Historic gingerbread from Little Moreton Hall

Puddings and cakes

  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
Modern honey is pure and does not need skimming © Arnhel de Serra

Modern honey is pure and does not need skimming

Ingredients

  • 500g clear honey
  • 500g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Fresh box leaves and whole cloves, to decorate

Method

Historic gingerbread

‘Take good honey & clarifie it on the fere, & take fayre paynemayn or watel brede & grate it, & caste it into the boylenge hony, & stere it will togydr faste with a sklse that bren not to the vessel. & thane take it doun and put thein ginger, long prepare & saundres, & tempere it up with thin handel; & than put hem to a flat boyste & strawon suger, & pick therinclowes round about by the egge and in the myundes yf if it plece you & C...’
-from A.W. 'A book of cookrye Very necessary for all such as delight therein', 1591

A modern treat

1. Warm the honey until quite runny (modern honey does not need to be skimmed, as it produces no scum). The Tudors loved brightly coloured foods, and would have used a natural dye to colour this treat. If you wish, add a few drops of red food colouring or powder to the honey. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs and spices. It should be very stiff, if not add a few more breadcrumbs.

2. Line a shallow rectangular cake or gingerbread tin with non-stick paper or foil and press the mixture into it. If it is a little difficult to do this, then press down with your fingers dipped occasionally in cold water.

3. Ensure the top is quite level, allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or two. Turn out onto a sheet of baking paper and cut into small squares.

4. If you have any, decorate each square with two small box leaves and a clove.