Mum was Catholic and Dad wasn’t, and there was no way he was going to let his children be raised in the Catholic Church. But we were allowed to be Protestants, so the United Reformed Church it was, and it played a massive part in our lives. I loved going to church – Mum always took us (Dad didn’t go) – although God was always low down on my priorities list. It was such a theatrical place, where you got dressed up, and it was also friendly and warm. It felt special and it made me feel special, important somehow. As I write this I’m smiling, remembering. I was encouraged to dance, sing, act – to shine. There was Sunday school, walking Whits, youth groups, ceilidhs, pantomimes, camping, Cub Scouts, Girl Guides… No, I was never a Guide, although I’m sure they would have let me, but you get the gist. Family christenings, weddings and funerals all took place there – so many memories – and Bonfire Night, too. Black peas, bangers and parkin. There’s something about that treacly, molasses-y, gingery taste of parkin that takes me right back, that speaks to my heart, to that little boy who loved church and sang mucky lyrics to songs with sticky parkin fingers. I like to serve this with my Parkin Ice Cream.
Cooking time 35 minutes, plus about 1 hour chilling
500g (1lb 2oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g (31/2oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus extra for greasing
2 eggs, lightly beaten
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
splash of milk
175g (6oz) light muscovado sugar
50g (13/4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g (31/2oz) green raisins (see Tip below)
40g (11/2oz) sultanas
8 tbsp single cream
2 tbsp date molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (31/2oz) walnuts, chopped
I use green raisins as they have a really distinctive, tangy flavour, but you can substitute for other raisins, if you wish.
1 For the pastry, put the flour and icing sugar into a food processor and whizz briefly to combine, then add the butter and pulse until you have a breadcrumb consistency. Add the eggs and lemon zest and pulse again to combine, then add the splash of milk and pulse to bring your pastry together.
2 Form the pastry into a rectangle, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
3 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5, and grease a22-cm (81/2-inch) round loose-bottomed tart tin.
4 Divide your chilled pastry into 2 pieces, about two-thirds for the base and the other one-third for the lattice top. Wrap the smaller piece and return to the refrigerator.
5 Roll out the pastry for the base on a lightly floured work surface, as thin as you dare. Roll the pastry back around the rolling pin, then unroll it over your tart tin and gently press it into the edges and sides of the tin. Allow a little extra pastry to overhang the sides, as not only will it shrink while it’s baking, but you will also be tucking your lattice strips underneath the pastry edge, forming a ridge. Prick the surface of the pastry with a fork, then place it in the refrigerator
while you make the filling.
6 Beat the eggs together in a mixing bowl, then add all the other ingredients, except the walnuts. Transfer to a saucepan and cook over a medium–low heat (I use the number 4 setting on my induction hob) for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously – you want to melt the butter and get the mixture thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, stir through the walnuts, then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
7 Pour the cooled filling mixture into your pastry case and return to the refrigerator. Roll out your remaining pastry on a lightly floured work surface, as thin as you can. Using a sharp knife, cut into 10 strips about 1.5–2cm (5/8–3/4 inch) wide and long enough to drape across the top of the tart. Remove the tart from the refrigerator and lay your strips over it in a lattice pattern. I do the 2 and 4, 1, 3 and 5 method – now you’re really confused! Let me explain: lay 5 strips evenly spaced across the tart, then cross them with the remaining 5 strips, interweaving them as you go, the first strip going
over strip 1 and under 2, over 3 and under 4, then the second strip alternating, going under strip 1 and over 2, under 3 and over 4, and finally under 5, and so on. When your lattice is complete, tuck the ends of the strips over the excess pastry around the edge to form a raised rim. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is looking pale golden and your filling is set.
8 Leave the tart to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Delicious hot, served with a big scoop of my Parkin Ice Cream.
Parkin Ice Cream
Makes 1 litre
Cooking time 5 minutes,
plus cooling and 21/2 hours chilling
300ml (10fl oz) double cream
300ml (10fl oz) milk
6 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp black treacle
1 Put the cream, milk, syrup, ginger and cinnamon into a saucepan and heat to just under the boil. While the cream mixture is heating, beat the egg yolks and treacle together in a heatproof mixing bowl. Once your cream mixture is up to temperature, very slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture – about a tablespoonful at a time to start with – whisking constantly. Take your time and don’t stop whisking, or you’ll end up with very sweet scrambled eggs.
2 Once combined, cover the surface of the custard with a piece of clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming. Leave to cool completely.
3 Transfer the mixture to your ice-cream machine and churn for anything from 15 to 30 minutes until it has thickened to a softserve consistency. Then place in a Tupperware container and freeze for about 2 hours until firm. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, whisk the custard and then freeze in a Tupperware container for 2 hours. Remove from the freezer and stir with a fork to break up the ice crystals, then freeze for another 2 hours. Repeat the process once, or twice at the most. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before you want to eat it, to allow it to soften enough to scoop.
This recipe is from There’s No Taste Like Home by John Partridge.