I’m a fan of any recipe that celebrates the sweet-savoury combination of golden syrup, treacle, and ginger (see my Gingerbread Loaf post for further evidence), and when you throw gorgeous heady spices and a crunchy shortbread crumb into the mix, things start to get real. Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Gingerbread is just that – it’s the ultimate alliance of flavours and results in a perfectly tasty and pleasingly textured gingerbread, that I guarantee you won’t be able to stop eating.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line a 20x35cm baking tray with tin foil. Blitz 400g of shortbread, 170g of demerara sugar, and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger in a food processor until pleasingly crumb-like, then scoop 100g of the mix into a bowl and set aside. Add a further 2 teaspoons of ground ginger to the food processor mixture, along with 40g of chopped mixed peel, 80g of crystalised ginger (now, this is twice the amount Jamie recommends using, but at this time of year I’m all about fabulous excessiveness), 70g of plain flour, and a pinch of baking powder, and pulse until well combined.
In a large pan, melt 40g each of golden syrup and treacle with 70g of unsalted butter, then pour in the mixture from the food processor and stir with a wooden spoon until nicely combined. Tip into the mixture onto the baking tray and spread out using the back of a spoon, pressing it down so that it’s completely flat and even. Bake for 10 minutes.
Once the gingerbread is looking golden and delicious, take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle over the reserved shortbready-gingery crumbs, pressing down with the back of a spoon so that they smoosh into the still-warm gingerbread – you want the crumbs to stay put and now just fall off once the gingerbread has cooled.
The gingerbread is incredible on it’s own, especially while still warm and a little gooey, but it’s particularly brilliant when two slices sandwich a generous spoonful of vanilla ice cream (which was particularly pleasing post Christmas Day-feast).