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Elegant Eating from Downton Abbey: Edwardian Gingerbread

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I will try and break this news to you gently. Gingerbread is not some over-baked cookie in the shape of a "man" and then outlined in some sort of sugar cream stuff. Gingerbread is also not a house, dripping with candy and whatever other useless items you find in the kitchen. Gingerbread is a lavish cake, perfectly moist, perfectly spiced and perfectly suited for Downton Abbey!

Real gingerbread is a staple of the English holiday season. To be perfectly English and authentic to both the Victorian and Edwardian era's, the gingerbread should be made with treacle (treacle, in simple terms, is a more raw form of molasses). If you cannot find treacle in your local market, you can substitute dark molasses. There are many gingerbread recipes which will call for the inclusion of candied or crystalized ginger to be added to the cake batter. This is fine, but it is not authentic.

To make perfect gingerbread is a very simple act. As a matter-of-fact, it is almost impossible to screw-up making gingerbread. There are two great joys in making this Edwardian classic. First, the aroma which will waft through your house. Second, quite obviously, is the eating of the gingerbread. If you have never had real gingerbread before, you are about to taste something which will make you feel as if you're a valued guest of honor at Downton Abbey!

For more on the food of Downton Abbey, visit the free Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey!

Ingredients needed to make Edwardian Gingerbread (makes one cake):

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup treacle (or dark molasses)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients until well blended.
  3. Into the bowl add all the remaining ingredients and stir to form a batter.
  4. Let the batter rest 10 minutes. You will notice the texture begin to lighten.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and even out.
  6. Place the gingerbread into the oven and bake 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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