A close cousin of the gingernut, the Cornish fairing is a spicy, crisp gingery biscuit, nutty brown in colour and deeply cracked. The name originates from early lively trading and festival fairs, where the biscuits were bought by visitors as gifts or ‘fairings’ to take home. This recipe, by far the best I’ve found, comes from Jo, one of our lady Cornish pilot gig rowers in Lyme Regis.
- Yield: 6 large fairings
- 125 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 good tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 50 g caster sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- Baking sheet, lightly greased or lined with baking parchment
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Sift the first five ingredients into a large bowl and stir in the caster sugar. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, lightly rub it in until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the golden syrup and use a fork to bring the mixture together to a soft dough. Alternatively, simply place all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until mixed to a smooth dough.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces. With floured hands, roll each into a ball about the size of a very large walnut. Place on the baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for spreading. Keeping them round, flatten slightly with the back of a fork.
- Bake in the oven for 7–8 minutes, until nutty golden brown in colour and deeply cracked on the surface. Stay around and don’t get too engrossed on the phone a minute or two too long and you’ll have half a dozen frisbees instead of fairings.
- Leave to firm up on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Once cool, these will keep for a week or so in an airtight tin.