Delia’s Yorkshire Parkin for Best of British
I had to put my thinking cap on a bit for the Best of British challenge this month, which comes from Yorkshire. Yes, I know how to make Yorkshire puddings and yes I really like them…but, I like them best with roast beef and roast potatoes on a cold winter’s day. I’d heard of Yorkshire Parkin but never actually tried making it before, so I googled and found a few recipes online and became a little intrigued. Could this be the perfect bake for a small household or for someone who is trying to lose weight? It involves black treacle and golden syrup, oatmeal and ginger, all mixed up together. But, the unusual thing about Parkin, which is a kind of oaty gingerbread cake, is that you are supposed to let it mature for a week or two. Apparently (and mine is only a day old at the moment), it becomes moister and stickier as it ages. It seems to be working because the ‘sample’ I ate with coffee this morning was definitely stickier than yesterday’s trial piece. All of this, you understand, is in the interest of research and has nothing to do with the fact that Yorkshire Parkin is rather good even when it is straight out of the oven.
Making it did remind me of one of my mum’s baking disasters. Just after rationing finished (about 1955) my mum offered to make my dad his favourite dessert, Treacle Pudding. Now, remember that until this point, sugar, eggs and margarine had been rationed…so, I doubt mum had ever seen this recipe made by her own mother. The book asked for half a gill of golden syrup and my mother in her slightly ditzy fashion got a bit confused between a quart (two pints) and a gill (an eighth of a pint). If you do the maths, you will spot that my mum’s version of the pudding for two had a pint of golden syrup…apparently, it was quite sticky!
I followed Delia Smith’s recipe pretty much to the letter though I didn’t use black treacle, I reduced the sugar content overall and added a little bit of crystallised ginger.
- 275 g Golden Syrup
- 120 g Unsalted butter
- 120 g Dark brown soft sugar
- 225 g Oatmeal
- 125 g Self Raising Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
- 2 Pieces Crystallised Ginger, chopped finely
- Pinch Salt
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Milk
Pre-heat the oven to 140C. Delia recommends weighing your saucepan and then weighing the syrup into the pan. Remember to have weighed your butter first if you are using this method;)
Put the syrup, butter and sugar into a heavy-based pan and heat gently till the butter is melted and the sugar starts to dissolve
Measure the oatmeal, flour and dried ginger into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the crystallised ginger to the syrup mixture then stir that through the oatmeal mixture. You can use a stand mixer for this on a low setting.
Add in the beaten egg and then the milk and mix until everything is combined.
Line your tin with silicone or baking paper and pour in the mixture carefully.
Bake for an hour and a half. When the Parkin starts to darken in colour, remove it from the oven but allow the mix to cool in the tin for 30 minutes.
Turn out and leave to cool completely before cutting into thick slices and storing in an airtight tin. It needs to mature for around a week to reach its full 'stickiness'
The only adjustment to the cooking method I made was that I mixed the whole thing in my stand mixer, so I decided I could risk adding all the treacle butter and sugar in one gloopy go.
Bake the Parkin in a very low oven for an hour and a half…after which time, you have to try to be patient and let the mixture cool before you take it out of the tin.
My recommendation (and not what I did this time), is that the base of the tin at least needs lining with greased baking parchment. Delia talked about an ’8 inch (20 cm) square cake tin, lightly greased.’ But the updated recipe and new photo of her Parkin is actually a lined tin. I did get my Parkin out without too many tears, but I had to cut it in the tin, which risks damaging the base of the tin…so, next time I will line first!
Thinking of making my Yorkshire Parkin yourself at home? It’s a delicious, frugal bake that keeps well and improves with age.
Best of British is a monthly challenge that takes us around the UK cooking local recipes. Check out my recipe for Norfolk Treacle Tart for more inspiration.