A Gingerbread Surprise in the Making
Gingerbread: spicy, sweet, aromatic and just in time for the holidays!
The pastry team at The Pointe Restaurant has a longstanding tradition of baking and building a special gingerbread creation every year. Anticipation is high as the holiday season approaches, but the result is kept secret until its reveal—this year the gingerbread surprise was presented December 10.
As the reveal date approaches, the warm smell of baking gingerbread wafts out of the kitchen. The pastry team, led by Chef Maria Desaulniers (Sous Chef Pastry), has been planning for months already. The lead up means at least 50-75 hours on preparation, experimentation and collaboration with the maintenance team for scaled drawings and blueprints (due to size it can require some structural support), and then, of course, baking, assembling and decorating for final display!
And, while we’re always a bit nosy to see, the surprise is an event in itself.
“People are curious and excitedly ask what we’re making this year, and when I tell them that it’s a secret, they end up saying something along the lines of: ‘I actually really like that it’s a surprise; it’s fun to finally walk by and see what it is this year!’” says Chef Desaulniers.
It’s her sixth year with us, and she’s created some fantastic sculptures and scenes in the past five, including:
Longhouse and Village
Rocking Horse (which was able to hold 5’2” Chef Desaulniers at our Christmas Gala. It was really above and beyond and set a new standard, “the one by which all others shall be judged,” says Maria.)
The Polar Express
When she first started at The Pointe, Maria says the task of living up to former gingerbread presentations seemed daunting, but—and we must say she has far outdone herself—it has since become a favourite challenge and something we all look forward to.
This year, Maria and the team have created a Festive Merry-Go-Round, pictured above.
Want to make your own gingerbread creations? Here are some suggested recipes from Chef Maria below:
Chewy Ginger Cookies
600g AP Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cloves
2 tsp Cinnamon
4 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Baking Soda
Cream together Butter, Sugar, Honey, and Molasses. Add egg one at a time, incorporating well and scraping down bowl between each addition. Whisk together dry ingredients and blend into mix just until well incorporated. Scoop with yellow scoop. Roll cookie balls in white sugar before baking and flatten slightly. Bake at 300* for 8-10 minutes, or until just crispy on the outside and still a bit chewy on the inside. May also bake until crispy throughout for Ginger Snaps.
300g Brown Sugar
335g Fancy Molasses
2 Whole Eggs
900g AP Flour
1 ½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cloves
½ tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Baking Soda
Cream together Butter, Sugar, and Molasses. Add egg one at a time, incorporating well and scraping down bowl between each addition. Whisk together dry ingredients and blend into mix just until well incorporated. Remove from bowl, flatten into disc, wrap in saran wrap and chill before rolling. Roll to ¼” and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 325* for 8-10 minutes, depending on the shapes and sizes you are creating.
Chef Maria Desaulniers’ gingerbread recipe is not only for the eyes—it tastes fantastic. Warm some cocoa, don your apron and start rolling! Bring as a gift or fill your belly with some home-baked cheer.
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