© David Loftus
The best gingerbread I’ve ever eaten in my life is from a shop in Grasmere, in England’s Lake District, that I visited some years ago. They use a secret recipe which is about 150 years old and, of course, they wouldn’t let me in onit,soIdecidedtohaveagoatmyown...andit’snothalfbad–infact, this will be some of the best gingerbread you’ll ever eat! So, here we go. Don’t forget, you can eat this simply as a cookie, but it also works well sprinkled over ice cream or dipped into warm compote and cream for afternoon tea. And it’s especially nice when used as a cheesecake base.
If you’re making your own shortbread, make it first. Then preheat the oven to 325°F and find a baking pan about 8x14 inches. Put the shortbread, sugar and 2 teaspoons of the ground ginger in a food processor and whiz until you have crumbs. Remove 31⁄2oz of the mix and keep this to one side. Add the remaining teaspoon of ginger to the processor, along with the mixed peel, crystallized ginger, flour and baking powder, and pulse until well mixed.
Melt the syrup, molasses and butter together in a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients. When melted, add the mixture from the food processor and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is thoroughly mixed together. Tip into the baking pan and spread out evenly. Press the mixture down into the tray, using your fingers or something flat and clean like a potato masher or a spatula. When the mix is a flat, dense and even layer, pop the tray in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle the hot gingerbread with the reserved crumbs, pressing them down really well with a potato masher or spatula. Carefully cut into good-sized pieces with a sharp knife, and leave to cool in the pan before eating.
• 1 x shortbread recipe or 14oz shop- bought shortbread
• 6oz plantation or raw sugar
• 3 level teaspoons ground ginger
• 11⁄2oz mixed peel, chopped (1⁄3 cup)
• 11⁄2 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
• 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour a pinch of baking powder
• 2 tablespoons golden syrup
• 2 tablespoons treacle 5 tablespoons unsalted