Ginger train base

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • DifficultyEasy
225g vegetable margarine
225g unsalted butter
1kg strong flour
220g caster sugar
3 tablespoons ground ginger
5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
350ml treacle
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Royal Icing, recipe follows
For Royal Icing:
175ml water
75g plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder (egg white powder)
900g icing sugar
Food colouring, as desired
1) Melt the margarine and butter together in a medium saucepan and allow to cool.

2)Sift the flour, sugar, spices, and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer.

3) Mix the butter mixture into the flour mixture with the paddle attachment until sandy.

4) Add the treacle and vanilla and mix until evenly incorporated, but still crumbly in texture.

5) Press the dough together by hand and divide into 4 equal portions. Press into disks about ¾-cm thick. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

6)Dust the dough and a work surface with flour. Roll the dough about ½-cm thick. Cut into desired shapes, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm.

7) Position racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 180C/Gas 4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a rich tawny brown. Cool on a rack.

8) Royal Icing:combine all the ingredients, except the food colouring, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix slowly until stiff enough to form peaks. The icing should be pure white and thick, but not fluffy and bubbly. If the icing is overbeaten, it will get aerated which makes it harder to work with. If this happens, let the icing sit to settle, then beat vigorously with a rubber spatula to smooth it out.

9) Alternatively, combine ingredients in a large bowl, and beat with hand beaters on low speed until the icing forms stiff peaks.

10) Add up to 1 tablespoon food colouring and mix with a rubber spatula until the colour is uniform. (Beware of adding too much colour, it reduces the sheen and can break down the consistency of the icing over a couple of days.) To store icing, cover the surface with cling film.

Copyright 2005 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

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