I WAS so pleased to read in the Journal that someone is now producing Grantham gingerbreads again. I am glad I sent you the recipe and that you managed to pass it on to a reliable baker.
Looking at the photograph of the batch he has made, I can honestly say he has made them exactly right - in fact they look exactly the same as mine do when I take them out of the oven (except that I make a smaller quantity on a smaller tray of course).
I would reiterate though, that they were not created in 1740. As I pointed out when I sent you the recipe, they were created by a small bakers in Castlegate by the name of Turners, in the early 1930s, due to an error in their biscuit recipe. Catlins did produce them briefly in the 1980s, as I believe that long after Turners ceased in business, Catlins eventually acquired the recipe.
My aunt and uncle, being next door neighbours of the Turners in the 1930s, were given the new recipe and it has remained in our family for many years. I made some only the other day, we all like them very much, and I’m so pleased Mr Hawken has decided to resurrect the recipe commercially.
It would be lovely to see the gingerbreads sold all over the country, they deserve to be enjoyed by everybody.
Incidentally, I forgot to tell you the secret of their creation as told to my aunt by Mr Turner.
Once a week they made ordinary ginger biscuits, then one day Mr Turner’s assistant, who was learning the trade, was left to make the biscuits, but instead of using milk to bind the mixture, he mistakenly used beaten egg, and it was the egg that caused the biscuits to rise and become hollow instead of flat. Mr Turner liked them and so did all his customers. They had nothing to do with 1740, but I suppose it was thought by someone that it would increase more interest in the gingerbreads if people thought the recipe dated back to 1740, although I can’t imagine they had ground ginger as long ago as that in any case.