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vegan wrapped in bacon > surprise #1: filet de bling >
surprise #2: bleary morning
"It was now three mornings since they had left their father's house.
They began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the forest,
and if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness.
When it was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a
bough, which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened
to it. And when its song was over, it spread its wings and flew away
before them, and they followed it until they reached a little house,
on the roof of which it alighted; and when they approached the little
house they saw that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but
that the windows were of clear sugar. 'We will set to work on that,'
said Hansel, 'and have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and
you Gretel, can eat some of the window, it will taste sweet.' Hansel
reached up above, and broke off a little of the roof to try how it
tasted, and Gretel leant against the window and nibbled at the panes."
Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck (no, not that Engelbert Humperdinck), produced by the Metropolitan Opera.
Approx. 9"/23cm H x 4.5"/11.5cm W x 7"/18cm D (not including chimney)
Gingerbaconbread House Template (pdf format)
You Will Also Need
This is a weekend-long project at the best. It could be done in one day if you were prepared to have a very long day and didn't need it until the next day. We recommend spending Day 1 making up the bacongingerbread early on, rolling it out into multiple baking sheets, and chilling it thoroughly, say overnight. Day 2 can be spent cutting out pieces and baking them. Assembly can be left for later on Day 2 or even on Day 3.
Cut pancetta rounds into quarters. Fry the pancetta quarters until crisp over medium heat, making sure to weight the pieces so they do not curl during cooking. When crisp, lay out on paper towels to drain and cool. Put aside until ready to shingle the roof.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add all the spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix until combined. Next mix in the eggs, molasses, and bacon. When the mixture is smooth, slowly add the flour a little at a time. You may have to add a little more or a little less to get a nice stiff dough. Divide the dough in half, and wrap in plastic. Smooth the dough in the plastic to create a disk shape. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until dough is stiff and ready to work.
Flour your work surface lightly and roll out your dough. I use a large piece of parchment as a work surface, so it's easy to turn the dough and transfer it onto the baking sheet. If the gingerbread dough starts to crack around the edges when you roll, let it stand for about 5 minutes to temper, and start again. You can also pinch the edges back together to help the dough keep its shape. Add more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Use the cut parchment paper as a guide to see how large to roll out the rectangular shape of the dough. When it is the appropriate size, trim the dough edges, reserving the dough for reuse, and place the sheet of dough with the parchment underneath on the baking sheet. Chill the dough in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat process until you have three baking sheets full of gingerbread dough.
Press some of the reserved dough into the decorative candy molds to make the decorations for the house. Freeze the molds for about 5-10 minutes and then pop the molded decorations out and lay them on a baking sheet with the rest of the pieces. Make sure you have all the pieces for the house, the trees, the sheep, and the gingerbread men before you start to bake. It will be easier if you don't have to go back and roll out more dough while trying to watch the ones that are baking. Bake the gingerbread for about 9 minutes, though the molded decorations will probably be ready much sooner as they are very thin. You want the pieces to be crisp and not darkened. Let the gingerbread cool in the pan a little, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling until hard.
While the gingerbread is cooling, make the royal icing. Place the confectioners' sugar and the meringue powder in a bowl and add water 1 teaspoon at a time while stirring until all the sugar is moistened and the icing is very stiff. Keep stirring until the icing becomes smooth. If you cannot get the icing to smooth, add a scant teaspoon more water and keep stirring until it does.
Cream the butter and bacon fat/lard together in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and meringue powder and mix on medium speed until the dry mixture is incorporated. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Fill halfway a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and the scroll tip. Cover the remaining frosting with plastic wrap pressed into the surface to prevent it from hardening in the bowl before you refill your pastry bag.
1. Put together walls with royal icing, let dry completely.
3. Put roof on house with royal icing, let dry completely. You may need to rig a support to keep the roof pieces from sliding off the structure.
8. Coat roof with baconcreme frosting, shingle with pancetta quarters.
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