The title sounds something like a specialist subject on Mastermind but in actual fact it's a roundup of how the Christmas tradition of an annual Gingerbread House has developed over the last five years. I've previously blogged about Gingerbread Houses for Christmas but the short version is that construction of a gingerbread house has become something of a Christmas Eve tradition in the Foodie Quine household. I have no input whatsoever to the process. Its all down to my sister (aka Auntie Adele), boy, girl and a little help from an Ikea flat pack. Their creations have become increasingly ambitious over the years and for 2014 Ikea was abandoned and they baked their own!
The recipe followed was by none other than Mary Berry and they even watched her Christmas Masterclass featuring it to try and pick up some tips. There appeared to be a huge amount of dough, at least enough for two houses and its texture was very dry and crumbly and difficult to work with. Even at this point I could hear frustration and raised voices in the kitchen. However it looked beautiful in kit fomat and the stained glass boiled sweet windows were very impressive.
I wasn't at home on Christmas Eve when the main build and decoration was taking place. I believe that Auntie Adele may have uttered some words that delicate little ears should not have heard. A telling text was received from Foodie Girl. "Gingerbread house has broke into bits". In spite of this I reckon they did a pretty good job of salvaging the situation and patching up any cracks. A pack of mini matchmakers can hide a multitude of sins.
Due to the delicate nature of the build and the fact that a Building Warrant wasn't granted, the idea of putting tea lights inside was abandoned. However with strategic placement of a torch the stained glass window effect was still visible. In addition to the house we also had a whole forest full of woodland creatures and Christmas trees such was the sheer quantity of dough. In terms of taste the homemade version beats the Swedish flatpack by a long shot.
So will we be back to Ikea flat pack for 2015 or will the three amigos try something different? A quick Google reveals some amazing creations and Auntie Adele has done herself no favours by gifting a Gingerbread: Houses, Animals and Decorations book. They've got less than 12 months to plan a gingerbread Noah's Ark, steam train or fairy-tale castle. If they can't manage it they could always resort to my own version of a Ginger Bread House...