Gingerbread Castle | Pastry recipes

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  • What’s better than a gingerbread house? A fairytale gingerbread castle, of course.

    Show off your building and exterior decorating skills as well as your baking skills with this amazing centerpiece creation. With rows of large, whimsical windows, snow-covered ramparts, and even its own ribbon drawbridge, this castle is fun, challenging, and satisfying to do. While it’s hard to portion a treat like this, there’s certainly enough delicious gingerbread here for a party of 20. It is also accompanied by its own chocolate sauce. So even though it’s hard to take the first bite of something so beautiful, once people start they won’t be able to stop.

    Ingredients

    • 500 g unsalted butter

    • 400 g of black muscovado sugar

    • 150g of golden syrup

    • 1.2 kg of plain flour

    • 4 teaspoons of baking soda

    • 2½ tablespoons of ground ginger

    • 350g icing sugar

    • 1 teaspoon of green food coloring

    • For the chocolate sauce:

    • 200g double cream

    • 200 g of dark chocolate, broken into pieces

    • For decoration:

    • Edible gold spray and gold flakes

    • Green ribbon

    • You will need:

    • a sheet of A4 paper

    • 4 flat baking sheets

    • 2 pastry bags

    Method

    • First, create the model of the castle. Use a sheet of A4 paper, in portrait orientation. Each side of the castle will have two turrets. Mark them on each side at the top of the paper, measuring 7cm (2??inches) from the sides and draw a vertical line down 7 cm (2??inch). Connect the bottom of these two lines with a horizontal line. You now have a thin rectangle in the middle of the top of your sheet. Cut it out to leave two “turns” on each side. Now you want to create a crenellated effect at the top of each tower, for the crenellations. Draw two small, thin, evenly spaced vertical rectangles descending from the top of each turret. They should be about 2cm long and 1cm wide. Cut them out to create the slots. Finally, draw a drawbridge by marking two vertical lines 10 cm (4 inches), 8 cm (3 inches) from each side at the bottom. Draw a line at the top to join them and form a rectangle. Cut out the rectangle. Set the castle template aside. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6.

    • In a large saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup, then, off the heat, stir in the flour, baking soda and ginger. You must have a firm dough. Let cool for 1 min.

    • Divide the dough into four, then spread each piece a little larger than an A4 on a piece of baking paper. Using the template, cut each piece into a castle shape, choosing a single piece of dough to cut the drawbridge. Transfer the rectangle from the drawbridge to a separate sheet of parchment paper. Place each gingerbread castle shape through the baking paper on an individual baking sheet, then bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your oven. Let cool slightly then cut the edges to straighten them if they have an uneven cooking (see tip).

    • To assemble the castle, make a thick frosting by mixing 2 tablespoons of cold water in 300 g (10 ½ oz) of icing sugar and use half to fill an icing bag with a 1 cm wide nozzle or a plastic bag that you can cut off the end of when full of frosting. On a large cake board or flat pan, draw an 8 inch pan (??inch) square with the frosting. Place a wall without a drawbridge, flat on a work surface and ice a line of frosting on one side. Place another side of the wall vertically over the frosting, matching the sides exactly up, then hold for 1 min. Flip the walls upside down so they are upright and on top of the frosting square. Attach another solid wall in the same way, then secure the castle facade with the frosting.

    • Frost the edges of the turrets with the white frosting, then set the bag of white frosting aside. Spray the top of the white frosting with gold. In a bowl, combine the green food coloring, 50g (1??oz) icing sugar and 1-2 teaspoons of cold water to make a thick paste. Fill another icing bag or plastic bag with the mixture and form windows on all the walls of the castle. Secure the bottom of the rectangular piece of gingerbread to the bottom of the drawbridge hole with the white frosting then add two pieces of thin green ribbon to either side of the drawbridge with the white frosting. Use the remaining white frosting to snow all the windows and the drawbridge. Sprinkle with edible golden spray and sprinkles and let sit.

    • To make the chocolate sauce, put the cream in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, then add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool then transfer to a serving saucepan. If you made the sauce ahead of time, reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 min and stir. Spray with gold then serve with the gingerbread house. After demolition, store gingerbread in an airtight container for up to a week.

      RECIPE AND FOOD STYLE: LIZ O’KEEFE

    Top tips for making this gingerbread castle

    If your walls come out of the oven a little wobbly, don’t worry. You can fix most things – like a wobbly base with extra royal icing to glue things up. To cut off the sides that have puffed up, you can use a cheese grater to gently flatten them. For smaller areas, such as around battlement battlements, a clean nail file is a handy fixer.

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