Are you celebrating one of the National Holiday? This page will help make all your celebrations a delicious experience; by learning about parkin!
What is a Parkin Cake?
"Parkin or Perkin is a soft cake traditionally made of oatmeal and molasses, which originated in Northern England. Often associated with Yorkshire, particularly the Leeds area, its precise origins are unclear, and it is made and enjoyed in other areas, such as Lancashire. Parkin is generally moist and even sometimes sticky. In Hull and East Yorkshire, it has a drier, more biscuit-like texture than in other areas. Parkin is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, but is also enjoyed year-round. It is baked commercially throughout Yorkshire, but is a mainly domestic product in other areas."
"The principal ingredients of parkin are flour, oatmeal, black treacle (molasses), fat (traditionally lard, but modern recipes use butter or margarine), and ginger. While it is possible to find recipes that omit oatmeal or treacle, or even both, these are generally considered distinctive features of parkin, and it is hard to see what would distinguish it from any other gingerbread without them. Both were important constituents of Northern, working-class diet in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so it is likely that parkin evolved in that period of Industrial Revolution."
"Both ginger and treacle were imported from the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica, where they were produced by slave labour in the 18th century, and generally imported as part of the Triangular Trade via Liverpool. Ginger was used traditionally in the form of powder (made by grinding the dried rhizome), but preserved stem ginger and grated fresh ginger are sometimes added today."
"The flour used in parkin in England is self-raising, containing a small amount of chemical leavening agent. If this is not available, or if the proportion of oatmeal is high, it is essential to add a leavening agent, e.g. baking powder or a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar."
"One of the key features of parkin is that it retains its texture well and can be kept for a week or two in a sealed tin or box. In fact, connoisseurs often prefer to eat it slightly aged. Fresh parkin is sometimes eaten as an accompaniment to a compote of tart fruit, like cooking apples or gooseberries. This would have made parkin particularly suitable as a working-class Sunday treat that could be eked out for packed meals on working days."
"The name is sometimes given as perkin, and it is often pronounced as such in the Midlands, even when the normal spelling is retained. Both Parkin and Perkin are diminutives of Peter. They are also common English family names and were used in the past as pet forms of the Christian name "Peter"."
Did you know that Parkin Cake is part of Yorkshire Cuisine?
Other food and beverages which are strongly linked to the cuisine of Yorkshire is:
- Sunday Roast: "The Sunday roast is a traditional British main meal served on Sundays (usually in the early afternoon for lunch), consisting of roasted meat (often replaced with chicken), roast potato and yorkshire puddings together with accompaniments, such as vegetables and gravy."
- Yorkshire pudding: "Yorkshire pudding is a dish that originated in Yorkshire, England, and has attained wide popularity. It is made from batter and most often served with roast beef, chicken, or any meal in which there is gravy." (types of gravy)
- Scuffler: "A scuffler is a word in Yorkshire dialect meaning a large bread cake or roll. While the term can be used to describe any kind of bread, it is can also mean a particular kind of fluffy white bread popularly eaten in the area. This bread is often baked in a roughly triangular shape and is similar to the Northern stottie, but lighter."
- Pontefract cake: "Pontefract cakes (also known as Pomfret cakes and Pomfrey cakes) are a type of small, roughly circular black sweet measuring approximately 2 cm in diameter and 4 mm thick, made of liquorice, originally manufactured in the Yorkshire town of Pontefract, England."