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Ginger Bread (Medieval/elizabethan)

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  • 1 c Honey
  • 1/4 ts Powdered ginger (generous)
  • 1/8 ts Ground cloves
  • 1/8 ts Cinnamon
  • 1/8 ts Ground licorice
  • 1 3/4 c Dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tb Anise seeds


Course Ginger Bread--Take a quart of Honey clarified, and seeth it till it be brown, and if it be thick, put to it a dash of water: then take fine crumbs of white bread grated, and put to it, and stir it well, and when it is almost cold, put to it the powder of Ginger, Cloves, Cinamon, and a little Licorice and Anise seeds: then knead it, and put it into a mould and print it. Some use to put to it also a little Pepper, but that is according unto taste and pleasure.--Gervase Markham, The English House-wife Gingerbread was traditionally boiled rather than baked. This recipe is not significantly different from medieval recipes found in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century manuscripts, except for the licorice-a brilliant touch.
Loaves of gingerbread, like squares of quince and other fruit pastes, were often stamped with decorative designs. You may wish to experiment with a cookie or butter press on the top of this little loaf while it is still warm and malleable.
1. In the top of a double boiler, heat honey. Add spices except anise seeds, and stir to blend. 2. Add bread crumbs and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Mixture should be thick and moist. 3. Place gingerbread on a large sheet of waxed paper. Fold up sides of paper and mold dough into small rectangular shape. 4. Sprinkle anise seeds on top and press them gently into dough with the side of a knife. 5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. 6. Serve gingerbread at room temperature in thin slices.
To The Queen's Taste by Lorna J. Sass "Desserts" ISBN--0-87099-151-5
From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at