If I’m a fat bride in February, I’ll know exactly who to blame: the lovely ladies from the Thames Garden Club, who I spoke to this week. Those ladies sure know how to put on a good spread of itsy bitsy savouries and scrummy sweet treats… but I really wish they hadn’t introduced me to the sinful delight that is the cinnamon oyster. Imagine a cross between a mouthful-sized sponge cake and a slightly spiced cream puff. Then take that heavenly wee cake and slap it straight on your butt… because there is no way you can stop at one. Or two. Or three. Or, indeed, a dozen.
According to Alexa Johnston, whose book Ladies, A Plate is a modern Kiwi classic (filled with recipes of retro culinary Kiwi classics), the cinnamon oyster was invented by a Dunedin cook in the 1950s. The recipe was first published in 1951 League of Mothers’ Cookery Book and Household Hints. Loads of cooks have tinkered with cinnamon oysters since but, apart from adjusting the amount of golden syrup or swapping the white sugar for caster sugar, or adding an extra dash of cinnamon or a fairly generous teaspoonful of ginger, the recipe really hasn’t changed in half a century.
Here’s the Edmonds Cookery Book version. Beat 2 eggs with 1/4 cup white sugar until thick. Add 2 teaspoons golden syrup and beat well. Sift together 6 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Fold dry ingredients into egg mixture. Spoon ito greased patty tins and bake at 200C for 10-12 minutes or until the surface springs back when lightly touched. When cold, cut open with a sharp knife and filled with whipped cream.
Credit where credit’s due: I pinched the pic from Patricia Soper’s article from the Southland Times, published on stuff.co.nz