Anikó Vargáné Orbán’s artistic craft life is all around of making and ornamenting the beautiful sweets. Besides the making these wonderful pieces of arts, she also teaches the preparation for the ones, who are interested in. Anikó makes and ornaments gingerbreads since 2007.
The sources of her unique motive set are the traditional Hungarian decorative motives. After years of studies and learning she improved and refined the motives she has met during the years. The striving for individuality, the delicate and precise workmanship are the main attributes of her works, which are make her style immediately recognizable.
You are also teaching the preparation and the ornamentation of gingerbreads. How difficult is to learn the basics, what is it takes to create a beautiful gingerbread?
I share my knowledge in classes with many since the spring of 2013, which are held in my workshop. It takes a lot of practice if you want to make a beautiful work, like with all the other handcraft activities. Of course having some handiness is not a disadvantage. Which is a very big advantage for the participants that they can avoid the experiments and the dead ends with the equipments, the recipes, the ingredients and the modes of preparations, they can shorten the time of experiments in these classes. It took years to learn for me, but my students can get the basics in 3 days, saving a lot of time and energy for themselves.
If it is Christmas, then it’s (another) time for gingerbread. What are you advises, how we should try if we want to prepare a cookie like this at home?
Although there are some people who are masters in the preparation of gingerbread, there is no need to be a master to try to prepare them. A housewife, but ever more the whole family together with the children can find the happiness in the preparation. It is not only a pleasant common activity, but the result is guaranteed delicious and heartwarming.
In the following, I share you a simple recipe, which can be prepared easily, and the gingerbread will be tasty and will be soft even when warm.
Simple Christmas gingerbread recipe
- – 1 kg flour
- – 0.5 kg fine powdered sugar
- – 6 eggs, 0.2 kg nectar
- – 18 cooking soda
- – 0.125 kg butter
- – lemon peel to taste, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, maybe anise, or 1 packet gingerbread seasoning
Mix the flour, the sugar and the cooking soda together using a sieve. Beat the eggs softly. Then add and work together manually the other ingredients. Before cooking, let it rest for a week in a cool place, under a hermetical cover. In this way, you can get the most beautiful cookies.
Knead the paste well before cooking. You can cut different shapes, whatever you like, from the thin pasta. Before cooking, grease the cookies with cooking cream, so their top will be shiny. Cook the gingerbreads in a convention oven on 165 – 175 °C, until they reach their desirable, beautiful golden brown color.
The ornamenting is made with icing, which is made of: 1 egg-white, 1 flat tablespoon of food starch, approx. 0.2-0.22 kg powdered sugar. Mix the sugar and the starch with a sieve. Add the ¾ of that to the egg-white, mix them, but do not make foam. Add the starch-sugar mix to the egg-mix bit by bit, until the mixture flows down from the eggbeater, but can be torn apart hardly.
Before the icing (írókázás in Hungarian) it is practical to keep the gingerbreads in the room for a few days, to let it acclimate to the air humidity of the room. This way you can avoid the detachment of the motives from the pasta.
More information (in Hungarian): http://www.mezeskalacsajandekok.hu/