‘Twas the day before Christmas Eve, and all through the house harsh words can be heard as a lone baker struggled with the impossible task of keeping cool during a searing 36 degrees Sydney summer day. The baker realised, that much to her dismay that there was a reason why ginger bread dough needed to rest in the fridge prior to shaping. Wrestling with a warm dough pregnant with 185 grams of butter was rather like wrestling with a melting eel; slippery and impossible.
Nevertheless, a promise was made that a tardis will be delivered come Christmas Lunch. Sighing the baker continues on.
Rather dramatic to be sure, but this situation did happen and it all started when I posted a link to an article on geeky ginger bread houses on facebook. Seeing the post my sister’s boyfriend commented “So you’re bringing one of these for Xmas lunch, right?”. A split second of sanity did pass by, before I posted back “Challenge accepted, I’m bringing a ginger bread tardis for Christmas lunch.”
Now I had until that point never baked a gingerbread in my life. The driving force for this rather barmy challenge was the realisation that it had been a long time since I pushed past that mental boundary of “I don’t know how to do this” to “I know I can do this” .
So first thing first, I googled for a gingerbread recipe and found this little gem from taste.com.au. I like that the recipe specified golden syrup rather than honey, and I happen to have a tin sitting on my pantry shelf.
Shaping the tardis was a bit tricky, thankfully the awesome domesticsluttery posted a tardis template a month ago and I borrowed their dimension to build my version of the tardis. I thought of painting the tardis blue, but rejected the idea and decided to go with a more traditional ginger bread look.
The dough was made and left overnight to rest in the fridge. The next day I rolled the dough. Unfortunately I soon realised I only have half the amount of dough required to build a double layered tardis. So I decided to do a single layer instead and pipe the boxes later.
Taste also recommended rolling the dough between two baking paper, TERRIBLE IDEA in hindsight. You’re better off with a rolling pin and some flour as the baking paper made awful creases and became very slippery from the buttery dough. It would also have been incredibly smart to print the templates on overhead plastic sheets rather than paper, as dough and paper sticks together the moment they touched.
Regardless, I kept going until I have all the required pieces to form into a tardis, flat packed Ikea style for the transit to my parents’ place to ready be built and cemented together with icing sugar.
At this point I like to point out I’ve never piped anything in my life, so figuring out how to cement together a tardis with icing sugar was another new experience with plenty of heart palpitations with each smudge . Yet at the end, a rather rustic did tardis emerged amongst a small hill of broken gingerbread.
Admiring the imperfect masterpiece and nibbling on the tasty broken bits, I mused on the novel experience of being to try things for the hell of things without expecting perfection straight out of the oven. It made me realise three things to strive to achieve for next year:
1. Seize the opportunity to do something new and challenge yourself
2. Don’t expect a masterpiece, perfection comes from practice
3. Enjoy the experience, learning something new and being able to apply it is what’s living all about
So with that in mind and New Year being very near, I’m hopeful that there will be many more moments like this.