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MEET THE BAKER: ANNE-SOPHIE

By Bake Club

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Anne-Sophie is the baker behind the delightful red and white gingerbread house in this issue – the hands in the video are hers! Anne-Sophie, winner of Le Meilleur Patissier (which is the French equivalent to the Great British Bake Off) in 2014, recently filmed a special episode. Past contestants came together for a Christmas Special, which sees Anne-Sophie create another beautifully crafted gingerbread house.

Anne-Sophie has been making gingerbread since she was a child. She remembers baking it in the shape of St Nicholas for Christmas Day with her grandmother, and has enjoyed working with gingerbread ever since. We spoke to her about going back on the show and what she enjoys most about creating the wonderful little houses.

What was it like filming for Le Meilleur Patissier again? Did it feel different to last year?

It was great to go back to the tent as a candidate. There was less at stake than last year but at the same time there was the pressure to know that the other candidates were all the winners of their seasons.

Did you choose to work with gingerbread or was it a set challenge?

The challenge was to create a Christmas fairy-like decor in biscuits. I opted for gingerbread because it is a tradition in my family to do it for Christmas and because I think it is the best biscuit base to build a decor. 

What’s your favourite thing about working with gingerbread? Apart from houses, what other things do you like to bake using gingerbread?

I love the smell and taste of gingerbread, it reminds me of Christmas! It is very nice to work with as you can create strong pieces that are at the same time delicious. It is perfect to make Christmas tree decorations for example. I also used it to build a huge Big Ben for my first season at Le Meilleur Patissier, and it was one of my main successes.

You’ve created a gingerbread house for Bake Club and for Le Meilleur Patissier, where do you get inspiration for your gingerbread house designs? Which house was the most challenging?

For Le Meilleur Patissier what was very hard is that you know that you won't have much time to decorate but decorating is my favorite part. For the Bake Club one, I wanted to create a theme around the red Christmas colour and to use different sweets. It was a bit long to make as I love to be precise when decorating but I enjoyed every minute of it!

Are there any differences between French gingerbread recipes and British ones? 

In the UK almost every recipe use Golden Syrup which give a very nice flavor, I use it to build strong structures. In the French ones, we only use honey (no butter and no eggs), which gives a very nice texture; I use it for decorative biscuits.

What do you think makes gingerbread so popular during winter and Christmas?

Gingerbread has the taste of Christmas and of childhood. The blend of spices always make us feel comforted and in a cosy and warm atmosphere.

Anne-Sophie’s professional tip:

If you feel that your gingerbread spice blend isn’t strong enough, you can enhance the flavor by quickly roasting the spices in a warm frying pan before using it in the dough.

Share with us your gingerbread creations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

The Christmas Special airs on Wednesday 9th December but will be available to replay the day after. It will be in French, but you can still connect to the website from the UK to watch it: LE MEILLEUR PÂTISSIER.

Photo credit: © Pascalito/ M6