Great British Bakes - Forgotten Treasures for Modern Bakers
By Mary-Anne Boermans


My volume of Great British Bakes is bristling with Post-it notes marking the pages of recipes I'm eager to try, including four in the gingerbread section alone. Mary-Anne Boermans was a finalist in the 2011 edition of The Great British Bake Off television competition, and now writes about food on her blog (

In her debut book, Boermans takes us back in time with recipes from 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century Britain. Recreating dishes from those periods might be difficult for a modern baker used to detailed instructions and precise measurements and cooking times, but, fortunately, Boermans does the work for us. She gets the recipes that fill Great British Bakes from writers both well known (Eliza Acton, Maria Eliza Rundell, Hannah Glasse) and unknown. Boermans is an avid collector of cookbooks, including those written by anonymous housewives who were simply jotting down the dishes they made at home, never dreaming the recipes would be seen by anyone else.

The recipes I'll be trying soon include coconut gingerbread, honeycomb gingerbread, old Welsh gingerbread (which, oddly, doesn't contain ginger), rich orange tart, lace pancakes, crumpets and apple bread.