Sunday, 4 November 2012

Yorkshire Parkin


Hello! I hope you've all had a nice weekend. It's jolly cold here, and misty, and the air outside is filled with the smell of bonfires and the sound of fireworks as tomorrow is Bonfire Night. In Yorkshire, it is traditional to eat parkin at this time of year and this recipe was given to me by Jean, my mother-in-law, last week*. The recipe came from her mother-in-law, Evelyn, who was born and bred in Yorkshire, so I think it's safe to assume that it is an authentic recipe. Grandma Evelyn's Bonfire Night Parkin was legendary in the family.

I have lived in Yorkshire for twelve years now and I only last year realised that this is a local custom. I have spent a couple of Bonfire Nights at my friend Lesley's house (she is also proper born and bred Yorkshire, unlike newcomers like me) and she would always want to know who was bringing the parkin. Why all this fuss about parkin, I thought? I just assumed she really liked it. But no, it's tradition. And I love traditions. It's also popular to have pie and peas on Bonfire Night here, but I prefer the custom that involves cake. What Bonfire Night traditions do you have where you live? As a child, I remember eating baked potatoes and hot dogs - basically food that was warming but easy to eat outside without too much need for plates or cutlery, while standing around a big fire and watching fireworks. My Mum, who grew up in London, remembers her mother making a huge tray of gingerbread every year for the 5th November, and Jean remembers always being given "Bonfire Toffee" which is toffee made with treacle as far as I can tell.


Parkin is sticky and chewy with a texture somewhere between cake and flapjack, and the treacle and ginger give it a sweet and smoky flavour that is perfect for this time of year. It is unusual in that it tastes better when you leave it a week or two. Fresh from the oven it tastes nice; but when wrapped and stored in a tin for a while the flavours infuse and it becomes the most delicious moist, dark affair. 

You need:

4 oz or 110 grams self raising flour
4 oz or 110 grams butter
8 oz or 225 grams oats
3 oz or 80 grams sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
4 oz or 110 grams golden syrup
4 oz or 110 grams treacle
1/4 pint or 150 ml milk

  • Pre-heat the oven to 130°C or 260°F.
  • Grease and line a square and fairly deep baking tin or dish.
  • Combine the flour and butter until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  • Add the oats, sugar and ginger and mix well.
  • In a saucepan, warm the syrup and treacle, then add the milk and stir.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well.
  • Scrape into your prepared tin and bake for around one hour. It may need up to one and a half hours.

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* Jean also gave me two other recipes, one for a chocolate cake, and one for something called a "Never Fail" cake - I have to try that one!

35 comments:

  1. Parkin looks and sounds delicious ... I have never had it before ... I will definitely give this special recipe a try though ... thanks for sharing ... keep warm this week :) ... Bee xx

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    1. Thanks Bee, and you...it's FREEZING here! x

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  2. Oooh haven't had parkin in ages - must make some this week. We always use to have bonfire toffee - I insisted one year my mum make it from a recipe in "Hare's Bonfire Toffee" which included such items as a "pawful of rosemary water". Not sure it was her most successful culinary endeavour :-)

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    1. Hi there - thanks for stopping by. A "pawful"? What on earth could that be?? Give me metric any day!

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  3. Bonfire night sounds much more fun up North!(from a boring Midlander)

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    1. Oh, I don't know, I'm a southern girl at heart and I remember it being lots of fun when I was little. ;-) Thanks for stopping by. x

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  4. Parkin looks so yummy! I love anything made with ginger. And bonfire night sounds like so much fun! Enjoy and have a great week!

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    1. Thanks you - it is a great night, always lots of fun.

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  5. I love flapjacks so anything that sounds similar I have to try and this sounds delicious. A nice stodgy, filling cake is just what we need when it's so cold outside. I'll be off to the shop tomorrow to buy some treacle. xxx

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    1. Ooh, I hope you like it! My two weren't keen (not sweet enough I suspect) but John and I are gobbling it up. xx

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  6. That looks yum, I've always wondered what exactly Parkin was - I knew it was gingery but that was all I knew! Perfect for a cold night spent outdoors. We still do the hot dog/baked potato combo, but with toasted marshmallows for pudding. A mug of homemade soup always goes down well with me too. xx

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    1. All that sounds utterly delicious! I love bonfire food... x

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  7. Just wanted to get back here and let you know that I tried your Steak and Stilton pie, though I used a pressure cooker for the filling. It was FABULOUS! Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for stopping by to tell me that! I will pass it on to the hubby, he will be really pleased.

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  8. Never tried that before, but it does sound delicious

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    1. It is. Very filling and hearty - autumn food!

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  9. How funny that I've just posted about Parkin too! Well, maybe not, because as you say, it's very traditional to eat it in the North on Bonfire Night. This might be controversial for your Yorkshire relatives but the books say parkin with golden syrup is usually known as Lancashire Parkin! I didn't know that until I started researching recipes. We also ate bonfire toffee too (or treacle toffee as we call it in our family) - Mum still makes it most Bonfire Nights.

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    1. I will pop over to you and have look! I've never made or eaten bonfire night toffee but I really want to try it.

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  10. Looks delicious! I'm ashamed to say being from Lancashire I have no idea what the tradition is. Maybe parched peas and treacle toffee! I'd love to try this but never see treacle or syrup here :( enjoy bonfire night xx

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    1. You can't move for treacle and syrup in the shops this time of year...but I do love it. x

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  11. I have never heard of that tradition either, but i have to say that any tradition involving cake is great by me! looks delicious ... i must give it a go, thank you.
    have a great bonfire night :o)
    love jooles x

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    1. Same here! There should be more cake-related traditions in my opinion. x

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  12. Being a Yorkshire lass through and through, I know all these traditions. Have to admit to buying my parkin though, but it's still yummy. We always had pie and peas, jacket potatoes baked in foil in the bonfire and bonfire toffee or bonfire toffee lollies, those in a little foil cup, on bonfire night when I was little.

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    1. Bonfire toffee lollies - they sound intriguing, have not heard of these. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. I used to love this! Can't eat anything like this anymore so will just drool over your photos! :)

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  14. I've never heard or seen Parkin before - I know this because if there is a baked good in this country I haven't yet tried, it has that label for a very short time :) I'll have to keep my eyes peeled. Have a wonderful celebration!

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    1. Thank you, and you! I love discovering foodie traditions from other places. Incidentally, my daughter's friend just returned from Disneyland with lots of American sweets and I tried my first "tootsie roll" today.

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  15. Hello Gillian,
    I have heard of Parkin but never made it, so I must give it a try soon. As for Bonfire Night, I can remember burning my mouth on 'molten' soup a few times and it was always oxtail! Have a fun and safe Bonfire Night.
    Ivan

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    1. Molten soup, yes! That made me chuckle. Especially that viscous, gloopy tinned oxtail...I didn't like it as a child and I don't like it now. Much safer to stick to cake.

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  16. I could do with a slice of that at the moment - warming and sticky - it's got so chilly recently.

    Nina x

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  18. ooh yummy, I'm going to give this one a go! x

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  19. When I was little it was hot dogs and tomato soup.
    I made parkin years ago and took it into work. Most were polite about it, but one chap said it tasted like rope. I forgave him as we have been married for 15 years now! I really should try baking it again!
    Lisa x

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  20. Oh my lord that sounds delicious! Kellie xx

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