Hey kid, sweet gingerbread house! I'm sure you're super proud of that, what with all the gumdrops and icing and skittles on the roof. I'd sure hate to ruin your Christmas, Kanye-style. But I've gotta, because kid, "Imma let you finish, but Andrea Meyer has made one of the best gingerbread creations of all time!"
What I'm trying to say is this: All of the gingerbread houses, mansions, apartment complexes and villages you've seen in your entire life will probably look like gingerbread porta-potties after you see the towering, glittering specimen of fresh-baked glory that is the Eiffel Tower Meyer has built with her team at Bisous Bisous Patisserie. Once I caught a glimpse I had to know more, so I asked chef Meyer a few choice questions.
Holy holiday hamstack, Andrea! What was your inspiration to construct such a structure?
My classmate Catherine Balken (formerly of Bouchon Bakery) and I constructed Notre Dame when we were in culinary school and then perfected it when we were both at Bouchon Bakery in California. I knew I wanted to do a big showpiece for the first Christmas in the shop, and while Notre Dame is my favorite landmark in Paris, I didn't want to do it again. The Eiffel Tower was the obvious best new challenge. It really is a great opportunity for the team to work on a unique project — one none of them had done in the past. And lucky for us, Catherine planned to visit after Thanksgiving so she was here once again to work on the project with me and the team.
What is the tower made of? I want numbers!
The tower is made of just over 100 individual pieces of hand-carved structural gingerbread and royal icing with fondant decorations. It also has custom-wired spot and tape lights illuminating it in the window.
How long did it take to make it?
We started cutting out the pieces the week after Halloween, and the team worked on it in their off hours for over five weeks. The intricate base pieces took over four hours each to cut out, and we had to do four of them!
Let's get real, because we are taking about real gingerbread here. How hard was it to not eat it?
This is actually the easiest part of the project. While it is absolutely edible, to make it stronger and hold its own weight we used more flour. it isn't extremely appetizing.
Can I eat it? Kidding! Kind of...
Oh goodness no! Please let me make you a cookie instead!
Is chocolate the new butter? In other words, will you or will you not be working on a butter sculpture for next year's State Fair now that you know you can accomplish an incredible feat like this?
No, I don't think you'll see me sculpting any butter any time soon. I prefer to put the butter into all the delicious things instead.
And speaking of all of those butter-filled, delicious things, you can score some of those, like French macarons, tarts, éclairs, croissants, "cruffins" (that's a cross between a croissant and a muffin) and cakes, plus special holiday treats like classic Bûche de Noël cakes; seasonal dark chocolate peppermint, apple hazelnut and pecan pumpkin mousse tarts; seasonal macarons in peppermint, eggnog, chocolate mint and gingerbread flavors; cranberry apple Cruffins; and custom shortbread cookies at Bisous Bisous for all your holiday/adulting needs.
Bisous Bisous Patisserie is located at 3700 McKinney Ave., Suite No. 150.
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