Great British Bake Off fever is back! As Children in Need cake sales fill the air with the comforting aromas of home baking, we look at the cakes, puddings and biscuits that define our Forest locations.
We start our search in Scotland, the UK capital of the sweet tooth and home to our Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre locations. Our top Scottish contender is Clootie Dumpling. Almost every region of the UK has a version of this steamed suet pudding with fruit and spices, but none so memorably named as Clootie Dumpling, the “clootie” being the cloth in which it is cooked. Here’s an affectionate history, complete with recipe. It’s one of many recipes, as Clootie Dumpling is a family affair and it is generally your granny who cooks it to her own specifications. We have it on good authority from a genuine Scotsman that the “clootie” might even be an old pair of Granny’s knickers.
Next on our baking sheet is Yorkshire. If you are staying at Cropton or Keldy look out for Yorkshire Parkin – a soft, sticky ginger cake made with oatmeal and treacle. The best way to eat parkin is with a big mug of Yorkshire tea in front of a roaring fire – it is a tradition in Yorkshire to bake Parkin for bonfire night. Here is a delightful history with a recipe, written with a great sense of nostalgia by a Yorkshireman now living in the States.
There’s just time to organise your cake sale for Children in Need and now you have some more baking ideas to add to your repertoire. Find out how to get baking and selling here.
Naughty but Nice Nottinghamshire
As we head south, the heavy, sticky puddings give way to lighter, more fruit based pies and desserts. Did you know that Nottinghamshire is the original home of the Bramley apple? So for our Sherwood Forest entry, what could be more appropriate than a good old home cooked Bramley apple pie? Best stick close to the script for this one so here’s a recipe from the Bramley apple website, where you will also find out some more of the history of the Bramley apple.
Fruity Forest of Dean
We leave Sherwood Forest and make our way down to the Forest of Dean. Here we introduce you to the Monmouth Pudding. Monmouth is the closest large town to our Forest of Dean location and it allows us to bring Wales into our Bake Off. Monmouth Pudding, a frothy fruit and meringue confection is probably the sweetest of our selections, and puts Wales head-to-head with Scotland for sugar content. Try this recipe – and brush your teeth after eating!
For our final offering, we head west to our Deerpark location in Cornwall and another traditional British favourite, the humble scone. It’s baked across the UK of course, but nothing elevates the scone quite like a Cornish Clotted Cream Tea.
Debates rage between Devon and Cornwall over which county “owns” the cream tea but Cornwall’s clotted cream, which has protected status, makes it the cream of the crop for us. The perfect cream tea is as much about occasion as it is about high quality ingredients; of all the puddings and cakes we have covered, it is the one to build a pleasurable afternoon around. And remember, in Cornwall it’s jam first, cream second.
What’s your favourite?
Our tour has highlighted just a flavour of the best of British baking. We missed out such delicacies as Cornish Figgy ‘obbin and Hevva cakes, Dorset Nobs, and Yorkshire Moggie cake. Mentioned now simply for the fabulous names!
Which is your favourite? Do you like the sticky, sweet puddings of the north or the sugary, fruity pies of the south? Are you in the Devon or Cornwall cream tea camp? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know what would win your regional Bake Off. Or better still, dig out those old family recipes and show us what we have missed.