Irish Daily Mail - YOU

Gingerbrea­d & black treacle parkin


I’ve kept a couple of my old home economics books from school and still use them to this day. The majority of pudding recipes in the books are tempting but heavy, dense and full of dried fruit. One classic Northern English treat is parkin: a rich dense gingerbrea­d cake made with treacle and oats. It’s highly satisfying in all the right ways. MAKES 9 LARGE OR 16 SMALL SQUARES 100g black treacle 150g golden syrup 180g butter (I use salted) 70g soft light brown sugar 85g oatmeal (or just use regular porridge oats that have been blitzed to a fine powder) 220g self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder 2 tbsp ground ginger 3 tbsp whole milk or buttermilk 1 medium egg EQUIPMENT 20cm square loose-bottomed cake tin 1 Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and line the cake tin with baking parchment. I make sure there is some extra hanging over the edges – this makes it easier to pull out the cake when it is baked. 2 Put the treacle and the golden syrup in a pan, then add the butter and sugar. Put the pan on a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasional­ly, and then set aside. 3 Put the oatmeal in a large bowl with the flour, baking powder and ginger, then add the treacle mixture and mix with a spatula. Tip in the milk or buttermilk with the egg and mix again until evenly combined. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 4 Once cooked, remove the parkin from the oven and leave to cool. Cut the cooled parkin into 9 or 16 equal-sized squares and serve. TIP I find it helpful to use electronic scales to weigh out treacle or golden syrup. To measure, put your pan on the scales, set the scales to zero and then pour, for example, 100g directly into the pan. Stop pouring just before the digital read-out says 100g, as it takes a little time for the flow to stop. Alternativ­ely, use a warmed metal spoon to measure it out – the warmth helps the treacle or syrup to slide off the spoon more easily.

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