Whether you are at home with Dad or able to make your fist visit since lock down, there’s bound to be a moment when everyone will want to enjoy a pot of tea together in the garden. A tray of homemade ginger biscuits, served warm from the oven, will tempt everyone. Or if you’d rather a slice of sticky gingerbread served alongside a generous spoonful of thick West Country cream will definitely hit the spot.
The biscuit mix can be made ahead of time and frozen ready to bake, whilst the traditional gingerbread actually improves with keeping in the cake tin for a few days to mature. So make one now and a second to leave with Dad for the coming week.
For my recipes, in memory of my dear Dad and Grandfather, you will need…
To make approximately 16 biscuits, you will need:
200 g self-raising flour 100 g unsalted butter – cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon finely ground sea salt 100 g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoon ground ginger 2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 teaspoon mixed spice 2 baking sheets lined with parchment
Preheat your conventional oven to 175 C or Gas Mark 3
Place the golden syrup tin in your AGA simmering oven to warm. This makes it easier to measure the contents OR place the tin in a bowl of warm water.
Put the flour, salt and spices in a bowl and add the butter. Using your fingertips rub this together to form a mix similar to breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix well.
Next add the warmed syrup and bring the mixture together so that it forms a soft dough.
Using a piece of parchment, roll the dough into a sausage shape, wrap the mixture well and chill for ten minutes. Or simply divide the dough into small balls and flatten these on to a sheet of baking parchment ready to cook.
If you have chilled the dough, remove from the ‘fridge and cut into discs about 0.5 cm diameter. Place on the baking trays and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until they are dark, golden brown. Gently transfer to cool on a wire rack and then store in a tin when completely cold.
To bake in the AGA
2-oven AGA: slide the grid shelf to the floor of the roasting oven and place the biscuits on the baking tray above. Remember to slide the cold, plain shelf over the top whilst cooking. Set the timer for ten minutes and check. You may need to turn the tray around so that the biscuits bake evenly.
3, 4-oven AGA: slide the baking tray onto the fourth runner from the top and check the biscuits after 12 minutes.
For one cake to make 6-8 servings, you will need:
20 cm square tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment
100 g unsalted butter 100 g self-raising flour
200 g golden syrup 100 g wholemeal flour
75 g golden caster sugar 1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon marmalade 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
150 ml whole milk ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 free range eggs beaten together
25 g finely chopped candied stem ginger OR 2 fresh pears peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 150 C or Gas Mark 3
Measure the butter, syrup, sugar and marmalade into a heavy based saucepan. Place this over a low heat on your conventional hob, stirring all the time. Or put the pan in the AGA simmering oven and gently melt everything together checking that the sugar has completely dissolved and no grains remain. Leave to cool down whilst you prepare your baking tin and sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Beat the eggs and milk together, then the liquid to the melted mixture and stir to combine.
Slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and beat well so that no lumps remain. Add pear or candied ginger if you like. Mix well.
Pour the cake batter into the baking tin and cook for 45-60 minutes on the middle shelf in a conventional oven.
To cook in the AGA
2-oven AGA: use a round tin instead of square and bake in the roasting oven using your AGA cake baker in the normal way.
3, 4-oven AGA: slide the grid shelf on to the fourth runner of the baking oven and check the plain, cold shelf is ready for use before you prepare the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes and then check and slide the plain shelf over the gingerbread and check again after another 10-15 minutes.
The gingerbread is cooked when it is risen well, dark golden brown and an inserted clean skewer is cleanly removed. Place the tin on a cooling rack and remove the cake when cool.
As soon as it is completely cold, store in an airtight tin in a cool dark place or larder.
Eat within ten days or freeze and store for up to three months.
Try sitting the syrup tin in a bowl half full with hot water to make it easier to pour and measure or place it in the AGA simmering oven whilst you weigh all of the other ingredients.
Take time to sift all of the dry ingredients together before mixing. This helps to maintain an even colour to the finished bake.
Take care that the melted butter and syrup mixture is cool before adding the milk and beaten eggs, otherwise the eggs will scramble!
Pot into sterilized jars and label when cool.
For every 450 g (1 lb) sugar, this recipe should make 750 g (1 lb 6 oz) fruit preserve or ‘cheese’.
This recipes is equally as delicious with greengages and cooking plums.