Medieval Spiced Gingerbread

First published Nov 2015 on The History Girls

Gingerbread was one of my first introductions to the medieval era. Early gingerbread delicacies were made from breadcrumbs (hence the name), honey and some spices, though not necessarily ginger. The ingredients would be boiled and then poured/pressed into elaborate moulds dusted with even more spices. These moulds were often carved in the image of the monarch of the time – and so the gingerbread man was born. By the early 1600’s chefs had also added red wine, brandy and sugar. This in turn evolved into the cakes and biscuits eaten today, though the flavour has become rather subdued over the centuries. Here I combine some of the original spice mixes of early Medieval cookery with the easier baking techniques of the 21st century to produce this mouth puckering gingerbread for the child in all of us.

Giant Gingerbread Man

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • half tsp cinnamon
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 tbsp milk

 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 160C
  • Using baking parchment, draw a template of a large gingerbread man. He wants to be about 31cm high.
  • Warm the sugar, syrup and fat in a pan. Weigh out the flour, add the spices and pour in the melted ingredients. Add the milk.
  • Bring together into a soft dough and knead gently. Roll out to about an inch thick.
  • Using your template and a knife, draw the outline of a giant gingerbread man onto the dough. Make sure he is cut out properly and place on a non stick baking tray.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool slightly before placing on the cooling rack.
  • Decorate and wrap how you please!

 

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