Building a giant gingerbread house

Dec 3, 2015

Christine Clancy (left), executive pastry chef at the St. Regis Hotel, works on her gingerbread house.
Credit Patrick Fort / Aspen Public Radio

Pastry chefs at the St. Regis hotel are unveiling a sweet model of their building this weekend.

Christine Clancy, is the executive pastry chef at the hotel. She’s worked in Vail, and has had to make other large, edible structures before. For her, regardless of the scale of the project, it’s never easy.

“It’s such a process,” she says. “You layer on top of layer on top of layer. We have so many buildings to work with and move on to the next.”

The scale of the endeavor is huge, to say the least.

“We’re already 50 pounds of sugar in,” says Clancy. “I actually wrote this down. We’re probably 30 pounds of flour. At least 15 pounds of powdered sugar.”

That’s not even including stuff the decorating. All of those ingredients are just for the base of the building. Blue and white pieces of sugar cookie dough and fondant run up the sides of the building. It looks like something out of Disney’s “Frozen”.

The wooden structure the thin is built on is as big as a king-sized bed. It’s 48 hours worth of work for Christine and her team, which is only two other people. For comparison, wedding cake takes her four to five hours.  

And what sort of kitchen would it be without tasting what you’re making. Christine says that’s unavoidable even if what you’re building isn’t meant to be eaten. Of course...that won’t stop little kids from making an attempt.

The scariest part is moving the structure out into the lobby of the hotel.

“It could fall down,” she says. “The lights could not work. The base could...It would be more of it seriously falling apart, but I think the construction’s pretty strong.”

The fully assembled building will be unveiled tomorrow, at the St. Regis.