A Bonfire Treat!
Sticky Yorkshire Ginger Parkin with Quince and Pomegranate Compote
I LOVE sticky ginger parkin, it’s one of my favourite treats at this time of the year, and is JUST perfect for Bonfire night along with treacle toffee aka Tom Trot toffee, tomato soup in cups, chilli, stews, soups and toffee apples…..my recipe is simple, an old family recipe that my grandmother used to make, but I have added an extra ginger kick with crystallised ginger, as I am a REAL ginger nut! I DO have another gingerbread recipe, which is larger, bolder and spicier than this one…..Dark Sticky Double Gingerbread…….and that particular recipe is definitely not a shy retiring kind of gingerbread, but is a very dark and sticky piece of culinary work!
But this year, I wanted to share my family parkin recipe, which is also a double ginger recipe, but has oatmeal added for a lovely added texture. And, as I am still heavily into quince, I’m trying to use them all up, I decided to elevate my Sticky Yorkshire Ginger Parkin to another culinary level and serve it with a divine little Quince and Pomegranate Compote.…..the quince compote with added pomegranate syrup, (courtesy of Atkins and Potts) is fragrant and musky with buttery undertones…..it’s quite simply divine! It’s the perfect accompaniment for the parkin, and I then heated the parkin up in the microwave for a few seconds before dolloping the compote over the top…..almost like a pudding, but in the afternoon with a cup of tea.
You can of course eat both of the recipes solo, the parkin can be served straight out of the tin, sticky and dark, on bonfire night, whilst the quince and pomegranate compote can be served with pancakes and ice cream.….or naked, as in straight out of the pan with crème fraîche or cream….
Parkin – let’s get historical for a moment:
Parkin or Perkin is a soft cake traditionally made of oatmeal and black treacle which originated in northern England. Often associated with Yorkshire, particularly the Leeds area, its precise origins are unclear, and it is very widespread and popular in other areas, such as Lancashire. Parkin is generally moist and even sometimes sticky. In Hull and East Yorkshire, it has a drier, more biscuit-like texture than in other areas. Parkin is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, the 5th of November.
The principal ingredients of a Yorkshire parkin are flour, oatmeal, black treacle (similar to molasses), fat (traditionally lard, but modern recipes use butter or margarine), brandy and ginger. While it is possible to find recipes that omit oatmeal or treacle, or even both, these are generally considered distinctive features of Yorkshire parkin, and it is hard to see what would distinguish it from any other gingerbread without them. Both were important constituents of the Northern, working-class diet in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so it is likely that parkin evolved in that period of the Industrial Revolution. However, Lancashire Parkin is baked using Golden Syrup and extra sugar. The secret of a good parkin is the texture.
One of the key features of parkin is that it retains its texture well and can be kept for a week or two in a sealed tin or box. In fact, connoisseurs often prefer to eat it slightly aged. Fresh parkin is frowned upon, but sometimes eaten as an accompaniment to a compote of tart fruit, like cooking apples or gooseberries. This would have made parkin particularly suitable as a working-class Sunday treat that could be eked out for packed meals on working days. The name is sometimes given as perkin, and it is often pronounced as such in the Midlands, even when the normal spelling is retained. Both Parkin and Perkin are diminutives of Peter. They are also common English family names and were used in the past as pet forms of the Christian name “Peter”.
I hope you enjoy my two Bonfire Treats. But, it’s time for me to leave now, I am off to make tea, cheese on toast by the fire! See you tomorrow, when I have a very special weekly meal plan to share with you……..Karen.
PS: The recipes for Sticky Yorkshire Ginger Parkin with Quince and Pomegranate Compote are below.
As I think this recipe showcases the VERY best of British baking and cooking, a traditional recipe of ginger parkin served with a compote of quince, that most Elizabethan of English fruits, I am entering this into the grand finale of The Best of British, hosted by Fiona and New World Appliances.