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Cooking vegan parkin: Vegan MoFo

You need parkin in your life. Seriously.

The parkin, a small brown beast, is found chiefly in the north of England, where it has dwelled for what's thought to be centuries. So secretive is this sweet little creature, those in England's south lands are unfamiliar with it.

No one knows where this distinctive northern dishbake sprang from, but it's often called Yorkshire parkin, which should give you a clue where it's heartland may lie.

It's also mainly found on Bonfire Night - unsurprising really, given it's thick and heavy, and just the sort of thing you need to metric truckloads of to drive out the cold when you're being rained on, waiting for someone to light the Catherine wheel and nursing sparkler-burned fingers!

It's somewhere between a cake and a biscuit, and depending on where the parkin you're eating was made, it may or may not have black treacle in it - apparently Lancashire parkin-makers tend to leave it out. More fool them - it gives the parkin a nice, dark note that sets off its gingery taste a treat. So if you're going to make some parkin, grab some flour, vegan butter equivalent, non-dairy milk, molasses, golden syrup, sugar, oats and dried ginger and you're away.

While it doesn't have an extensive list of ingredients and isn't hard to make - you melt the butter and sugar along with the liquid ingredients then pour it into the dry ingredients and bake - it's still not the easiest thing to create.

You have to hold your nerve. When you take it out of the oven after an hour of baking, you won't be able to tell if it's done. It won't spring back under your touch like a sponge cake, and it may even feel a bit damp. You'll think you've gone wrong. But fear not - hold your nerve.

If you let it cool and then ignore it. Some people will even tell you to leave it for two weeks before eating it (good luck if you can wait that long). It's a strange beast.

Still, if you want to give it a go, here's the recipe I used (swap dairy milk for non-dairy, butter for its vegan equivalent and ditch the egg altogether, or flax it up, if you'd rather.) Once you've cooked it once, you'll want every night to be bonfire night!


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13 comments

  1. Love parkin! My Granny always had a loaf made when we went to visit :) It does definitely get better after a couple of days.

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  2. These vegan parkin sound tasty- I like both a cake and a biscuit!-Plus, I've never tried them before! Would love to! Thanks for the recipe link!

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  3. LOL...I just posted about something similar...Date Nut Bread!
    Your version sounds exactly like what I'm looking for...dense and syrupy sweet with a bit of spice. I must give it a go!
    Thanks for the recipe! :)

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  4. Never heard of parkin before, it's a school day for me today! How interesting that people leave it for 2 weeks before eating it, sweet things would never last that long in my house. If I have to let something set overnight that is torturous enough for my fellows.

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  5. It takes a lot of scare me away from cooking something, but this...this gave me pause. I feel like I would love it though.

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  6. Oooh, I love everything about it! I love learning about foods from different regions. I will definitely try (and patiently wait) this treat.

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  7. I've never heard of this treat but I like the gingery and molasses notes. Can hardly go wrong with those two.

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  8. I haven't heard of this before, I love how educational your posts have been! This sounds delish and I like your warning about not being able to tell if it's done when you get it out of the oven!

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  9. No matter what, I keep reading 'parkin' as 'parking', so parking it shall be known. Also two weeks before eating? That's equal parts crazy and intriguing. Looks nice and hearty!

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  10. Unlike Allysia, I keep reading it as parkour! So I feel like I should eat this while bouncing off of buildings and stuff.
    If someone told me I'd have to wait two weeks before eating something I just baked, I think I would laugh in their face, patience is not a characteristic of mine. It sounds tasty, like something you'd eat around Xmas.

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  11. Interesting! I've never heard of parkin but it sounds sort of like a "hermit" that we have here.

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  12. I just found a 100g bag of dried ginger best before October, so this recipe couldn't come at a better time for me. Those ingredients sound like they'd make the house smell amazing!

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  13. I love Parkin. It's big up in Manchester. I've only attempted to veganise it once though and it was a bit of a fail so I'm really pleased to see this post. Will have to try it out for bonfire night.

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