Christmas Recipe: 17th century gingerbread biscuit

If you are missing Bake Off try to make this Christmas recipe for a 17th century gingerbread biscuit kindly donated by The Museum of London and Albion which have joined forces to create this yummy cookie commemorating 350 years since the Great Fire of London.

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People often have the misconception that food from around this time was dull and uninteresting however this isn’t the case at all. Spices were used to enhance flavour and many food items were beautifully decorated, including breads and cakes. Gingerbread was popular in 16th and 17th century London and even though there is no direct evidence, it was possibly made by Thomas Farriner in his infamous London bakery.

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Ingredients

Plain flour KG 0.170

Light brown sugar KG 0.035

Whole eggs KG 0.030

Unsalted butter KG 0.060

Bicarbonate of soda KG 0.001

Ground ginger KG 0.003

Ground cinnamon KG 0.001

Ground star anise KG 0.002

Golden syrup KG 0.040

Reduced red wine KG 0.010

Rose water KG 0.005

 

Method

·         Reduce the 300g red wine until it reaches 10g, cool down.
·         Weigh out the butter, sugar, all spices and bicarbonate of soda, combine.
·         Fold in the golden syrup with the eggs, the reduced red wine and rose water. Add the flour into the mix and combine delicately (do not overbeat)
·         Cool down 1 hour or overnight
·         Roll out the dough until its 1cm thick then stamp out the ginger bread shape
·         Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, then cook at 175.C for 25 minutes

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Tutorial – how the recipe comes to life

 

If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can grab it from any of all four Albions bakeries in Shoreditch, Bankside and Clerkenwell from November until Christmas costing £1.30. Using elements from a range of 17th century recipes and a pinch of imagination, the gingerbread biscuit creation forms part of the larger Fire! Fire! exhibition commemorations currently on at the Museum of London.

Working with the museum’s archaeological and historic food experts, Albion Shoreditch Head Baker Aurelien Beguyot studied the 350 year old gingerbread recipes, which featured red wine, stale bread and rose water. He took these as inspiration before creating his own biscuit in the 17th century style, which includes a mix of reduced red wine, rose water and plenty of fiery ginger.

One of the museum’s most theatrical exhibitions to date, Fire! Fire! combines a variety of sights, sounds, smells, textures and interactive exhibits to immerse visitors in the events leading up to, during and after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Starting in a bakery in Pudding Lane, the fire devastated much of the city and by recreating this gingerbread recipe, people will experience the taste of 17th century baking and remember where it all began – in an oven in a City-based bakery.

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