Friday, February 25, 2011

Alison Holst's Gingerbread

I once posted a recipe for Fresh Gingerbread which I received from a friend in NZ and which she said was from Alison Holst (her mother said it was probably from a newspaper article). That recipe got so many hits that when I got the opportunity to visit this friend in NZ, I felt duty-bound to do some research into the real AH Gingerbread Recipe! I have uncovered two other recipes, one made with boiling water and one with milk, neither of them with fresh ginger. The first recipe posted below (calling for boiling water) is from Alison Holst's Kitchen Diary, Volume 7 from 1984. The second recipe (calling for milk) is from The Best of Alison Holst.

I have tried the gingerbread made with boiling water (the first one below), and I have to say that, while it tasted fine, I probably would not make it again. I much prefer the fresh gingerbread recipe.

Gingerbread Made with Boiling Water
This gingerbread recipe is light in colour. I think it is best cooked in a fairly large, square tin.  I use a 23 cm square aluminum tin, with fairly low sides--the sort I use for a shortcake. In a tin this size the gingerbread will finish up about 2 cm deep.

100g butter
1/2 cp (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cp boiling water
1/2 cp golden syrup
2 eggs
2 cp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut the butter into small squares and put it into a large bowl with the brown sugar. Pour the boiling water over it (to melt the butter) then measure the syrup with the same hot wet measure. Add the eggs and beat the mixture with a rotary egg beater until the last of the pieces of butter have dispersed and the egg is mixed thoroughly.
Sieve or sift the dry ingredients into this, and give a very brief "burst" with the beater again to combine the liquid and dry ingredients. (The flour should be measured lightly into the measuring cup, not compressed.)
Pour the fairly thin mixture into a 23 cm square tin lined along the bottom and two sides with a folded strip of grease-proof paper.
Bake in an oven preheated to 200C, turned down to 180C when the gingerbread is put in.
Cook until centre springs back when pressed, and until a toothpick comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
Invert on to a cake cooking rack after five minutes.

Gingerbread Made with Milk
Serve this gingerbread warm for dessert, cold as a cake on the day it is cooked, and after that, butter the slices. This recipe makes two loaves or 20-cm-square cakes. Freeze one of these if you like.
100 g butter
3/4 cp sugar
2 eggs
1 cp golden syrup
1 cp milk
3 cp flour
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Soften but do not melt the butter. In a large bowl, cream it with the sugar until light-coloured. Add the eggs and beat again. Warm the golden syrup just enough to make it runny. Remove from heat and stir in the milk. Sift or sieve the dry ingredients together several times.

Fold the syrup mixture and dry ingredients alternately into the butter mixture. Take care not to overmix. Fold together only until no more dry flour remains. Turn into two loaf pans or two 20-cm-square cake pans, or one of each size, each lined with a strip of baking paper. Bake at 150C, until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the gingerbread, about 30-40 minutes for the square pan, 40-45 minutes for the loaf pan.

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