For his day job, Eric Larson works for University Housing as head pastry chef. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the creation of every dessert that is served at the Ikenberry Dining Center. At the request of Chancellor Robert Jones, Larson took a break from these duties to construct a holiday scene complete with a gingerbread Altgeld Hall and Alma Mater statue. It was the focus of the Chancellor’s 2019 Holiday Video. You can watch the video here. Below, he has shared the recipe he used to make this iconic masterpiece.
Gingerbread Altgeld & Alma Mater Recipe
Gingerbread dough for building construction pieces (not the best for eating)
Chocolate was used to hold the gingerbread piece together, various colors of royal icing were used to decorate, isomalt was used for the windows, colored corn flake cereal was used for the leaves and powdered sugar was used for snow. The trees were made by dipping grape stems into melted chocolate.
Larson has been a pastry chef at Illinois for more than 24 years. His other pastry creations include fresh pastries baked daily for the Ikenberry Dining Center, a chocolate motorcycle placed atop a retirement cake, a gingerbread President’s House and many more.