Grasmere Gingerbread

Gingerbread is a bit a of a family thing, or a northern thing, or both. When I started going through the recipe book I found four different recipes, all with different permutations of ingredients, and different names. Having tried “actual” Grasmere Gingerbread when away seeing an eccentric branch of the family, I figured we’d give this one a try.  Said actual Grasmere Gingerbread comes from a family firm in Grasmere: –ginger1 which dates back to the 1850s. I’ve no idea if my recipe has any relation to it, but figured it would be worth a try.

The recipe is as follows:

  • 1/2 lb flour
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 1/4 lb moist sugar
  • 1 level desert spoon of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • a small amount of finely chopped mixed peel

ginger2As you can see, basically no instructions, similar to pretty much everything in said recipe book. I suspect it’s assumed that you’d just know. So I just guessed… Here goes.

I measured out the ingredients, except some cream of tartar that I simply didn’t have in the cupboard, and I substituted the mixed peel for crystallised ginger (again, a cupboard inadequacy).ginger3

At a best guess, I rubbed the ingredients together, like a rubbed in recipe, this was tricky as the sugar formed into lumps and took some considerable breaking down. Once it started to squash into lumps, I pressed it into a greased baking tray and  pre cut some lines it the dough. Also thinking, this would be awesome mixed in with ice cream.  I made a very ad hoc guess at baking temperature (about 180oC) ginger4and for about 10 minutes or so, waiting until the top had dried and the mix sort of heaved a bit in the heat. It was fragile and too hot to handle, but improved once it cooled and could be easily prized out of baking tray. ginger5

The gingerbread looked pretty good, albeit not as hard as the original, and
tastes nice and strong. Annoyingly the sugar lumps that I couldn’t quite rub in persisted and melted into the dough. Further research has shown that an improvement on the method would be to melt the butter into the mix, that’d help break up the sugar, this rather canny blog gave some hints.  

Preparation Time

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minute (I think?)


7/10 (husband); 7/10 (mine)

Calories (approx) per portion

If made into 10 biscuits (ish), each one is 187 calories

Likelihood of it being made again

Quite likely, most likely with some improvements to the method