Thursday, May 21, 2009
A childhood favourite
Yesterday I posted about the lunch we had with friends on Sunday. There was another component to the lunch, but I think they deserved a posting all to themselves. To go with our soup and soda bread I made ginger gems. Ginger gems were a staple when I was growing up. Mum had a pair of gem irons and ginger gems were her thing. They are like little muffins, but way better, as you heat the gem irons before you put the mixture into them, meaning that the edges of the gems crisp up. Gems made in muffin tins just aren’t the same!
I bought a gem iron a couple of years ago, right before we packed up our stuff when we moved. I think I only used them once before they were packed up. I unpacked most of my kitchen on Friday and found my gem irons, so thought I would put them to good use over the weekend. There is room for 12 little gems in a gem iron. Mum’s recipe makes 24 gems, so I halved the recipe and it was perfect. These are at their best hot out of the oven spread with butter which deliciously melts into the gems. The other thing I like about the gems is their size – muffins can sometimes be way too big, but gems are the perfect delicate size.
It is crucial that if you make these using a gem iron, you heat the iron as you pre-heat your oven. Grease the gem irons well before putting your mixture in. I do that by using a pastry brush and a knob of butter. Be careful though as the gem iron gets incredibly hot, as it is cast iron. I burnt my thumb quite badly taking mine out of the oven with a slightly damp tea towel – note to self, use the lovely new oven mitt you bought!
If you haven’t tried good old fashioned ginger gems before, you must!
My Mum’s ginger gems
1 c sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 ½ c flour
1 dsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water in a cup and fill the cup up with milk
• Pre-heat oven to 180c, putting gem irons in oven to heat as you make the mixture
• Cream butter and sugar, then add golden syrup then egg
• Stir in rest of ingredients.
• Take out hot gem irons and brush with melted butter
• Spoon batter into gem irons and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden
• These come out of the gem irons really easily if you tip them out as soon as they come out of the oven