Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Practically Perfect...

...in every way

Practically perfect

That's my forte...

Or so Mary Poppins tells us. I like to hold on to my vague delusions that split ends, broken fingernails and eminently unsensible shoes aside I can channel that uncanny Nanny with the best of them. Apparently, I'm "frightfully" good at this when nervous at American stage doors. However, my ability to divest myself of my Essex accent and acquire received pronounciation the Queen herself would be proud of is not the purpose of todays blog. Parkin is. Practically Perfect Parkin infact.

The weather outside is bitter but clear and the fireworks are in full force. It's Guy Fawkes night tomorrow, and as at the weekend we're off to see a potentially fabulous fireworks display I decided last week to have a trial run of cake to take with me. Thinking about the final destination of said cake I decided that I wanted to bake something dense, sticky and spicy. I was torn between my Mum's gingerbread and trying something new; parkin. With a blog post in mind I chose parkin and trawled my cookery books for a recipe, but nothing caught my eye. I remembered that Jules over at Domestic Goddess in Training: Piles of Parkin had made some recently, and decided to take my inspiration from her recipe (also borrowed from A pot of tea and a biscuit).

125 g butter (if using unsalted butter add 1 tsp salt)

125 g golden syrup

125 g black treacle

125 g golden caster sugar

250 g plain flour

250 g medium oatmeal

4 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, beaten

1) Preheat oven to 150°C/Gas 2/300°F and line a 10x10 baking pan. Gently heat the butter, golden syrup, treacle and sugar in a pan, stirring constantly until all the sugar is dissolved.

2) In a bowl sift together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt (if using), ginger and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter mixture, beat until everything is combined.

3) When combined add the egg and mix until you have a smooth soft batter. If the batter seems to be stiff add 1tbsp of milk

4) Pour into the tin and bake 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool before removing and cut into squares

Coming out of the oven the parkin looked and smelled fantastic, but when I cut into it I was dissapointed at how bready it seemed. I had read up on parkin and knew that this could be the case with it, but was prepared with my tin to store it and wait for it to get moister (is that even a word?)

Yep so that was Friday, today is Tuesday and the bloody stuff is still dry. I've tried popping an apple in the tin, everything. I mean don't get me wrong, it's edible. There may only be one piece left it's clearly that edible (especially when eaten the Lancashire way, with butter and cheese - or so my colleague tells me), but it's still annoyingly dry if not accompanied by a mug of good, strong tea, so of course it would have been shockingly rude not to eat it that way(!)

Remember the pastry? How I refused to give up? Well it's not a one off on the tenacity front it would seem. Last night, despite not getting in from work till late, I rolled up my sleeves, donned my pinny and attempted a second batch. Having taken advice from my usual source of inspiration, the good ladies at the f&d forums at handbag, I decided to up the amount of golden syrup by 50g, reduce the oatmeal by the same and add milk regardless. I also reduced the cooking time to 40 minutes (but I have an uber enthusiastic fan oven so I would judge that entirely by your own oven). I'll be honest I had visions of opening the door to parkin soup, even though the batter hadn't looked that different going in, but all was not lost. Because I'm a lazy bint I covered the cake and left it in the tin overnight, and at 6.30am this morning was to be found cutting cake and putting it in tupperware (this does not bode well for my hopes of not turning into my mother as I age). Oh did I mention, I was putting, spicy, sticky, utterly, perfect parkin in tupperware at 6.30am. Yes people... Practically Perfect Parkin has been achieved. *insert smug smile and a few more verses of Practically Perfect here*

Sadly, Parkin mark 2 has been so Pop-uhu-lar *tosses hair* I now need to make another batch for Saturday, for safetys sake (and for there to be a hope in hell of any of it making it to the fireworks display) I'll wait till Friday for that one.


Anonymous said...

Oh, you cow. Mine came out dry and bready too and I can't be bothered to attempt a second batch, it's too sticky and makes such a mess.

Jules said...

Ah, one of my favourite musicals. :D

Glad to hear the second batch went better.

hungryandfrozen said...

It sounds delicious...well, the second version :) I love oaty, golden syrup-y stuff, will have to give this a go sometime!

Dann said...

Like your blog!

Anonymous said...

Hello there!

Hope you're well and had a good Christmas. Happy new year!



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