's gingerbread biscuits
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: makes about 10 gingerbread men
125g salted butter
250g plain flour
125g soft brown sugar
½ tsp bicarb of soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cold water
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Rub the butter and flour together. Add the sugar, soda, cream of tartar, salt and ginger.
2. Mix well then add the golden syrup water and mix to make a dough
3. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 5mm thickness, then cut out your chosen shapes
4. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 -12 minutes, or until golden brown
5. Leave to cool completely before decorating
Christmas gingerbread house
Makes: 1 house
375g margarine or butter
300g dark soft brown sugar
12 tbsp condensed milk
975g plain flour
3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 tsp ground ginger
You will also need
400g ready-made royal icing
250g mini shredded wheat cereal for the roof
Selection of sweets of your choice to decorate
Desiccated coconut to sprinkle on the cake board
30 cm round cake board
Piping bag and nozzles
1. Print and carefully cut out the template onto card, cutting 1 side, 1 front,1 roof piece
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4
3. Heat the butter and sugar in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the condensed milk and stir together.
4. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl and pour over the condensed milk mixture. Start by working the ingredients together with a spoon then with clean hands bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
5. Roll the gingerbread out in batches between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper to a thickness of 0.5cm. Use the template to begin cutting the side walls, front and back wall (use the same template for the front and the back wall) and roof. Slide the biscuits still on the greaseproof onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have 2 side walls, a front and back wall that use the same template and 2 roof panels.
6. Bake the biscuits for about 15 - 16 minutes until firm. Whilst still warm place the template on top of the cooked gingerbread. Use a sharp knife to trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Repeat with the remaining biscuits. Leave to cool completely.
7. To assemble: Place the icing in a piping bag fitted with a medium nozzle. Spread a little of the royal icing in the centre onto a cake board or board. Pipe generous lines of icing along the wall edges, one by one to join the walls together placing them on the iced cake board. Support the walls using a small bowl or can. Allow to firm up and dry. When firm remove the supports.
8. Attach the roof to the walls using more royal icing, you may have to hold the roof panels in place for a few minutes until the icing starts to dry. Ideally leave to dry overnight.
9. To decorate: be as creative as you like. Use royal icing to pipe or spread on the gingerbread house. Attach sweets or shredded cereal or chooolate buttons to the roof. Dust with icing sugar if liked. Create icicles by starting with the piping nozzle at a 90-degree angle, squeeze out a small blob of icing. Keep the pressure in the nozzle, pull downwards and off. You should be left with pointed icicle shapes. Pipe windows and doors, attach sweets of your choice.
10. Spread royal icing over the cake board and sprinkle with desiccated coconut if liked. Decorate the board with leftover sweets if desired too.