Thursday, 25 February 2010

Ginger crunch (Mπισκότο με γεύση πιπερόριζα)

This is not a sign of homesickness - if you like ginger crunch as much as I do, you have to make it yourself if you live in Crete in order to eat it, because you won't find it anywhere else. It's delicious during cooler weather. My husband likens it to a chewier version of the traditional Greek melomakarono (a spicy Christmas syrup-steeped biscuit).

ginger crunch ginger slice
Ginger crunch hardens as it cools, which is why you have to cut it into slices when it is still warm. When cool, it tastes like a crisp spicy biscuit with a chewy topping.

Ginger was once an unknown quantity in Crete. The powdered form is still not always available in the spice racks on supermarket shelves, despite the abundance of something labelled "Madras curry powder", something I find disconcerting; if curry powder mix is so popular in a place like Crete, it's a pity that people don't know that they can buy each spice separately and mix their own curry, creating the taste and heat they specifically like. All the spices needed to make a curry spice blend are available at the Agora.


Fresh ginger has become a more standard product since the influx of economic migrants to Crete. Now that people are travelling more, even the locals are buying it, but I still don't know what they are cooking with it: I only use it when I make curries and stir-fries, as it hasn't yet permeated the Greek taste spectrum. Having said that, ginger is well known on the island of Kerkira, which is the only place in Greece where ginger beer is made, a tradition adopted during the 19th century British rule of the island.

The Chelsea Sugar site where I got my recipe for ginger crunch* also has lots of other recipes for favorite kiwi tea-time treats, biscuits and 'slice' cakes, including afghans, gingernuts and Anzac biscuits, all of which I need to remind myself to cook up at least once more before the end of the colder weather.

* This dessert can be made lenten by replacing the butter with margarine.

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