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Bredenbeck’s enters gingerbread prison contest

Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill has created a gingerbread version of Philadelphia’s historic Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s one of two edible E.S.P. models that visitors can vote for through Monday.

Diane Anello of Bredenbeck’s created four cells in the traditionally festive gingerbread house style – fully furnished with rice crispy treats for footlockers, gumdrops for toilets and broken candy canes for bars.

“I’ve always been fascinated by shadowboxes — you look in and seeing what’s beyond the plate of glass. I’m totally guilty of that. There’s my art degree at work.”

But that’s not how Chad Durkin sees it. He sees Eastern State Penitentiary as a cold and bleak place. The temperature of the stone cells inside the historic landmark can hover at ten-below-zero. That’s how the Durkin the master baker at Desserts International in Exton fashioned his gingerbread prison. It features the entire floor plan — the whole centralized hub-with-spokes design — airbrushed it a drab gray and capped it with thick snowy icing.

“I try to make them architectural structures as realistic as I can,” says Durkin, who makes customized gingerbread buildings for hotels and corporations. “It’s semi-cartoonish, and also very realistic. It’s a penitentiary, I wanted to get that eerie feel without getting too creepy.”

Eastern State Penitentiary is located at  22nd & Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130. (215) 236-3300

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