Yorkshire parkin - try this twist on a Bonfire Night tradition

 dipping a slice of parkin in camembert ? 

Ever thought of dipping a slice of parkin in camembert ? - Credit: Prospect Books

Parkin and Bonfire Night go together like Wensleydale and Christmas cake.

Of course, in Yorkshire people find many other dates worthy of a parkin fix as a teatime treat - this sweet, gooey ginger cake is a delicious tradition.

Food writer and historian,  Sam Bilton has made it her business to know everything there is to know about gingerbread in its many forms in her book, First Catch Your Gingerbread.

Here's a recipe for parkin pig biscuits - easy to make for the bonfire weekend - as well as a more grown up treat for the ginger fiends out there - parkin and baked camembert cheese. 

Yorkshire's best-loved foods 

Parkin Pigs

According to Sam Bilton, pigs were a particularly popular shape for gingerbread biscuits. One of the best known makers of parkin pigs in Yorkshire was a spice merchant called Chatterton from Bradford. Chatterton’s pièce de resistance was a gingerbread representation of Daniel in the Lion’s Den!

Makes 12-16 8cm pigs or shapes (depending on the size of the cutter)


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• 50g treacle

• 50g golden syrup

• 25g light brown sugar

• 25g unsalted butter

• 100g plain flour

• 100g medium oatmeal

• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

• 1 tsp ground ginger

• ½ tsp mixed spice


1. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line a good sized baking sheet with non stick baking paper or a non stick silicone liner.

2. Gently heat the treacle, golden syrup, sugar and butter together.

3. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the melted treacle mixture then mix to a firm dough.

4. Roll out on a lightly floured board to a thickness of 5mm. Stamp out pigs or whatever shape you desire. Place on the baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes.

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Baked Camembert with Gingerbread

Parkin is a surprisingly good partner for cheese particularly when it’s melted like this

Serves 2-4 (depending how hungry you are)

250g whole camembert (ideally in a box)

1 clove garlic, cut into 4 or 5 slithers

A few small sprigs of rosemary

2 tbsp brandy or calvados

Parkin or other firm gingerbread for dipping


1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.

2. Remove the camembert from its plastic wrapper. Place it back in the bottom of the box (or put it in a small roasting dish). There is no need to replace the lid of the box. Place the boxed cheese in the centre of a piece of foil large enough to enclose the box.

3. Pierce the top of the cheese in several places then place slithers of garlic or small sprigs of rosemary into each incision. Drizzle the top of the cheese with the brandy or calvados. Bring the edges of the foil up to create a ‘tent’ like structure over the cheese. You don’t want the foil to touch the top of the cheese otherwise it will stick.

4. Place the tented parcel on a baking tray and cook for 25-30 minutes. After this time the cheese should be molten (and very hot). If for some reason it isn’t runny enough return it to the oven uncovered for another five minutes or so.

5. Serve immediately with a selection of gingerbread and perhaps some slice apple or pear and a few walnuts.

Recipes from First Catch Your Gingerbread by Sam Bilton, £15