How to make proper Yorkshire Parkin
Yorkshire parkin - recipe from a Yorkshire woman
Wherever we are in the world, there are some home traditions that will always stay with us Yorkshire folk and parkin is one of them. You'll find that there are many recipes for parkin on the internet but this is the best. I suspect that it's similar to the recipe that my mum used to use.
Easy, delicious and evocative
Traditionally, parkin was made with thick black treacle but this is how we make it today. It's just how my mum used to make it and the recipe comes from 'Jac', a true Yorkshirewoman who now lives in New Zealand but like all of us, keeps our traditions alive - and especially our delicious local recipes.
Traditionally served on Bonfire Night
In November, when all English people seem to go a bit crazy and start lighting bonfires all over the countryside, parkin is an absolute essential. Once made store it in an airtight tin - it's actually better the day after cooking, if you can wait (I never can). Enjoy!
- 9 oz. flour
- 3 and a half oz. oatmeal
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 quarter teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 half teaspoon baking powder
- 5 oz.margarine
- 10 oz. Golden Syrup
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put a pan onto a low-medium heat and melt together the margarine and the syrup. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir often.
- Now add the flour, ginger, oatmeal and sugar. Stir well.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients.
- Grease a baking tin (use a little margarine), add the mixture and bake for one hour.
- When cooled, cut into squares. Store in an airtight tin. It will keep for a couple of weeks - not that it ever gets the opportunity!
If you can't buy this locally, never fear. It's available online which is the most convenient way to shop.
Although individual tins are available, we buy these two-packs. We use it on pancakes as well as for cooking.
Actually, I can just eat it by the spoonful directly from the tin.
Parkin or ginger cake?
I've told people in the past about parkin and sometimes they will ask 'oh, you mean ginger cake? We have that often' but I promise you that parkin isn't simply a cake flavoured with ginger. Parkin has a texture that I've never come across in any cake anywhere in the world and believe me, I've experimented. (All in the nature of research of course!)
I think that one of the reasons we are so very fond of this is because it tended to be a once a year treat. And it's true that any food that you eat only occasionally is going to be more of a treat than something you have every day.
So in our family (my dad was rather strict about desserts and cakes because of weight issues) it was definitely a bonfire night treat.
In those days,there would be a 'street' bonfire.There was little point in neighbours all going to the trouble of building their own individual fires, so the street would get together as a community and have just the one - the location rotating between neighbours.
This was a great idea. It was the kids who built the bonfires, scouring the neighbourhood for wood, the dads contributed the fireworks and the mums and grandmothers .... they provided the food.
This is excellent because in addition to baked potatoes, beans, sausages and bonfire toffee, it was almost guaranteed that every mum or gran (or even aunt) would provide parkin.
There would also,naturally, be crates of beer for the grown-ups, pop for the kids and thermos flasks full of hot coffee (often containing a nip of rum) which was usually reserved for the ladies.
It's curious really that the population of England would spend a cold November evening standing round a bonfire, eating, drinking and ooh-ing at fireworks.
But it was such fun. We looked forward to it - and prepared for it - for weeks.
Very occasionally, someone's mum would be persuaded, against all traditions and customs, to make parkin at some other time of the year. July for example, or March. Shock, horror. Word would spread like wildfire along the street - 'Jean's mum is making parkin!' And Jean's mum (or whichever lady) would find a rabble of children at her door, just drooling with anticipation at the thought.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson