Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Grasmere gingerbread

While out shopping on Saturday with my son we did a spot of Christmas shopping.  WHSmiths had 2 books for £10.  I had bought one book for £9.99 as a gift so seemed only fair I got another book for me at the lovely price of one penny so I chose this>>>>> one <<<<< National trust complete country cookbook. It's jam packed full of good solid decent food, that although isn't always grandly fancy, will please whoever you feed this food to. Straightforward no nonsense but delightful food.

On Sunday I decided to try out 2 recipes, this one and a duck recipe. Both came out wonderful especially for first attempts. This however is simplicity itself even the kids could help with it and it would still come out OK,

This made loads, It says serves 16 but I used a greased Swiss roll tin and cut it in smaller bars as very rich I thought

Started off with
225g butter plus extra for greasing
450g plain flour
225g light brown sugar (I had light muscavado worked well)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon golden syrup
granulated sugar for sprinkling 

preheat oven to 150/300/gas mark 2 and butter a tin that has at least a cm worth of height

first step is to cube the butter up and rub into the flour as if you are making a crumble, when it looks like sandy clumps then add in all the dry ingredients apart from the granulated sugar and mix together between fingers and rub together more.  Just a big bowl of crumbly not quite clumping together mass it is.  Add in your tablespoon of golden syrup and mix around again.  It's really good hands on recipe for the kids if you have one you need to amuse.  

Now fill your tin and press down firmly to an even height of 1 cm.  Great fun pressing this in.  The gingerbread is in no way resembling a dough so just pack it in firmly  I then place mine in centre of oven. Now the only thing that slightly annoyed me was the instructions said bake until golden brown.  Bit hard to know as it is fairly golden mixture.  But I left mine in around 25 minutes I think it was and it was just darkening more around the edges and house had filled with a gorgeous smell :o) It was still however quite soft to the touch but  a little puffy.  So I pulled it out the oven and sprinkled it with the granulated sugar and it looked great 

It had to be left for 15 minutes to firm up and then cut while still in the tin. I left it another 10 minutes then put them all on a cooling rack to finish cooling. While sampling a still warm one. Although still a little fragile at this stage.  

Having never had this type of gingerbread before I wasn't sure what the texture was supposed to be like and asked a few people and looked it up online. Thought I had done something wrong.  The gingerbread had a slightly chewy almost fudgy texture and is the perfect balance between like a shortbread and cake if you ask me. 

I also have started to buy my dried herbs and spices at the newly opened wholefood shop in my village and the difference between the fresher spices there and store bought really does make the difference from nice to bursting with flavour, very much so with the ground ginger I bought last week in this recipe.  World of difference so check your spices aren't losing their taste and brightness folks