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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Nutmeg and Ginger

Writer Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel Gingerbread follows three generations of women, who each turn to a family recipe for a different reason. Baking loaves of the tea cake was an important part of the book’s research. “My entire flat just smelled like all of the nutmeg and ginger,” Oyeyemi told us on a recent episode of Bite. “That was a good phase.” Her favorite-

Emily Dickinson’s Gingerbread

Ingredients
1 quart flour
½ cup butter
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
Make up with molasses. (Guides at the Emily Dickinson House, who in 1975 individually experimented with the quantity of molasses, have generally agreed that a “cup or so” is just about right).

Cream the butter and mix with lightly whipped cream. Sift dry ingredients together and combine with other ingredients. The dough is stiff and needs to be pressed into whatever pan you choose. A round or small square pan is suitable. The recipe also fits perfectly into a cast iron muffin pan, if you happen to have one which makes oval cakes. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.