Parkin is such a classic Yorkshire treat. Usually eaten on Bonfire night, there will be an abundance in the local bakeries around this time of the year. If you’re a fan of gingerbread and are looking for something that little bit different – this is for you! Parkin is virtually unheard of south of the Humber. It’s an age-old cake featuring oats and black treacle to create a sticky, chewy cake with a deeply flavour that only improves with time!
An early reference to Yorkshire parkin is as follows. “The year was 1728. Banging his gavel, the magistrate of the West Riding Quarter Session called the courthouse to order. The accused was brought forward. Standing erect in a pose of dignified capitulation, Mrs. Anne Whittaker, occupation housewife, listened as her offense was read aloud.
The crime: She had stolen oatmeal.
Her defence: Why, to make Yorkshire parkin, of course.
The verdict: Guilty as charged but dang, was the parkin worth it!” A true crime story all in the name of a culinary passion.
This dish is so warming and hearty especially when the nights get darker and colder. A chef hero of mine is the late great Gary Rhodes. He had a zeal for British foods and championed British ingredients. The Ovaltine ice cream is a recipe from his book ‘Rhodes Around Britain’. I was in my first year at college when I bought this book and I read it cover to cover. This is one of my favourite recipes from the book. I’ve added the condensed milk to this ice cream. It helps the texture of the ice cream remain silky smooth. Also note there is no sugar added to this recipe. This is due to the sweetness of the Ovaltine, condensed milk and milk chocolate.
1 large egg, beaten
4 tbsp whole milk
200g unsalted butter
100g black treacle
200g golden syrup
50g dark brown soft sugar 100g medium oatmeal
250g self-raising flour, sifted 1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan
Grease a 20cm square cake tin with softened butter, then lined (base and sides) with baking paper Combine the egg and milk together in a jug.
Place the butter in a large pan with the molasses or treacle, golden syrup and sugar. Melt everything together over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oatmeal, flour, ginger and mixed spice. Add the egg and milk mixture and stir until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the sponge is firm to the touch, but not dry. Leave the sponge in the tin until completely cold, then wrap it (still in the tin) in baking paper and foil. Store for a week, then turn out and cut into 16 squares. Eat within 2 weeks.
300ml double cream
100ml sweetened condensed milk 200ml Milk
100g Ovaltine Powder
175g Milk Chocolate, grated
6 eggs, yolks only
2-3 measures Irish Whisky
Bring the milk, condensed milk and cream to the boil and whisk on to the Ovaltine. Add the milk chocolate and stir until melted.
Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a bowl and begin to whisk until pale in colour.
Pour half of the cream mixture onto the egg yolks and sugar to temper. Mix well and return everything to the pan.
Using a wooden spoon gently stir the mixture and bring the heat back up to about 75c. The mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t boil or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Once at the correct temperature transfer the custard to a clean bowl and cool. Stirring for the first few minutes.
The Irish whiskey can be added before churning to give a richer flavour to the ice-cream.
Once cooled pour into an ice cream machine and churn until frozen.
*I understand not everyone has an ice cream machine. If like me you love ice cream, you can pick up a cheap maker that can open up a world of beautiful desserts. Alternatively pour the cooled mixture into the ice-cold vessel and return it to the freezer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, whisk the mixture with a whisk, mixer or spatula. Return it to the freezer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes repeat the whisking and return it to the freezer for a further 30 minutes. After 30 more minutes repeat the whisking and return it to the freezer for a further 30 minutes.
210g granulated sugar
60g Salted Butter
120ml Double cream
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
In a saucepan pan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the butter and let it melt
Bring the mixture to a boil. Don’t stir at all during this part to help avoid crystallization. Boil until the mixture turns a deep golden colour, about 10-15 minutes, maybe longer depending on your stove. Keep an eye on it, but do not stir. If needed, you can occasionally tip the pan from side to side to help things cook evenly.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cream. The caramel will bubble up quite a bit, so be careful with this step. Whisk until well combined. Add the salt and whisk to combine. Add additional salt to your desired saltiness.
Allow the caramel sauce to cool.
2 Granny Smiths
2 tbsp chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts zest of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Core the apples and cut in half. Put the apples in a shallow baking dish.
Mix the apricots, nuts, lemon zest and sugar. Fill each halved apple with the mixture. Along with a knob of butter on each half. Bake for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, pour a little of the salted caramel sauce over the apples. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until tender.
*To serve, gently warm the parkin in the oven while you bake the apples. Serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream and spoon around the hot caramel sauce.