Ginger tray bake with toasted almonds
Our junior and senior school shared the same building and I couldn’t wait to start cookery classes. Every time I passed the door of Mrs. Henstridge’s room I was envious of the girls inside. Dressed in a gingham apron that they had made in sewing class, I felt that they were so lucky to spend a double lesson baking. I cooked with my Grandmother from as early as I can remember, loving every moment. But I idealised those senior girls with their baskets full of ingredients walking into school.
My first term of ‘home economics’ must have commenced from the age of 11. At that time it was purely cookery and learning about where and how our food was produced.
Sadly the excitement of our first practical lesson was a complete anti-climax. I was utterly disappointed that we had to make toast dissolved as I stood in utter disgust beside the eye level grill watching a slice of bread brown!
Looking back I feel quite sorry for my teacher, from the outset, it was a battle of wills between us. As the term progressed we were encouraged to experiment with various baking recipes. Mrs Henstridge shared a recipe for Cobourg cakes. Individual spiced buns made by the melting method and one of my favourites.
I have recreated the school day recipe as a tray bake. Perfect for sharing beside a bonfire as we mark the foiled attempt by Guy Fawkes to murder the king and his parliament.
Transported easily in a tin, when you arrive at the party simply cut the gingerbread into generous slices and wrap in napkins to serve.
Makes 12 portions
150g (5oz) unsalted butter – cut into cubes
125g (4.5oz) soft brown sugar
200g (8 oz) golden syrup
200g (8 oz) treacle
50g (2 oz) stem ginger finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
250ml (10 fl oz) full fat milk
3 medium free range eggs – whisked together
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 25ml or (1 fl oz) warm water
300g (12oz) plain flour
100g (4oz) flaked almonds
Roasting tray approximately 18 cm x 32 cm lined with baking parchment
In a saucepan melt the butter, sugar and syrups together. Allow to cool slightly.
Measure the flour, spices and chopped stem ginger together.
Mix the eggs, milk and bicarbonate of soda solution together.
Add the liquid to the cooled syrup and butter then whisk the dry ingredients to the mix. Combine well ensuring no lumps remain.
Pour the batter into your prepared roasting tray and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
Bake for 25 – 35 minutes on the middle runner of the baking oven in your AGA. Or place your grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven use the cool shelf when you begin baking. For conventional ovens bake at 170 C or Gas Mark 3
The tray bake is cooked when it is risen and the almonds are gently toasted. A clean skewer should be clean if it is inserted into the gingerbread. Allow to cool in its tin on a cake rack before cutting in slices to serve.