With a slight chill in the air, the thought of warming ginger and snuggly treacle seems like the perfect thing. Fanny makes her Gingerbread with 'pure lard' incase we have to hibernate for several months our arteries will remain intact, but for me it's what I hope is a suitable vegetarian alternative, Trex. I've no idea if it will work the same in a cake, it's great in pastry though!
Fanny sets about preparing the gingerbread by gently heating the 'lard' and the treacle. Or the lard then the treacle, she really can't decide. This is one of those recipes, despite being tested time and time again in her very own kitchen to ensure perfection, that says both things. 'Place the lard and the treacle in a small pan over a very low heat' and 'when the lard is melted, beat thoroughly with the warm treacle'. Not being too sure which is best, I first mix some soft brown sugar with an egg, I can't go wrong there, can I?
There is clearly no time for dithering, there may just be a knock at the door at any moment, and a barrage of hungry folk will be blustering their way into my living room expecting to open my tins and be fed. Maybe. I go with option one, melting the 'lard' with the treacle, then giving it a little beat just because I'm really still not sure. Easier to fathom, I sift some flour with a few spoons of gorgeous ground ginger and sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda in a couple of tablespoons of milk. In goes the sugar and egg mix. In goes the melted 'Trex and Treacle'. In goes the gently bubbling milk. And mix.
It all comes together quickly into a slightly sweaty looking concoction, slipping around the bowl like it's having way too much fun. That'll be the lardy Trex I guess. But it smells heavenly. Fanny gives one of her 'options' here, if you feel like 'going grand'. Now, I ALWAYS feel like going grand, and you know, you never know who's going to be next to knock on your door, so you've got to be prepared, right? And hopeful. Going grand here means chopping in some glacé ginger and mixing it in well. How very grand indeed. Luckily I have a jar of Opies to hand. The gingerbread can be baked in any number of ordinary cake tins, Fanny says, but the key is to make sure they are prepared properly - by buttering and flouring them well. I do. So, after half an hour in the oven, Fanny suggests letting it cool in the tin, but will it come out? It does. Fanny says that once it's cooled it's best to wrap it thickly and securely in tin foil and storing it away for a week or so. I don't. Not being one to wait and ever hopeful that someone will come a-knocking, I set it up on my cake stand and get my knife ready. I've got a feeling I'm not going to be hungry tonight after this little beauty! All to myself...