Here at Seven Smiths we like to get up close and personal with the food we work with, knowing where an ingredient originates from allows you to be creative in the way you use it! Coming up to winter we talked about the things we were all excited for with the coming season; along with fluffy socks and cosy fires, making gingerbread people and decorating them came up as one of the favourties within our team. Which made us think, what on earth made people think of using ginger in the way it is used today, so we did a little research!
So a bit of history..
The history of the ginger plant goes back over 5000 years and is native to India and China, where it was initially known for its medicinal features as well as the warming effect it had when eaten. Coming from the same family as cardamom and turmeric it quickly became a common addition to many foods, even being exported to make sweets!
For something to be considered gingerbread in the sense that we know it the base must feature ginger as the dominant flavour, this is then sweetened using honey or molasses. The creation of gingerbread is also a lot simpler than traditional baked methods, as all ingredients can be added to the bowl at once, mixed then baked.
Research showed that it was our very own Queen Elizabeth I that thought up the gingerbread man, and we are really glad she did! We have posted our gingerbread recipe below, so you can get creative with your baking at home.
350g plain flour
175g light soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
4 tablespoons of golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1.5 teaspoon of ground ginger
What to do
Pre-heat the oven to180°C
Put the butter, flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, mixing with your fingertips until cumbly. Add the sugar, syrup and egg and mix until you have a firm pastry mix.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick, making sure that both the surface and the rolling pin are both well dusted with flour.
Cut out your shapes, you could use a knife or pastry cutter
Placing on a greased or non stick baking try place in the pre heated over for around 15 minutes, checking them after 10
Wait for them to cool then time to decorate!