Yorkshire Parkin

As soon as the clocks go back at the end of October is when I begin to think about my baking for Hallowe’en and for Bonfire Night.  I grew up in a village just outside Nottingham and enjoyed Bonfire Night celebrations at the Junior School where the giant bonfire would have the Guy on it.  One year my old rickety pushchair was used to wheel the Guy around for a competition before it got chucked on the fire.  The firework display was always phenomenal, great care and planning had gone into it and it was a real highlight of the village year. I would love to know now what sort of Bonfire Night celebrations go on now or whether they have been banned due to Health and Safety or Insurance regulations.

Being obsessed with food, I can also remember the food stalls set up on the Junior school playground.  One of my favourites was mushy peas with mint sauce, there was also jacket potatoes and loads of crunchy but sticky toffee apples as well as Bonfire Toffee.  I can’t remember if there were cakes or biscuits, but I do remember hot dogs!

It wasn’t until I moved up to Yorkshire that I discovered Parkin.  I have lived in Yorkshire for 20 years now, but it wasn’t until about 17 years ago when I taught in the Castleford and Pontefract area when I found out about Parkin.  I was talking with my then work colleague about Bonfire Night activities we could do with the children (we both taught Reception and Y1 classes and did our planning together). My colleague knew that I loved baking and hands -on activities and said to me “Why don’t you make Parkin?”  I didn’t know what she meant, it sounded so funny, like parking the car!  She had to explain to me that it was a traditional type of gingerbread served in Yorkshire around Bonfire night.  I borrowed a recipe from her and my love affair with Parkin started there with the group of six five year olds baking it for the whole class to share.

Since then I have baked Parkin regularly for customers, to enjoy at home and also with children.  I ran an After School Cookery Club for three years in my current school where I work and we made Parkin near Bonfire Night.  Several of the children mentioned to me that Parkin was one of their favourite recipes that they had baked.

My version of Parkin is adapted from a Farmhouse Cookery book that my Nana gave to me, she had ordered it from Reader’s Digest for herself.  I add chopped stem ginger to the recipe to give it an extra something and always bake it about 5-7 days before required to allow the flavours to develop.  I also keep the Parkin wrapped in baking parchment inside the tin.  It tastes so much stickier as well, which is what I love about it.

Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

Yorkshire Parkin- spicy, sticky and just so delicious, you can’t stop at  one piece!
Well I can’t anyway, because I’m so greedy!

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