Dan Lepard’s “Queen’s Gingerbread”
This slab of dense, highly spiced gingerbread is a panforte of sorts, although for authenticity it needs 17 different ingredients to signify the 17 district city walls of Siena, Italy, where panforte originated in the 13th century (thank you Wiki).
Traditionally a panforte has spices, dried fruits, nuts, honey and sugar, mixed into flour and baked in a shallow pan. Dan’s recipe has the edge on the Siena version because of its rich spices that combine all the holidays I’ve ever been on, plus a wave of warmth that kisses your throat as you eat it. Forget about holidays in warm, sunny destinations where nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger grow wild. I’m going to stay home this year, and have a holiday romance with Dan’s “Queen’s Gingerbread”.
A few notes:
1. The almonds not only add flavour but make the top of the slab look rustically gorgeous. Don’t omit them.
2. The texture is slightly squidgy but this improves on the second day.
3. You must allow it to completely cool in the pan before cutting it. It’s squidgy, remember?
4. This is not gingerbread like a biscuit or cake or gingerbread house. This is a panforte.
5. The cut squares freeze very well and a thaw nicely.
Have a go at this recipe. You won’t be sorry that you tried something new. It’s delicious. You’ll find the recipe at the Guardian’s website with the How to Bake series.