Pechanga pastry chef shows how to re-create his massive gingerbread village on a very small scale

The massive gingerbread village on display this month at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula.
(Pechanga Resort Casino)

Chef Deden Putra’s huge project required 14 pastry chefs and 1,000 pounds of sugar


This holiday season, visitors to Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula can see a giant gingerbread village in the lobby.

The huge project, overseen by executive pastry chef Deden Putra, involved the work of 14 pastry cooks, who spent 120 hours over two weeks planning, baking and assembling the village. To get an idea of the scale of the village, it required 72 pounds of butter, 1,000 pounds of sugar, 170 pounds of flour, 370 pounds of chocolate, 27 gallons of egg whites and two gallons of peppermint flavoring.

Not everyone has a massive lobby in their home to display their own gingerbread creations, so Putra has downsized his recipe to an amount suitable for one gingerbread house. Here’s his recipe:

Deden Putra’s Gingerbread House

  • 14 ounces unsalted butter
  • 13 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 cups corn syrup
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 pounds, 10 ounces bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine unsalted butter, sugar, corn syrup and milk in a medium pot. Bring it to a boil over medium heat in a large saucepan.

In the meantime, sift together bread flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger and put it in the mixing bowl.

Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients on the lowest speed while pouring in the hot syrup mixture. Mix this until all ingredients are well combined and become a nice paste. No stand mixer? Use a wide wooden spoon and mix by hand thoroughly as you pour in the hot syrup.

This is your dough. Pour the dough on a greased or parchment paper-lined sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough cool down for a few hours in the refrigerator before use.

Roll out the cold dough to ¼-inch thick. You can now use cookie cutters to make cookie shapes or cut out the structure of a house. You’ll need two long sides and two short sides, then two long pieces for a roof.

Bake the gingerbread pieces on a greased or parchment paper-lined sheet pan for about 15 to 25 minutes, or until you have a nice dark brown in color. Check gingerbread at the 15-minute mark. Let the pieces cool down for a couple of hours (or, if possible, overnight) at room temperature.

Make a royal icing by mixing powdered sugar and egg whites with a little lemon juice to assemble the pieces and decorate the gingerbread house. Decorate with candy to your liking.